Anthony Downey: “Thinking about the relationship of cultural to the political… Is there a danger that the cultural becomes a sphere in which we all feel comfortable to discuss these [political transformation and change] debates, without really affecting change? Is there an attendant danger that that cultural norm is actually quashing further political debate as you said, or further dissent, because it has now become a lightning rod for governments to come down on activists?

James Lynch: “… earlier this week, I was called by [American] journalists who wanted to speak about the case about the poet… “What about the American universities there?” I could not quite see the link. He said: “no, they must be sparking debate about this; they must be concerned that they are operating in a country where a poem recorded on Youtube in Cairo, leads to someone serving… 15 years”… Cultural and educational institutions implanted from the West play very quickly about rules. They inhabit the world; they understand the red lines very quickly. I don’t see any great challenge in any sense… The real question is “what is the real role played by them” or… are we seeing a perpetuation of “this is how things are and this is the system we exist in”.

To listen to full recording of the panel discussion, visit Ibraaz.

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