“Why mention roses in a world where aeroplanes full of people fall out of the sky and shoppers are crushed by accident while they walk with each other under Christmas lights – a world where children are preyed upon and where human beings will shoot, or bomb, or torture, or kidnap other human beings, will act within the grip of philosophies turned toxic by terrible certainties – certainties which deny reality and must therefore be overmastering and cruel? …

… Because I believe in what we might call unnecessary beauty, in art. And an artist would say that, but then again, individuals and groups who have sought to control, or extinguish populations, to marginalise or demonise this or that type of human being – they seem to believe in the power of art even more than I do. They ardently seek out and restrict those intimate, idiosyncratic joys we find in the songs we sing, the stories that travel with us, the verses that sustain us, the paintings and drawings and sculptures, windows and buildings, voices and performances, images that lift us and give us dignity – the things that show us the light in our world and in ourselves, the things that show us individual human beings have the power to create wonders which outlast them and which transcend every classification of gender, race, religion, nationality, age.”

Read the rest of “Why Tyrants are Afraid of Art and Beauty” by AL Kennedy