Thursday, October 29, 2009

Playing on the borders of the National Identity: Khaled under the flags

Identity for the people living in the Arab world is far to limit itself to the only Islamic and Arabic components. For instance, national identification has indeed some importance.

A fact very well perceived by many artistât (for the meaning of that word, see previous post) who play with the national feelings of their audience in order to raise the bidding. Although they can’t display the same selling points, singers very tug at the national heartstrings, for instance in displaying the national flag in all sorts of ways.

At times, playing with a national banner may be dangerous, as it has been the case with Saad al-Saghir and, at various occasions, with chebb Khaled. During his Summer tour of Morocco in 2008, the singer has had all sorts of problems because of a photography of him with the emblem of the Polisario Front. To make things worst, the Algerian pop star was politically naïve enough to also stand on a stage with an Amazigh flag between his hands.

Did the blunderer want to clear his name? Recently, an interview in the Moroccan weekly TelQuel caused uproar in Algeria. According to the Algerian press, the singer had compared the expelling of thousands of Moroccans citizens in the mid 1970’s to the deportation of Jews during Word War II!

Fortunately, the “fuss and muss” over Khaled’s alleged declarations stopped after a vigorous denial from the singer. But Al-Quds al-'arabi - Novembre 2sd - mentions that the Algerian star, repeating that politics and culture should not mix (he should read this blog more frequently!) asked again for an opening of the borders between the two countries.

Link to the orginal in French, with more details.

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