Lebanese Singer Hiba Tawaji angers fans by agreeing to perform in regime-held Syria

Lebanese Singer Hiba Tawaji angers fans by agreeing to perform in regime-held Syria
Many have branded the singer's concert in the regime-held capital 'shameful', due to the regime's massacres of civilians.
3 min read
23 February, 2022
Tawaji is well known for her songs Solidaritè and La Bidaye Wala Nihaye [Getty]

Lebanese singer and former The Voice France contestant Hiba Tawaji is due to perform in Syria, an announcement that has angered Syrian fans, many unable to return to their homes in Assad-held areas due to threats to their safety.

Tawaji - well known for her songs Solidaritè and La Bidaye Wala Nihaye - is due to perform at the Damascus Opera House on 9 and 10 March, officially named the Dar Al-Assad for Culture and Arts after Syria's ruling family.

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 branded the upcoming show "shameful" as during the past decade Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad has launched a brutal assault on opposition areas, killing at least 500,000 people, mostly civilians from regime shelling and bombing.

Tens of thousands of detainees - many of them pro-democracy protesters jailed at the start of the 2011 uprising - have disappeared in regime prisons, many feared dead from torture and disease.

"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 cover your voice," one Twitter user wrote.

Other Syrians - many exiled from their home country - have struggled 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.

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"Shame on you! Singing on a floor covered with hundred thousands innocent Syrian’s blood," another user, Nadia, wrote.

"Shame now has a voice," another tweeter, Ammar, wrote.

Some fans commenting on Tawaji's Facebook post appeared excited about the event.

"We're waiting for you and love you so much," one fan Rana Aoun wrote, as others showered the singer with well wishes and good luck messages. "May happiness return to Syria," Facebook user Sandy Alroom commented.

Throughout the Syrian war, over five million Syrians have been forced to flee their homes to neighbouring countries, and an additional six million citizens have been internally displaced, as the Syrian regime launched a wholesale assault on opposition towns and villages.

Syria is deemed unsafe for return by most Western countries and human rights groups, due to the high levels of violence and threat of disappareance.

There have been countless incidents of Syrians disappearing shortly after returning to the country, feared detained and tortured by regime intelligence services.

The New Arab contacted Tawaji for comment but did not receive a response at the time of writing.