Friday , June 9 2023

Cafes and theaters in Beirut in solidarity with the Leila project "the sound of music louder"


By Yara Abi Nader

By Nadim Ladki BEIRUT (Reuters) – Beirut's cafes and some of its streets were bustling on Friday evening with songs from the "Leila" project at a time when the group was due to perform at Byblos International Festival and was canceled under religious pressure from the church. .

Musicians held the alternative concert of the "Leila" project, where a festival entitled "The Sound of Music Up" took place at The Palace Theater on Hamra Street in Beirut, while the surrounding cafes in the city were dedicated to their songs.

The alternative ceremony carried the slogan "for the homeland" organized by the Center for the Defense of Freedoms (Skies) and the participation of activists, artists and journalists.

Byblos festivals canceled the group's concert "to prevent bloodshed," the statement said following protests by church leaders who accused a band of blasphemy.

In front of an audience of more than 3,000 people, according to the organizers, a song "Repression is not a project" was read.

In its letter, the group expressed its refusal to turn Lebanese society into a "dark" society.

"Tonight, on August 9, we were supposed to celebrate 10 years of our band with our families, friends and our audience," she said in the letter, which was read by activist Jumana Talhouk. At least the simplest freedoms are allowed. A future where censorship and self-censorship do not prevent us from expressing ourselves. Our hearts fluctuate from the amount of support we receive even from people who do not like our work, but have refused to see our society walk into obscurity.

The Laila project concert featured a concert music video, which was scheduled before the Byblos concert, titled "Radio Romance."

The song "El Gin", which was previously contested by the Christian religious authorities in Lebanon, was performed on stage because it offended religious values.

The actors Badia Abu Chakra and Nada Abu Farhat appeared on stage to give a speech on behalf of the concert, which has overcome all the pressures and threats.

Abu Shakra said that on Friday, August 9, "it has been transformed from day to day to prevent repression. We cancel the victims and silence the crime and we see the crime after it."

Abu Farhat said on behalf of women, "We are all students who need to learn at their national university. We are every activist who writes his opinion despite the information lawsuits. And I faced this regime, which remained in the we stop at our situation. "

Abu Farhat spoke of women who are subjected to violence daily but do not use violence or threaten to "shed blood."

It required the freedom of the individual to choose his artistic cultural project.

Abu Farhat told Reuters that she attended and attended the ceremony, as she believes in a civilized country and rejects religious anger and threatens art. "I don't cancel anyone and stand by the cause of the Laila project."

Musician and auditor Ziad Sahab said that this is the natural place for any musician sensitive to the danger of the dominance of religious institutions over works of art.

He added, "This power is very involved" in this game, "instead of being two groups to pressure the government to get the garbage from the street two Hun groups to say we want to sing, Uncle Win Hovwa."

Pianist Vladimir Kiromilian, who attended the ceremony, said his involvement was to convey a message rejecting censorship of the artwork.

"We have to keep going without any pressure, and all that is happening today is to stop us. If we lose something small, we will stop," he told Reuters.

Lebanese and international human rights organizations called on the Lebanese judiciary to act swiftly against those who contributed to the cancellation of the concert (Laila Project).

The band has performed throughout Lebanon in recent years, including two in the ancient city of Byblos. However, plans for a concert on August 9 at Byblos International Festivals in Byblos were met with a hostile social media campaign to end the show by force.

The Lebanese troop, whose member is gay, is being held in major cities around the world, saying it was the target of an infamous campaign in Lebanon aimed at undermining the expression of freedom.

Over the past decade, Project Laila's songs have stirred controversy in the region with words of harassment, class, sectarianism, homophobia and gender equality.

One of the organizers of the ceremony, Jean Kassir, considered that what happened with the (Laila project) was an insult to many. Our concert is the culmination of spontaneity, easily, people volunteer for free, this is a solidarity party to oppose with culture and art against any forces that want to silence us. "


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