Lebanese pop artist Nawal El-Zoghbi has announced her resignation from the Lebanese Syndicate of Professional Artists after being told that artists could not criticize politicians.
In a power move, she posted her two-page resignation letter on Twitter with the hashtag “Lebanese citizen.” In the letter, she said she did not feel honored to idly stand by while her country’s people “slid into an unknown future.”
Her decision came after the head of the Syndicate, Jihad Al-Atrash, asked artist members not to criticize or talk about politicians or political parties, despite the prevalent reality.
Al-Atrash’s request was in response to an incident where supporters of the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) attacked the house of an artist for making remarks against President Michel Aoun and Gebran Bassil, blaming them for Lebanon’s collapse.
In retaliation, FPM partisans vandalized his house and posted Aoun‘s photos around it.
The request of the head of the Artists’ Syndicate could be aimed at protecting the artists, however, it plainly deemed the basic civil rights of the freedom of expression non-applicable to them as citizens of the country.
Rejecting the highly controversial request, Nawal El-Zoghbi called it a “dangerous and unprecedented move” and cited Lebanon’s pioneering role in the world of art and freedom of expression, which is now being challenged.
Her resignation was celebrated and welcomed by the public, from celebrities and influential people to the average citizen who applauded her stance, especially during this crucial time.