Shhhh..We Don’t Want to Know!

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Make Love Not War by ~JamesAllsopp

So we as a race have to have a say in matters. “I like Basam Fattouh’s makeup, I love Maya Diab’s style, Arab Idol is a bore, Paolo Coelho is a con artist, tattoos are scary, Harry Potter is my idol, Green Elves ROCK” and on and on. Fine, to each his own and people are entitled to their opinion, but I think that artists, whether singers or actors, should keep silent about their political views. Simply put, an artist is not a politician, that’s just not their industry, not what they produce. Granted, the artist him/herself might be the subject of dissension among the public, some would be fans and some not; however, when a celebrity takes a public stand on a political issue siding with a certain party AGAINST another, he or she would very much be pitting his or her OWN fans against each other as it is more likely than not that they don’t have similar political views. Thus, instead of being an element of coherence and harmony in a society, bringing people together through the love of art, the artist will have willingly transformed him/herself into yet another element of division creating more rifts and fractures among people.

Prime examples here come from the Egyptian revolution of January 25, 2011. Once loved and respected by millions, Adel Imam now resides at the top of the Black List of artists who defended the Mubarak Regime. Adel Imam is definitely entitled to his opinion, but he could have simply held his opinion in silence, choosing to side with his own image as a popular man of the people instead of trampling in the mud of a dictatorial system.

Another example is from Lebanon, where Lara Fabian’s impending concert has incited its own doze of controversy. Fabian is allegedly a fierce defendant of the Zionist state of Israel. According to Al-Akhbar.com:

YouTube videos have emerged showing the singer performing at a concert in France in 2008 to celebrate the creation of Israel in 1948.In the concert, directed by her fiance Gerard Pulliccino, Fabian sang in Hebrew in front of images of various Israeli leaders, settlements and other iconography.After her song finished she reportedly shouted: “I love you Israel” to the crowd. She has also performed in Israel on a number of occasions and attended pro-Zionist meetings.

Some might still want to argue that artists have the right to practice free speech and to express their opinions regardless of who agrees or not. I beg to differ.  An artist is not a “regular” human being, just like a teacher is not. In her/his capacity as an educator and a public figure, a teacher can NOT express devisive political views in the classroom. Imagine if your math teacher suddenly announced her allegiance with the March 8 movement, how would that impact the students who support March 14?It would simply be an academic catastrophe.

Artists of the world, just listen to John Lennon: he said, “Make Love, Not War.” Amen.

 

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8 responses »

  1. Well Rana you have a good point over here. However, we, people who live in conflicted areas and in this part of the world in general, still have a problem accepting people for what they are. We claim that we are open minded in Lebanon but we still detest others whether singers, artist, or public figures who do not comply with our set of standards. If a person does not eat the food we eat or dress the way we do or adopt the same political and religious views we have, then this person is set to be among the bad and god damned people whom we spend days and nights cursing and calling names.
    So I might agree with you that artists in general should take into consideration this fact and accordingly abstain from expressing their personal opinions regarding any issue publicly if they wanted their albums and productions to score high numbers.

  2. hi rola, i am well aware that artists in the USA for example openly adopt a political stance and try to rally their fans to their cause. but that’s in the States! as you said, people are much more tolerant there than they are here of differences in opinion. i am not against an artist having a set of personal views, we all do, but the fact that some artists publicize their views at a time when the society is already in conflict makes them partners in crime with those who caused the conflict in the first place.
    right?

  3. I’m really liking your blog Rana; first because now I can say I have a friend who is a blogger 😉 and second (ok maybe that’s first) because your blogs are really intriguing! I would have to agree to some extent to the above comment made by Rola. and right before I say why, I want to refer back to your human rights piece. Being politically active, or to have an opinion to say the least, is a basic right as I see it. To be denied that right, because one is well-known, seems unjust to me. That being said, and given the divide in Lebanon for example, one should voice their opinion responsibly. And responsibly here means to voice it in a way that encourages people to know that each is different and not in a way that enhances divide. Maybe knowing that a singer that I appreciate a lot supports an opposing party instills the idea “oh ok; maybe they’re not that bad” ;P. You know after I wrote this sentence, I realized how silly things are in Lebanon. I mean it’s just political parties and political opinions. Having different political views is a matter of fact; it’s not a temporary thing; it will always be there and should not be a source of divide! Having to pretend that you don’t have a political view when you are a public figure is just part of the problem to me. Needing to know that the other person is my copy cat in order to respect/like/talk to him/her is just ridiculous. We should be able to tolerate differences; no matter what those diffrences are.

    • Mona, and I’m very much liking your comments on my blog because you have a mind of your own 🙂 I hope it’s clear to you that I stand firm with freedom of expression, I don’t want to sound like another dictator 😛 but I stand against celebrities who act as enzymes rather than catalysts (an analogy from biology,that also rhymes 😉 ) i.e. breaking people apart rather than bringing them together. they can’t pretend that they are just like anyone of us, they are not, they belong to a category that is idolized and followed by millions and thus their art and thought and political stances can make a difference. so why not invest that public capital in the general good?

      • Absolutely! that’s exactly my point; and I say they’d be investing in the general good by being an example of how one can be ‘politically’ different and not ‘hate’ the other; you say by not saying one is politically different at all. And on that, let’s agree to disagree ;D

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