CAIRO: “As soon as I heard that Israel started a war on Gaza, my life stopped. I felt obliged to do something for the Palestinian people, pop singer Tamer Hosni said.
This was his first reaction, which he followed by a series of more practical actions.
Through his donations plus contributions from concertgoers, Hosni managed to collect around LE 1 million and $1 million for the Palestinian people.
A day after the start of Israel’s 22-day Gaza offensive, Hosni was the first to release a song in solidarity with the Palestinian people, titled “Kolena Wahed (We Are All One),
“As soon as the casualties started coming to Egyptian hospitals for treatment, I [wanted] to be among the first to welcome them, Hosni said, adding that his goal was to draw smiles on patients’ faces, “regardless of the great pain they were going through.
“I’m not only talking about physical pain, but psychological pain as well, he said.
As the Gaza war ensured, many venues and artists cancelled their planned New Year’s Eve celebrations and concerts. Hosni, however, decided to go on with his planned concert at the InterContinental Semiramis hotel and “donated all the proceeds to Palestinian victims, Dalia Abou Al-Wafa, Hosni’s media consultant, told Daily News Egypt.
During a concert in Dubai on Jan. 16, Hosni told the audience that he is donating money to the Palestinian casualties, and placed an empty box on stage for those who wanted to make donations.
By the end of the night, Hosni had collected around $1 million for the cause.
All the money he collected was given to the Palestinians through UNRWA and the Red Crescent. Hosni did not give any money to the Palestinian authorities.
While his insistence on holding the concerts during the days of the war was controversial, Hosni had a different point of view than his critics. “Despite the fact that I was in a horrible mood, I thought that nobody would benefit from me canceling the concerts and causing the hotel, sponsors and my agent to go bankrupt.
“I can continue to hold concerts while keeping my word [to help the Palestinians] by collecting money, which is something the Palestinians really needed, he said.
While he did not disclose his personal opinion on the politics behind the Palestinian conflict, he did say, “I totally believe that Egypt has done its best to help the Palestinian people and the Palestinian cause.
On Saturday Jan. 31, Hosni decided to help the victims of the war directly and took off to Gaza along with Abou Al-Wafa and his older brother, Hossam. They entered Gaza through the Egyptian Rafah border and stayed one day.
“We took a big truck that was covered with Palestinian and Egyptian flags and loaded with medicine that the UNRWA had listed as needed in Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza, Abou Al-Wafa said.
According to Abou Al-Wafa, they did not face any problems with authorities during the one-day trip.
Abou Al-Wafa, who is also the marketing manager of the Mena House Oberoi hotel, is one of Hosni’s closest friends. “I met Tamer around three years ago through a common friend who works as a plastic surgeon and is a member of Operation Smile [a worldwide medical charity organization founded in 1982 to help children born with cleft lips], she said.
Hosni has worked with Operation Smile for three years.