Beirut Dreams in Color

Mashrou’ Leila was one of the biggest bands in the Middle East, with a lead singer, Hamed, who is the most prominent openly gay rock star in the Arab world. Known globally, their gigs were regular sell-out successes until an event at their 2017 Cairo concert changed everything. Playing to 35,000 people, the band looked out at a sea of swaying flickering lights, including an Egyptian fan flying a rainbow flag. This simple act would later be described by authorities as ‘inciting debauchery’, and ultimately catapulted the band, the fan, and others into a tragic series of events.

While this violent repression against the LGBTQ+ community in the Middle East mirrors a global trend, creatives on the frontline are unified in their resistance. ‘One good song can do more than 5,000 protests.’

Here is the documentary.

Founding band member, Haig Papazian talks about the last five years and life as an artist in exile here.

All by The Guardian.


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