Lebanese singer Hiba Tawaji angers fans by agreeing to perform in regime-held Syria
Many called the singer’s concert in the regime-held capital “shameful” because of the regime’s massacres of civilians.
Tawaji is well known for her songs Solidarité and La Bidaye Wala Nihaye. [Getty]
Lebanese singer and former The French Voice Competitor Hiba Tawaji is to perform in Syria, an announcement that has angered Syrian fans, many of whom cannot return home to Assad-held areas due to security threats.
Tawaji – well known for her songs Solidarity and Bidaye Wala Nihaye – is due to perform at the Damascus Opera on March 9 and 10, officially named Dar Al-Assad for Culture and the Arts after the ruling family of Syria.
It will be the first time the soprano has performed in Syria for 15 years, according to a tweet posted by the singer.
Some have called the upcoming show ‘shameful’ because over the past decade Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad has launched a brutal assault on opposition areas, killing at least 500,000 people, mostly civilians , under the shelling and shelling of the regime.
Tens of thousands of detainees – many of them pro-democracy protesters jailed at the start of the 2011 uprising – have disappeared into regime prisons, many of whom fear death from torture and disease.
Live in #Syria for the first time in 15 years!
I can’t wait to finally see you all!
Dates: March 9 & 10, 2022
Venue: Damascus Opera House
Music Director: @oussamarahbani
Accompanied by Orpheus Orchestra
Directed by André Maalouli#hibatawaji #هبه_طوجي#Syria #سوريا #دمشق pic.twitter.com/jiMpiAXswu
—Hiba Tawaji (@hibatawaji) February 15, 2022
“Mazzeh prison is only 10 minutes away, I hope the cry of the Syrians tortured under the orders of the president who gave his name to the Opera will not drown out your voice,” said one twitter user wrote.
Other Syrians – many exiled from their home countries – find it hard to understand why the singer agreed to perform in the capital, which is controlled by a regime widely condemned for sickening acts of violence against men, women and children.
Good evening. This message to understand how you accepted to sing at the opera of #Damascus near #Sednaya prison or #Assad continues to torture men, women and children – children!!- #Assad who occupied the #Lebanon ! Art ? Money? Fame?@AssaouiNadia
— M Christine Boinet (@m_boinet) February 21, 2022
” Shame on you ! Singing on a ground covered in hundreds of thousands of innocent Syrian blood,” another user Nadia wrote.
— Ammar ABD RABBO (@AmmarParis) February 21, 2022
“Shame now has a voice,” wrote another tweeter, Ammar.
Some fans commenting on Tawaji’s Facebook post seemed excited about the event.
“We are waiting for you and love you so much,” wrote one fan Rana Aoun, as others showered the singer with well wishes and good luck messages. “May happiness return to Syria,” commented Facebook user Sandy Alroom.
Throughout the Syrian war, more than five million Syrians have been forced to flee their homes to neighboring countries, and another six million citizens have been internally displaced, as the Syrian regime launched an attack mass action against towns and villages of the opposition.
Syria is considered dangerous for return by most Western countries and human rights groups, due to high levels of violence and the threat of disappearance.
There have been countless incidents of Syrians disappearing shortly after returning to the country, fearing detention and torture by the regime’s intelligence services.
The new Arabic has reached out to Tawaji for comment but has not received a response at the time of writing.