Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Looking For Israel-Lebanon Peace At The Hellfest Music Festival

I suppose peace has to start somewhere--so it may as well be with a Lebanese dancer holding a Lebanese flag next to an Israeli flag at the Hellfest music festival in France last month.

“I don’t regret what I did on stage because my actions were delivering a passionate message of freedom and peace,” said 22-year-old Johanna Fakhry.

Fakhry, a Lebanese dancer and performer, appeared on stage with an Israeli heavy metal band, Orphaned Land, at the Hellfest music festival in France last month. During the performance, Fakhry raised the Lebanese
Now Lebanon took to the streets of Lebanon to do an informal survey of reaction to what Fakhry did. It looks like the older people were generally opposed--strongly opposed to what she did. After all, Israel is the enemy.

Most, but not all, of the younger people seemed to approve of what she did:
Fakhry said she was aware of the consequences but after careful thought decided to go ahead with the concert. “If we don’t take these bold steps, things will never change and we will never achieve peace. We need to break these barriers and look to the future with an open mind,” she told NOW Lebanon over the phone from Paris.

Some people agree.

“I’m all about world peace. We need to change this mentality. How can we move forward if we keep looking to the past,” said 21-year-old Jad Abouakkar of Hamra.

“I think what she did is great,” echoed 22-year-old Chantale Raad. “Just because someone belongs to a certain religion or is from a certain country doesn’t mean we can’t get along.”

“As a Lebanese, I may not agree with what she did, but it’s her prerogative. She has a right to represent herself whichever way she wants,” said 18-year-old Shawkat of Mazraa.

One interesting note: one of those who criticizes Fakhry for what she did says she should not talk until she has experienced what is was like to live in Southern Lebanon and suffer from the war in 2006--"She has no idea what we went through. How can she represent us?"

But according to Now Lebanon: she did and she can:
But Fakhry did in fact live in South Lebanon, during the Israeli occupation in the early 1990s.

“As a young child living in Lebanon I too thought of Israel as an enemy, now I consider them friends. We are all one people,” Fakhry told NOW Lebanon.

“I want to tell my fellow Lebanese that I am proud of my roots and my country and who I am as a Lebanese. I will always raise the colors of my flag with great pride. Please understand me before you judge me.”
Unfortunately, the article ends with a conclusion that is sad in its predictability:
Since the incident, Fakhry has received death threats and is afraid of visiting Lebanon, although she hopes to visit sometime in the future.
What Fakhry did is a small first step.
And it will take many more steps, all the way around, to resolve the current situation between Lebanon and Israel.

Technorati Tag: and .
Post a Comment