Lebanon's metalheads rock on in the face of 'cultural terrorism'
As a metal concert was held 2 weeks ago in a secluded venue in a Beirut suburb, speculations started to spread extensively, triggering intense media coverage of the site, looking for evidence of any satanic rituals.
“We don’t usually do our concert in such places. We do it in common places , in resorts or even in hotels. But this time we chose this venue for its significance. It’s a very strong witness of the civil war. Many of the subjects we talk about are related to war. So this place was convenient not because it is scaring,” Bassem Daeibes, lead singer for local metal band Blakyum.
In 1996, the son of a senior security official, who happens to be a fan of rock music, committed suicide. Ever since, the alternative community in Lebanon has encountered many forms of persecution at various phases.
“I witnessed cultural terrorism personally in 1996, when I was taken in front of my university just because I was wearing black and I have some rings. I didn’t even have piercing back then,” Daeibes said.
“It is about revolution towards society, towards politics towards taboos. It’s not a happy music. It has anger. You can’t wear happy colors there is fashion to every kind of music,” Jean Pierre, another lead singer for Blakyum.
Alternative community faces also another form of oppression in result of governmental censorship.
“3000 albums are banned in Lebanon without any explanation. That’s the funny part - international metal artists are not allowed in Lebanon. For a Lebanese metal bands, they have to go to the authorities,” Elia Moussawir, metal band organizer, said.
However, an official source from the Internal General Security that is in charge of protection of freedoms within the framework of law revealed to Al Arabiya that the art is not subject to censorship , yet the Lebanese authorities are entitled to ban albums containing subliminal messages against the Lebanese Law.
“We have released recently a website called Lebanese censorship.org. People can check it online and see the bands and the movies and artists that are banned.,” Moussawir said.
In this location, the rock concert took place triggering a wide range of speculation over its satanic side. People who are keen to alternative music have always been subject to persecution in Lebanon. Yet this society decided to trick back against what they consider cultural terrorism.
By Gilane Fatayri