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News | Lebanon

 
Blast Mashrou’ Leila music Friday: free expression advocates
August 6, 2019
Source: The Daily Star

A center that promotes free expression in Lebanon is drumming up support for a campaign calling for local residents to blare indie-rock band Mashrou’ Leila’s music this Friday night - when the group was meant to perform at the Byblos International Festival.
“We are asking for a national consciousness under the hashtag #Lil_Watan,” the Samir Kassir Eyes Center for Media and Cultural Freedom said in a statement Monday night, using a transliteration of the Arabic “for the nation.”
“We are seeking your help in furthering our cause by broadcasting Mashrou’ Leila’s songs on Aug. 9, starting at 9:00 p.m., ensuring that the concert takes place despite its cancellation and sending a powerful message of hope for all of those whose voices will not be silenced.”
The center called for supporters to play the music across Lebanon - in the media, at nightlife venues, in restaurants, homes, public spaces. 
The concert was axed last week after threats and calls from Christian groups. The controversy purportedly originated in reaction to an article that the group’s frontman, Hamed Sinno, who is openly gay and an LGBTQ activist, shared on Facebook in 2015. It contained an image of the Virgin Mary with the pop diva Madonna’s face superimposed on it.
“If we do not act, we lose the very essence of what makes us a nation: our voice and our freedom,” the statement said. “Because people without a voice are not a people, and a nation without freedom is not a nation.”