SPEAK FOR THEM attempts to shine a light on artists and writers around the world who have faced silencing, intimidation, and persecution. May justice prevail.

  1. Nisha Singh, Playwright, India (April 12th, 2024): A rising playwright whose work tackled social issues, particularly caste discrimination, Singh was summoned by authorities after her latest play, “Untouchable Voices,” sparked protests from conservative groups. Accused of “inciting hatred” and facing potential performance bans. (Enforced by: Indian government)
  2. Mikhail Petrov, Ballet Dancer, Russia (April 15th, 2024): Petrov, a renowned dancer with the Bolshoi Ballet, was abruptly fired after a social media post criticizing the war in Ukraine. He faces public backlash and potential difficulty finding work elsewhere. (Enforced by: Management of the Bolshoi Ballet, with likely government pressure)
  3. Ayo Edebiri, Comedian, Nigeria (April 18th, 2024): Edebiri, a popular stand-up comedian known for her political commentary, was detained for questioning after a performance that satirized government corruption. Released after several hours, but faces potential future censorship. (Enforced by: Nigerian State Security Service)
  4. Layla Al-Amin, Musician, Iraq (April 20th, 2024): A young singer known for her blend of traditional and modern Iraqi music, Al-Amin’s concert was cancelled after threats from a religious extremist group. She fears for her safety and ability to continue performing. (Enforced by: Unknown extremist group, with possible government inaction)
  5. Xu Li, Blogger, China (April 22nd, 2024): Li, a blogger who wrote about human rights issues, disappeared from his online platforms. His family suspects government involvement and fear for his safety. (Enforced by: Chinese government – exact agency unknown)

What can you do?

  • Stay informed about human rights abuses against artists worldwide.
  • Share information about these cases on social media.
  • Contact your elected officials and urge them to speak out against the suppression of artistic expression.
  • Support organizations working to defend the rights of artists and writers.

Remember, silence is complicity. Lend your voice to those who cannot speak for themselves.

First they came for the artists, and I did not speak out—because I was not an artist. Then they came for the journalists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a journalist. Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

— Martin Niemöller

Art by Luba Lukova



Please note: This list is not exhaustive. Many other artists and writers face persecution globally.

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