Concerts on Hold: Music Industry Responds to Gaza Crisis

Kadry Al-Haggar
7 Min Read

In a show of solidarity with the current situation in the Palestinian territories, several renowned singers have expressed their reluctance to perform. The ongoing conflict, which has seen relentless attacks on Gaza and its environs for nearly seventy days, has resulted in the tragic loss and injury of tens of thousands—predominantly children, women, the elderly, and other vulnerable individuals.

Among the artists taking a stand is Tamer Hosni, who has issued apologies for his scheduled concerts during this period. He has also declined to participate in weddings and other celebratory events, citing severe distress caused by the harrowing images and reports emerging from Gaza that he is exposed to incessantly.

Lebanese vocalist Wael Jassar has also spoken on the matter, stating the difficulty of performing under such dire conditions. He has announced that should the conflict intensify, he will forgo his upcoming New Year’s concert in Egypt, despite prior agreements. Jassar has criticized certain singers who have proposed to perform and donate their earnings to the people of Gaza, arguing that the residents require compassion more than financial aid. In light of these perspectives, we invite an objective discussion on whether to abstain from or continue musical performances, aiming to determine the most appropriate response to the distressing events our Palestinian brethren are enduring.

Tamer Hosni’s emotional response to Gaza crisis

Renowned artist Tamer Hosni has canceled all his upcoming concerts and declined wedding invitations, including those of close friends, in light of the distressing events in Gaza. He has publicly expressed his sorrow over the ongoing conflict and the devastating impact on the people of Palestine. His physician, Mohamed Wael, has disclosed that Hosni is suffering from severe depression, which has led to physical health issues due to his constant attention to the situation in Gaza.

Hani Shaker stands with Palestine

Hani Shaker, often referred to as the prince of Arab singing, has postponed his December concert in Lebanon to stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people affected by the conflict in and around Gaza. He has condemned the actions against civilians and voiced support for Egypt’s efforts to provide aid and advocate for the rights of the people of Gaza. Shaker is calling on the international community to intervene and halt the atrocities being committed.

Kazem Al-Saher’s concert postponements

Iraqi musician Kazem Al-Saher has announced on social media the indefinite postponement of his concerts in Qatar and Oman due to the tragic events in Gaza. He has assured that ticket holders will be refunded promptly.

Elissa delays album release

Lebanese singer Elissa has decided to delay the release of her new album, originally scheduled for the current period, as a gesture of respect for the Palestinian people. She believes that the severity of the situation in Gaza makes it an inappropriate time for celebrations and new music releases.

Wael Jassar’s firm stance

Wael Jassar has revealed that he may cancel his New Year’s concert in Egypt if the situation in Gaza worsens. He emphasizes that the heart-wrenching images of suffering, particularly among children and women, make it impossible to proceed with festive events. Jassar has criticized fellow artists who plan to donate concert proceeds to Gaza, arguing that the people need moral support more than financial assistance at this time.

Concert cancellations reflect solidarity with Gaza

Egyptian vocalist Sherine Abdel Wahab has withdrawn from her scheduled performance in Kuwait, aligning herself with the people of Gaza. She has articulated her profound sorrow over the egregious offenses committed daily against innocent children and defenseless individuals, stating that such circumstances render it inconceivable to entertain audiences.

Artistic integrity amidst crisis

Cultural critic Mahmoud Qassem, reflecting on the artists’ decisions to cancel their shows in support of Gaza, remarked: These are commendable ethical choices that deserve our respect and praise. They embody the values instilled in us from a young age—to empathize with our neighbor’s grief and offer support by abstaining from public displays of happiness. It is a testament to the enduring principles of our community, which persist despite the prevalence of malice. The entire Arab world shares in the anguish caused by the atrocities inflicted upon those who are powerless to defend themselves. We pray for divine mercy to rescue them and bring an end to the bloodshed, for its prolonged duration will inevitably take a toll on us all.

Advocating for concerts with a cause

Music critic Mounir Al-Wasimi offers a contrasting perspective: We cannot allow our adversaries to demoralize the Arab world. If professionals across various fields cease their activities in mourning, it will halt regional productivity, playing into the enemy’s hands. We must continue our endeavors in support of the cause. I advocate for concerts that resonate with the plight of Palestine and Gaza, utilizing music as a medium to broadcast the daily heinous acts to the global community. Such performances can profoundly affect the world’s conscience, particularly when delivered by esteemed artists with a significant following. These performers have the option to allocate a portion, if not all, of their concert proceeds to aid the Palestinians in their time of need. In this context, I recall the legendary Kawkab Al-Sharq, Umm Kulthum, who traveled internationally to hold concerts in support of the war effort during Egypt’s War of Attrition. Her efforts amassed nearly five million pounds, setting a noble precedent for others to emulate in similar situations.

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