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.