Spread around the Lebanese highway are billboards announcing two concerts for Belgian-Italian singer Lara Fabian, on February 14th and 15th at Casino du Liban. This is the third time she has concerts in Lebanon.
All is well, right? Fabian has many fans in Lebanon, mostly of the older generation. Her repertoire includes songs that many fans of older French music know.
But as it is with many so-called “activists,” they are now calling the Lebanese government to cancel Fabian’s concert because Fabian performed at a concert celebrating the 60th anniversary of the founding of Israel.
For reference, French-Moroccan comedian Gad El Maleh had his sold out comedy show at the Beiteddine International Festival also cancelled because of his ties with Israel. Armin Van Buuren’s most recent NYE-1 concert was also met with resistance because Van Buuren has pro-Israel stance. Steven Spielberg’s name was hidden off his movie poster in Cinemacity because he donated money to Israel… And the list goes on. The latest casualty: the French singer behind Je T’aime and J’y Crois Encore.
I am not an Israel-supporter. If my country is in a state of war with a country, then, regardless of what I personally think about that war, I am supportive of my country’s stances regarding its enemies. But I, as a Lebanese, cannot expect people from other nationalities to also conform with my ideas. I also cannot condemn them if their ideas are different from mine – even if they are about Israel.
Most foreign artists are pro-Israel. It is simply a byproduct of being in the countries they come from, where the existence of the state of Israel has become associated with a redemption for the holocaust and where the Palestinian political leaders are as inept about defending their cause as the media portraying them badly. Those artists, however, are not coming to Lebanon to spread their pro-Israel ideas. They are coming here to sing, act, give you a comedy show. They are coming here to share their talent with you. The fact that some “activists” cannot see beyond their finger and are so adamant about the whole “OMG FIGHT ZIONISIM” mantra is none of my concern as an individual who simply wants to be entertained.
Look at it in a different way as well. How many of those “activists” use laptops & smartphones? How many of those “activists” go to Starbucks on daily basis for their daily “activism” meetings? How many of those “activists” are so drenched in Israeli-related products that their shouts of disdain become meaningless, childish and non-sensical?
You know, perhaps instead of shouting against Israel (which people, for the record, have the right to do) those Lebanese (and other nationalities) “activists” need to look at the injustice going on in their own backyard before lashing out for the causes of neighboring countries that have, like it or not, also caused their country harm. Are those activists as vocal about their support for the fight rape campaign as they are for artist bans? Are those activists as vocal about the eaten rights of their fellow countrymen as they are about the rights of Palestinians? Are they as vocal about the people losing their lives to Lebanon’s rent laws? Are they willing to help those people?
One only needs to look at the state of Christians in Egypt and Iraq, at the situation of women in the region, at the lack of freedom and all the other basic human rights that the region lacks to know that those “activists” are as empty as the shouts and slogans they will chant outside the Casino du Liban when Lara Fabian sings there.
I understand some of those “activists” are not Lebanese. And I always tried to steer away from discussing Palestine-related stuff on my blog. But let me tell those “activists” this: do not bring your fight to your country, especially with things as meaningless as this.
So sing miss Fabian, sing. And don’t you worry. Irrelevant people will remain irrelevant as long as their priorities are not sorted.
Epic post. Thank you for saying it the way it is!
Thank you for reading, Elie 🙂
you got that right,
Entertainment should not be exclusive to country, religion, race, sex, belief, or any other type of discrimination especially when they are not trying to impose their (thing they are discriminated against) belief on us.
Would i be a criminal if i download a torrent that had been seeded by someone in the Israeli regions? Would i be convicted if i watch a pirated version of an israeli movie?
And you are right, we use laptops, mobile phones, coffee shops that are somehow related (close or distant) to Israel.
Direct your enthusiasm of activism into making your country better (in all means; women’s rights, road safety,…)
on the lighter side, shakira was lucky she had her concert in beirut before she went to the israeli areas, otherwise shakira fans would have been devastated.
Exactly. If I decide to watch Waltz With Bachir, will I be considered a traitor? If I use a subsequent version of the iPhone, now that Apple bought an Israeli company, will I be a traitor as well?
Will they call for bans on the iPhone and iPad as well? They just don’t make sense.
Entertainment has nothing to do with politics. If Lara Fabian were coming to Lebanon to propagate her ideology, then maybe they would have had a point. But she’s coming here to sing not to run for office. She’s coming her to perform at a concert, entertain those who like her, make some money and leave.
True about Shakira. We wouldn’t have heard the end of it. And she’s also “Lebanese.” That makes it double.
