Brazilian Samba & Hezbollah's Terrorism 
By Elias Bejjani * 

October 10/09

On Thursday, 1st October a preplanned and scheduled Brazilian samba show was banned and torpedoed in the historical southern Lebanese city of Tyre after about 100 Shiite clerics under the chairmanship of Sheikh Ali Yassin, a powerful Hezbollah follower, met and issued a fatwa (religious decree) forbidding it and declaring it sinful.

A statement by the clerics condemned the open-air Brazilian samba display by a dance troupe that has been touring Lebanon and said: “The naked festival is incompatible with the religious and Islamic morals of Tyre”. The statement blamed the city's municipality for licensing the performance of the festival and held it accountable”. “We support tourism but are against obscenity,” said Sheikh Ali Yassin, who led the 100 Shiite clerics’ protest.

The troupe, including musicians and scantily clad dancers, performed last month in central Beirut's Martyrs' Square and in the Lebanese cities of Zahle and Joanieh without any kind of problems at all. On the contrary, they were greatly liked and admired by the public. Thousands of Lebanese and tourists from all over the world attended the shows and enjoyed them.

The Brazilian embassy officials in Beirut were saddened and shocked by the unjustified uproar raised by the Hezbollah clerics. The cultural attaché in the embassy told the French news agency that all needed measures were taken weeks ago by both the troupe and the embassy with regard to the religious sensitivities of the city that has a Shiite majority, including ensuring proper modest attire for the dancers rather than the traditional revealing “bal samba” costumes

The Tyre local city council was forced by all means of intimidation and terrorism to revoke its positive decision and had to cancel the show after consulting with politicians and security officials. The council’s statement said it all: “The Tyre municipality is keen to confirm to the public opinion that the Brazilian festival did not infringe on religious values or morals and was not pornographic as proclaimed by some people. Therefore and on instructions and directives from Tyre's  Mount Amel Grand Mufti, Judge Sheik Hassan Abdullah, the municipality has decided to cancel the festival show in the city. Meanwhile, the council reaffirms its commitment to the genuine and well established Lebanese-Brazilian relationship and greatly thanks the Brazilian embassy in Lebanon”.

Tyre NGOs, civil associations, cultural and trade union bodies issued a courageous statement of condemnation addressing Hezbollah's dictatorship. The statement said: “In support for civil liberties and freedom of opinion and expression, representatives of a number of Tyre NGOs, civil associations, cultural and trade union bodies held a joint meeting and discussed the unjustified arbitrary cancellation of the Brazilian samba festival that was scheduled to perform in Tyre with the consent of the city's municipality and in numerous Lebanese regions in the realm of tourism and summer cultural activities. The representatives recorded the following observations: 
1 - The ban harms Tyre’s tourism reputation, blemishes its civilized image and reflects negatively on its tourism activities.
2 - There is the fear that this ban will become a precedent to be followed by intrusions on freedoms in both Lebanon, the country of coexistence and Tyre, the city of openness. 
3 - It is feared that this enforced cancellation is a sign and a forerunner for future measures that will affect individual and public freedoms and force Tyre to join the list of other cities that are shackled by measures of repression and religious decrees.  
4 - The emphasis was on the right of all citizens to express their opinions without imposing them on others; the respect for others’ feelings and the inadmissibility of banning freedoms and transgressing on them in violation to what is guaranteed by the country's constitution.   

We should offer tribute to the Tyre municipality council, NGOs, civil associations and cultural and trade union bodies for all of them refused to succumb to Hezbollah's terror and intimidation despite their blatant threats and religious manipulations. 

They loudly and publicly voiced their strong peaceful condemnation with pride and dignity. They courageously witnessed for the truth without being deterred by Hezbollah's show of power, heretics or bragging.

It is so sad, frustrating and unfortunate that Hezbollah, the Iranian religious and armed fundamentalist militia, could time after time impose on the Lebanese people and authorities its dictates and stone age despotic lifestyle in such an oppressive and intimidating Stalinist and Nazi pattern. Last July Hezbollah through its bold terrorism and fanaticism tactics openly intimidated the famous French-Moroccan comedian Gad Elmaleh to cancel his participation in the Beiteddine Festival.
Noura Jumblatt, head of the festival's organizing committee, said the group had received threats against allowing Elmaleh to perform.

The Hezbollah terrorist organization challenges the Lebanese constitution on a daily basis and breaks by force all the laws and regulations that ensure and guarantee public freedoms. Its ongoing enforced endeavors to abolish Lebanon’s multicultural, free, democratic and mosaic society is dragging the country into havoc, poverty, isolation, and forcing thousands and thousands of Lebanese nationalists to emigrate.

The most threatening and frightening element in Hezbollah's daily criminal mercenary infringements lie in its preset vicious scheme to destroy the country's peaceful, civilized, and democratic educational system and replace it with the Iranian mullah's religious ideology of death, wars, jihad, invasions and suicide. It is worth mentioning that the majority of the Lebanese people reject such an islamist indoctrination, including the majority of the Lebanese Shiite community which Hezbollah controls by force.

Hezbollah bears the full responsibility for this deplorable repression of the artistic image of Tyre that is deeply rooted in history and civilization. Tyre throughout its 7000 years of history was a haven for multiculturalism, freedom, art, democracy and peace. It gave the world great leaders like Hannibal, famous poets like Miligar, Historians, artists, writers, thinkers, inventors, creators, geniuses and philosophers. Tyre will never be a city of fanaticism, awkwardness, insularity, intolerance or barbarism. 

The great Tyrean poet, Mliqar (140-70 BC), told the whole world about Lebanon's openness, love of civilization, peace and tolerance and requested that the following message be carved on his gravestone
(in Cyprus): “Yes, I am Mliqar, Tyre raised me, and I saw the light through its skies and Athens taught me. Dear, do not be surprised we live in one country, its name is the "world”.

The ongoing war of suppression and terrorism that Hezbollah is waging and forcing on Lebanon is escalating. This war confirms without any shred of a doubt that the current serious ongoing conflict in Lebanon is between two educational systems and cultures: the first is the Iranian mullah's evil teaching of jihad, death, suicide, fanaticism, oppression, terrorism, rejection of the other, awkwardness and isolation; and the second one is the historical Lebanese education and culture of peace, human rights, civil society, openness, multiculturalism, democracy and freedom.

In the event that the Lebanese yield with no heroic resistance to Hezbollah's derailed mullah's logic that torpedoed the Brazilian samba band, Lebanon is definitely very soon going to lose its identity, history, and civilization, as well as its freedoms, creativeness, education and the deeply rooted mosaic society of different cultures, religions and ethics.

Meanwhile, it is so sad and disgusting that some Lebanese politicians and leaders who rhetorically brag to be advocates for secularism, equality, human rights and freedom like MP Michel Aoun and MP Ghassan Mikieber, and many others have swallowed their tongues regarding Hezbollah's enforced ban on the Brazilian samba dance troupe. They were selectively blind, deaf and mute and cowardly refrained from criticizing Hezbollah's blatant infringement on the basic freedoms of Lebanese society.

May God protect Lebanon and its people from the ignorance, terrorism and fanaticism that Hezbollah is trying to force on them by all its means of money, power, cruelty, intimidation, threats and manipulation.

 Elias Bejjani
Canadian-Lebanese Human Rights activist, journalist and political commentator
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