Amr Diab concert in Lebanon causes heated debate online

The road leading to the Beirut Waterfront Arena was littered with rubbish by concertgoers

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Egyptian pop star Amr Diab performed his first concert in Beirut in 12 years on Saturday, which was attended by about 20,000 fans, Lebanese media reported.

But the show at Beirut Waterfront Arena has triggered heated debate online, with some criticising the mess left by concertgoers and others questioning its timing, considering Lebanon's current economic turmoil.

On Sunday, Nasser Yassin, Lebanon's Minister of Environment, posted a video on X, formerly Twitter, showing the road leading to the venue littered with rubbish. He wrote that Beirut Municipality had been informed and asked to “oblige the organising company to remove the waste and clean the place at its own expense".

“The Governor of Beirut must issue general cleanliness records against violators,” he added.

Yassin's video shows the four-laned road littered with items including water bottles, cans and rubbish bags. He ended his tweet with a hashtag in Arabic that translates to “clean your country”.

Yassin later posted an updated video, showing uniformed cleaners sweeping the street.

“Garbage contractor workers in Beirut began to remove waste from the Amr Diab party venue,” he wrote, adding that the “General Hygiene Department in the Beirut Municipality is following up on the work”.

Many have also discussed whether it was appropriate for Diab’s concert to take place in Lebanon, citing the country’s current economic and political instability and the lack of accountability regarding the 2020 Beirut blast.

“The victims of the Beirut port bombing have been begging for three years for people to march with them and demand justice but no one was coming down,” wrote one user on X. "Amr Diab invited [more than] 16,000 citizens and forced them to wear white as well.”

But not everyone was up in arms.

“Is there anyone who hasn’t criticised the Amr Diab concert and those who attended?” wrote another user in defence of the concert.

“Well, we went, so we can be happy and dance and uplift our moods after buying our tickets, using money we worked day and night to make. Those who don’t want to see the videos [of the concert], don’t [watch them].”

Diab is set to perform at Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Arena on Yas Island on September 9.

Updated: August 21, 2023, 8:26 AM