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As Anti-Dictator Song of Norwegian Girls in GA Is Censored, UN Has No Comment

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 3 -- Not only does the UN censor a Norwegian children's choir from singing against dictators in the General Assembly Hall. The UN, Secretariat and GA President, refuse to comment on the censorship, passing the buck with both issues statements about Syria and other matters.

At the July 2 noon briefing of Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Martin Nesirky, Inner City Press asked about the censorship:

Inner City Press: There was a concert, or an event here, held in the GA Hall on Saturday. The PGA attended and others. But there’s been some complaints that a Norwegian chorus that sought to perform had been scheduled to perform and they had said, we were going to sing a song called [inaudible], which denounced dictators, most of them dead — Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin... but also mentioned Robert Mugabe. They were told they could not perform in the GA Hall. A newspaper in Norway sought UN comment, couldn’t receive any. Maybe I’m missing something here, but if you haven’t heard of it, maybe you can get the explanation of this is.

Spokesperson Nesirky: Okay.

   But when a response came, it was not from Ban's Nesirky, but rather the PGA's spokesperson:

Subject: Your Question on Saturday's concert
From: PGA spokesperson [at]
Date: Mon, Jul 2, 2012 at 1:26 PM
To: matthew russell lee [at]

Dear Matthew, The SG's Spokesperson's office has forwarded me your question about a song, you mentioned, that a Norwegian choral group wanted to perform. We are not aware of this story you mentioned and the PGA and his team do not interfere in the selection of the songs by the choirs in any concert.

Inner City Press immediately replied:

Thanks. Here is one version of the story:

I would really like some comment, if you can. And one with Google translate, from Norway:

Google translate:

Maja Ratkje is the composer behind the play, "Ro-Unrest," which is about war and peace. Towards the end of the play call girls in the Norwegian Girls' Choir out the names of several power users, including Hitler, Stalin and Mugabe.

Saturday was female choir perform the play in the UN building in New York, as part of the festival 'Rhythms of one world.' They had already entered the work at the Lincoln Center earlier during the festival, a performance that led to the praise of coverage in the New York Times.

- We had sound-checks in the United Nations, and would only give a message to light man. He would have no words to stay for. In the play we cry among other things, historical power abusers as Stalin. It reacted very, says director Anne Karin Sundal-Ash to NRK...It provokes a composer Maja Ratkje, who think it is a scandal to censor art in a free world... This is a completely innocent plants. It's about war and peace, but it is anything but outrageous. What is scandalous is that it is censored, says Maja Ratkje... NRK has not been able to get a comment from the UN.

  To this, the PGA's spokesperson simply returned the same (non) response:

Subject: Re: Renewed Question on Saturday's concert, Norwegian choir blocked from singing, would really like some explanation / comment, here are 2 articles, thanks, -Matthew
From: PGA Spokesperson [at]
Date: Mon, Jul 2, 2012 at 2:06 PM
To: matthew russell lee [at]

Matthew, I have just sent you my response. Here it is again: The PGA and his team do not interfere in any way in the selection of songs/content of performances. You may want to speak with the organizers. This is the only response I have.

  But is it a sufficient response, for the UN, to censorship? And where is the Norwegian media ostensibly covering the UN? Too close to the UN? Too distracted by Obama - Romney to cover Norwegians getting censored in New York, at the UN? Watch this site.

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