BEIRUT: There is still a possibility that Lara Fabian will perform her scheduled concerts in Lebanon, though the Belgian artist remains reluctant to visit a country where anti-Israel campaigners have rallied against her for weeks, the event manager tells The Daily Star.
“Hopefully, she will perform the concerts, given that the visas for her [and her band] have been issued and approved by the government,” Jean Saliba, the Fabian event manager, told The Daily Star Friday.
Anti-Israel campaigners rallied earlier this month against the artist's planned visit, prompting Fabian to cancel her February concerts at Casino du Liban.
"[Those who] don’t want me to come in their beautiful country; where I already had the chance to sing once before, don't have to worry. I won’t come and disturb your quietness with my physical presence," Fabian wrote on her Facebook wall in what she described as a letter of love to Lebanon.
The campaigners cited an online video showing Fabian singing in a 2008 concert on the anniversary of the creation of Israel. Fabian sang in Hebrew and then later, before getting off stage, said: “I love you, Israel.”
Fabian’s move to cancel the visit, however, angered many of her Lebanese fans, who flooded social media websites with counter campaigns, saying Fabian’s cancellation damages Lebanon’s reputation abroad.
This is not new for Lebanon, as various anti-Israel campaigners have previously rallied against artists they consider to be pro-Israeli, including rock band Placebo, which performed at Forum De Beyrouth in 2010, and Armin Van Buuren, who performed in late 2011 at the same venue.
Saliba also said that Fabian is reluctant to come to Lebanon, adding that the artist, whose show in Casino du Liban has already sold hundreds of tickets, believes that the majority of Lebanese would not welcome her.
“I am telling her that these fanatics are not the majority, but, at the end, it is up to her,” Saliba said.
It is noteworthy that the government continues to have no objection to Fabian’s concert, something that is readily apparent given that event managers such as Saliba cannot sign a deal with any artist without the approval of the Tourism Ministry.
Meanwhile, The Campaign to Boycott Israeli Supporters in Lebanon, which has organized the protests against Fabian, will meet on Jan. 27 to discuss the matter.