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Jul 15, 2013

Thais Protest against Outdoor Display of Fallen Buddha Statue for the Reason of “Insult to Buddhism” 


It is heartwarming or enchanting, though it’s difficult to describe, that a child plays on a fallen Buddha statue in Munich, Germany.  Reading this article, I have found that gejutsu (art) will become such powerful tools that make it possible to dismiss a legitimate protest from Thai people.

I hope that statues such as Shiva or Vishnu, Jesus or Maria and above all, Muhammad, who is regarded as sacred in Islam, should be treated as geijutsu in the same way as this statue.

And I want the German authorities to insist on art without succumbing to protests.
Since I don’t think any religion is sacred, this photo makes me simply laugh.  Equally, since I don’t think geijutsu and its expression is sacred either, the protester is right.

In a word, something that is sacred and inviolable to a person is an object of religion for some people or freedom of expression for others.
I think what matters most is Earth and nature.  This makes me detach myself from such a useless conflict.  I don’t think something made by humans is so important, whatever it may be, religion or geijutsu.

Masatoshi Takeshita
July 5, 2013



English translation of an excerpt from a Japanese article: newsclip – July 3, 2013 –

Thais Protest against Outdoor Display of Fallen Buddhist Statue for the Reason of “Insult to Buddhism”
[Thailand]  It has been revealed that an overturned Buddha statue is displayed outdoor in Munich, Germany.  On 2nd tens of Thai Buddhist group members got together in front of the German embassy in Bangkok, Thailand to submit a written protest to remove the art installation.

The Buddha statue in question is approximately 3-meter ocher statue in sitting position.  It is displayed at an open-air market with the statue overturned.  Some people take a memorable photograph with sitting on the statue.  The statue is scheduled to be displayed from June to September.  Although Thais living in Munich protested the German authorities to remove it, citing “The exhibition disrespects Buddhism,” the German authorities refused to do it for the reason that it was an “art piece.”

According to the Buddhist group, “We requested the Thai Ministry of Culture and Ministry of Foreign Affairs to take appropriate steps but they did not respond to our request.  So we have decided to organize a protest.”



Outdoor display of an overturned Buddha statue in Germany -- Thais protest, citing it is “insult to Buddhism”
Photograph:  Dr. Pornchai Pingapong

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