Your articles are extremely inspiring and you never seize to send your message across in the most professional manner..seriously you’re a very talented research writer..you make a great point about the ideology behind antiisrael ..but at the same time I feel it’s the event organizer’s responsibility to have some sensitivity when picking out the artists they choose to bring here..the artists couldn’t care less really as long as they’re getting paid…there’s a reason why they keep coming back to Lebanon, money,great location,loyal fans..so organizers do have the privilege to make more careful selections
Thank you for reading. Really appreciate your input 🙂
Regarding the selection idea. Any artist won’t please the Lebanese population politically since most artists have a shallow idea regarding their support for Israel. Some might be fairly convinced, others just go with the flow.
If you’re going to select only those that don’t like Israel, might as well start learning some Iranian music. (Iran is an example, no political meaning behind it).
Lol good point..In these situations I try my best to find a middle ground..it’s in my nature to think in a diplomatic manner but i’vebeen in Lebanon for 5 months now and am slowly starting to analyze things from a Lebanese perspective..they don’t need to pick artists who have a public stance against Israel…but at the same time one who celebrates the founding of Israel is taking it too far..
Who can forget Mariah carey or was it beyonce who was bashed for having done a private performance for ghadafi’s son??n she issued a public apology and gave back the money or smg.also recently Hilary swank was scrutinized for having attended an event honoring the Chechnya president because he’s considered to be a ” terrorist”…this form of activism is fairlycommon
My point is that as long as artists are not here for a political reason, their politics shouldn’t bother us. They sang in Israel, for Israel, against Israel… Why should it concern me? Fabian is here for a couple of concerts. There’s no need to make it a bigger deal than it is. God knows her career isn’t exactly in the penthouse.
I’m sure Beyonce had no idea Gaddafi was a dictator. Yet again, people did not protest and call for Beyonce concert bans.
That’s a BEAUTIFUL article Elie! Very well written! You’ve said it all, I’m really grateful 🙂
I just want to add some things.
All those protesters are claiming that she sang in Hebrew, and that she said “I love Israel” in the end of the video.
Well, in every country she visits, she sings in their language (Russian, Italy, … ). Plus, every artist screams at the end of his concert that he loves the country! Does it mean he loves the ideology or whatever the country does?! NO!
And why couldn’t they see that she sang Ave Maria too, and Alleluia?
Thanks again for that amazing article!
And dw, Lara will come to Lebanon!
Thank you for reading.
I hope she sings in Lebanese and says I love you Lebanon when she comes here just to spite them.
People see only what they want to see.
That would be perfect 😉
Btw, if you like her, please join my facebook group: Lara Fabian’s fans in Lebanon.
It’s the only group for Lara’s Lebanese fans 🙂
It’s ok. I tend not to join many groups on Facebook. Enjoy the concert 🙂
this is a disturbing blog post. u obviously have no understanding regarding the cause against zionist injustice, and proving to be a simple tool that the israeli propaganda machine has successfully recruited. how unwittingly pathetic. this has nothing to do with palestinians, or any other people. israel has killed your brothers (like it or not, the south of lebanon houses you brothers), and the fact that you would go to support someone that sang for the 60th aniversery of the foundation of israel truly speaks of 1. your ignorance, and 2. the pathetic state we are in.
to correct some of your information: most performers and artists are boycotting israel. from roger waters (the man who created pink floyd) to beck to many many other great talents recognize the injustice, and if we can not stick together to at least say NO, YOU ARE NOT WELCOME IN THE LAND BETRAYED AND TORTURED BY INHUMANE POLICIES, then it is sad…. simply sad.
elie fare, i really hope you build some nationalism, and understand that the fight against zionism is NOT ONLY a palestinian cause.
your blog post is truly infuriating, badly written, and is a testament to how brainwashed (and happy to be) you truly are. this is truly very upsetting, and truly sad!
You know what’s disturbing and pathetic is you saying that we should ban artists who sang and support Israel because they’ve done bad things to our fellow countrymen and women and yet when it comes to, for instance, the Lebanese artists who express support for the Syrian regime, which also killed many of your countrymen and women, you seem not to care.
I’m certain you don’t care about which artists support the Assad regime or what they do. And yet, when it comes to Israel, you get up in a fit. No, my “disturbing” post is not ignorance, it’s comment like yours that are so hypocritical that they’ve gotten meaningless.
Kudos to the artists who boycott Israel. You salute them? I don’t care. Boo to the artists who like Israel. You hate them? Guess what, I don’t care as well.
If you want to support the Palestinians (and other people who are hurt by Israel), I suggest you stop using whatever phone you have because it contains Israeli technology. I also advise you to stop going to any international franchise in Lebanon because they have Israeli ties too. Also, perhaps your laptop (unless it’s made in Iran) has Israeli technologies as well.
So for all matters and purposes, the only one not making sense (with a poorly written comment) here is you.
Expressing nationalism doesn’t start by asking for artists to be banned. It actually starts by caring about the causes of your people, the ones they are fighting for that have nothing to do with foreign countries (enemies or not). Just saying.
Great post, Elie. In fact, it’s excellent. Haters are gonna hate.
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