Yes, as expected, the Star Academy concert scheduled for tomorrow has been cancelled. I am the last person who would attend the concert, but I would be the first person to defend the right for others to stage and attend such an event. It is quite disgraceful that we have been bullied around like this. There was no official reason given for the cancellation of the show, however the comment in the GDN by Information Minister Nabeel Al Hamer says it all:
Mr Murad said Mr Al Hamer later withdrew permission, saying he would be hauled before parliament if he allowed the show to go ahead.(Mr. Murad is the organizer of the show). It is obvious from this that the show was not cancelled because of any genuine concerns over its content, but because of Mr Al Hamer's fears that the nutty MPs will again cause Nancy Ajram-style havoc in the Parliament and in the streets. It is sad that we let these guys dictate our lifestyles. Let people choose what they want to attend or not. If people are so much against the concert, then the ticket sales will ensure that it doesn't take place again.... ahh, the frustration.
On a side note, the same Star Academy concert was held in Kuwait on 6th May, soon after which authorities issued a fatwa banning concerts with female singers. Despite this pressure, some members of the opposition have valiantly taken a stand against these restrictions on freedom. Let's hope that some of us in Bahrain will take some inspiration from our Kuwaiti brothers. The full article from AFP is below.
Kuwait's liberal camp protests new restrictions on concerts
Tue May 18, 4:00 PM ET
KUWAIT CITY (AFP) - Kuwaiti liberals criticized the government for bowing to the emirate's Islamists by tightening controls on concerts, saying it amounted to a "dangerous" campaign against freedom.
Some 500 Kuwaitis gathered at a rally where speakers warned that a government-Islamic alliance would lead the oil-rich emirate to disaster.
"The government alliance with Islamist groups will lead to disasterous consequences. The religious political game is a dangerous one," warned Ahmed al-Rubei, a former leading liberal MP and education minister.
A statement issued by seven liberal non-governmental organisations described the new restrictions as an attack on the emirate's liberal constitution, and called on cabinet ministers to resign in protest.
The rally was organized a day after the Kuwaiti government issued new rules that banned all forms of dance at concerts and required families and unaccompanied men to sit separately.
The regulations were issued after three Islamist MPs threatened to question Information Minister Mohammed Abulhassan for allowing a show to go ahead by stars of Lebanese reality television programme "Star Academy".
"This is a political agenda by Islamists ... Their model is Afghanistan (news - web sites) and Fallujah ... We will defend our freedom by all means," vowed Khaled al-Mutairi, leader of the National Democratic Alliance.
"They want to take us back to the dark ages, with the direct and indirect encouragement of government sides," said Fuad al-Shatti, head of the Kuwaiti Artists Association.
Kuwait remains a religiously conservative country where alcohol and discos are banned, but boasts the liveliest political scene in the Gulf Arab states