Mashrou’ Leila will not perform in Amman as planned on Friday 29th of April as their authorization to play has been withdrawn by the local authorities. The official reason provided is that “the performance would have been at odds with what the Ministry of Tourism viewed as the “authenticity” of the site” and the band has been unofficially informed that “that they will never be allowed to play again anywhere in Jordan due to our political and religious beliefs and endorsement of gender equality and sexual freedom”.
Censoring music is an extremely worrying and silly act. I’m not a Mashrou’ Leila fan but I stand with them and with any band against censorship.
Google is celebrating Nizar Qabbani’s 93rd through a series of four different doodles. Nizar Qabbani, considered the titan of Arab literature, is one of the most revered contemporary poets in the Arab world. The doodles depict different periods in the poet’s life during which he wrote some of his most celebrated works, one of them being Beirut of course.
The illustrations are also inspired from Nizar Qabbani’s poems; such as the jasmine flowers from his garden in Damascus and the palm trees that lined Baghdad during his time there. Arab nationalism, love and feminism were among the most popular topics he wrote about, noting that he worked as a diplomat.
Qabbani had a special passion for Beirut and established his own publishing house here. He left it in 1981 after his wife, an Iraqi woman named Balqis al-Rawi, was killed in an attack on the Iraqi embassy in Beirut.
For those of you who haven’t read any of Qabbani’s poems, you probably heard them in songs as many were incorporated into lyrics by some of the most renowned Arab singers such Fairouz, Abdel-Halim Hafez, Majida el Roumi, Um Kalthoum, Kazem el Saher and others …
One of his most popular Beirut poems is “يا ست الدنيا يا بيروت” that became a post-war hit song by Majida al-Roumi.
The first edition of MBC the Voice Kids, the young Arab talent competition, ended yesterday with Lebanese Lynn el Hayek, who’s originally from Tripoli el Mina, winning the best voice title. Lynn, who is on Kazem el Saher’s team, was the only Lebanese who qualified to the finals along with Syrians Zain Obeid and Amir Ammouri.
I haven’t been really following the show but I’ve seen it a couple of times and watched a lot of videos being shared and most of these kids are incredibly talented. In fact, I was amazed by how relaxed and self-composed most of these kids were on stage, especially in the finale which was broadcasted live. I always wondered if these kids were under a lot of pressure or were actually enjoying the show, and I was never comfortable with the fact that they are getting rejected by their idols in front of a large audience and on public TV but I was told that there are coaches and specialized people that help kids cope with pressure and make sure they are happy and enjoying their time no matter what.
All in all, I’m sure it must have been really hard for the judges and everyone behind this show but I think they’ve done a good job and I’m definitely happy that a Lebanese girl won the title!
Here are couple of performances by Lynn, a video showing the moment she won and another showing the celebrations in Tripoli.
We are currently witnessing the world’s worst refugee crisis in decades and the victims are first and foremost the children. Millions of refugee children are unable to attend schools and end up on the streets leading a catastrophic lifestyle which poses many risks on their physical and mental well-being.
I never tire of repeating that any form of education is better than no education especially for refugee children and education remains the best weapon against extremism and terrorism. Providing a safe environment for these kids is essential to help them grow up normally and focus on acquiring a good job and building a happy family rather than resorting to violence and extremism.
There are plenty of ongoing campaigns to help these refugees get the education they need and the latest is a pretty cool one as it focuses on three talented young brothers, Samir, Abdulrahman and Mohammed, who arrived in Lebanon four years ago and love rapping. They’ve been rapping about their struggle and the Syrian People’s struggle and are sending out a message that every child has potential but it cannot be realized without an education.
The campaign aims at giving hope Syria’s Young Talent by signing the petition at upforschool.org or even taking action if you are willing to.
Check out the video, sign the petition and help spread the word!
PS: The petition will be taken to world leaders at the the Syrian Donors Conference in London in February.
The song is spot on and right on time before the elections that should take place (hopefully) this year. I hope Lebanese will listen carefully to the lyrics and hold their Zaiims and MPs accountable this year for the disastrous situation we are in right now.