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Cablegate: Syrian Artists Demand Return of Artwork On Display at U.S.

VZCZCXYZ0000
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHDM #0761 3041509
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 301509Z OCT 08
FM AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5508
INFO RUCNNAF/NORTH AF NEA AND SOUTH ASIAN COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS DAMASCUS 000761

DEPARTMENT FOR NEA/PPD, NEA/ELA

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL KPAO SCUL SY
SUBJECT: SYRIAN ARTISTS DEMAND RETURN OF ARTWORK ON DISPLAY AT U.S.
AMBASSADOR'S RESIDENCE

1. On October 29, a letter was delivered in person to the American
Cultural Center by Syrian artist AbdulJabbar Weis, with whom the
mission has previously had a cordial relationship. The letter was
written on behalf of five artists who have works on display at the
U.S. Ambassador's residence in Damascus. They requested the return
of their artwork; the Embassy will respond to their letter and
comply with the request in the coming week.

2. Text of letter:

October 29, 2008

To the Director of the American Cultural Center

I am graphic artist AbdulJabber Weis. On behalf of myself and my
colleagues graphic artists Muhammad Ghannoum, Itab Hreib, Fadi
Yazizi, and Muhannad Orabi, we request the withdrawal of our artwork
from the residence of the American Ambassador in Damascus because of
the mean aggression against our country by the American helicopters
two days ago which killed Syrian civilian victims, including a
father and his sons. We are far above displaying our artwork, which
reflects our civilization and culture, in the Embassy of a current
government that believes in a culture of killing, conquering, and
enslaving people.

Your current government has engaged in oppression and conquering,
making the name of your country -- America - synonymous with all
those who are enemies of humankind. There is no crime, aggression,
or theft of people's resources in this world that your country's
government has not committed. You current government has come to
resemble the government of ancient Rome that destroyed
civilizations, killed peoples, and placed kings and knights of its
enemies in closed playgrounds to become meals for tigers and lions,
to satisfy the blood lust of the Roman rulers. After a period of
history that witnessed glory and prosperity, the Roman Empire
collapsed and was destroyed completely. Nothing remains of its
arrogance except drawings on walls and pillars and the remains of
arenas and other ruins. People read the stories of the Roman
oppression to their children from history books. We are sure all
future generations and peoples will write about the oppression and
aggression brought about by your current government under the
leadership of President George Bush, the son. His actions will
never be forgotten.

For the reasons mentioned above, we request the return of our
artwork as soon as possible, and before the end of the week.

AbdulJabber Weis

End text.

CONNELLY

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