Egyptian singer Amr Diab slammed for ‘tasteless’ Beirut concert

Egyptian singer Amr Diab slammed for ‘tasteless’ Beirut concert
Veteran Egyptian singer Amr Diab put on a concert in Beirut, but was criticised for flaunting wealth in a country hit by a severe economic crisis and for the garbage left behind by his fans.
3 min read
22 August, 2023
Amr Diab performed at the Beirut Waterfront Arena [Getty]

Egyptian singer Amr Diab has been the target of criticism after giving two concerts in Lebanon - one public and one private - seeing him earn over one million dollars.

The 61-year-old singer, whose pop music career spans nearly four decades, was accused of putting on an "insensitive" performance at the Beirut Waterfront Arena amid an economic crisis and leaving authorities to clean up the mountains of garbage after the show ended.

Lebanon's Environment Minister Nasser Yassin angrily tweeted a video of the waste piled on the streets, saying that the Beirut municipality should have forced the organisers to clean up the mess.

Amr Diab’s extravagance was also seen as tasteless given that Lebanon is experiencing one of the worst economic crises in history.

While singing in Beirut, he sported a Rolex reportedly valued at over $500,000, in a country where millions of people have been plunged into poverty in recent years and where many basic services are no longer provided by the government.

Diab's fans paid $60 to attend the public concert and had to wear white to be let in. Around 16,000 people turned out for the show.

The singer's high fees and the cost of the tickets led social media users to question how a non-Lebanese entertainer was allowed to take such a large sum of allegedly untaxed money out of the country. For others it highlighted the huge disparity in wealth in the country.

One social media user, a podcast host going by the name of "The Tripolitan", wrote on the X social media platform, formerly known as Twitter: "A significantly small minority of the population seem to be enjoying themselves while the rest of the population struggles with basic necessities."

Other social media users defended Diab, saying that those who attended the show were spending their own money and had a right to be entertained.

Since Lebanon's economic crisis began in 2019, the country's banks have imposed draconian capital controls which have prevented Lebanese savers from accessing their own money. The country's elite meanwhile have been accused of funnelling millions of dollars out of Lebanon.

The crisis has seen the ruin of many Lebanese middle class families - driving them into abject poverty. Some Lebanese have taken the law into their own hands, carrying out armed heists just to be able to access their own money.