Fear of music in Lebanon

Lebanese singer Zeid Hamdan of the band Zeid and the Wings was briefly jailed July 27 on charges of defaming President Michel Suleiman, who is a former commander of the armed forces, in his single “General Suleiman.” From his cell, he managed to get out the following Facebook message: “Dear friends, I am now in the prison of the police station of the Palace of Justice in Beirut because of my song ‘General Soleiman’. They are prosecuting me for defammation of President Soleiman. I dont know, until when I am staying in prison. Please mobilize!” There was an immediate outcry, and Hamdan was released after a few hours—and the charge seemingly dropped. The song’s lyrics go, to a catchy reggae beat: “General Suleiman, Peace be upon you, General Suleimen. Put your weapons down, put your weapons down, now it’s time to leave your warlords behind.” The song ends: “General Suleiman, go home.” (The National, UAE, Aug. 8; LA Times; Babylon & Beyond blog, July 28)

See our last post on Lebanon, and fear of music in Eritrea, Pakistan and Angola.

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