From Elissa to Mohammed Assaf, Arab musicians share heartfelt messages to Beirut: 'Lebanon didn't deserve this'

Some of the region’s biggest stars expressed their grief following the devastating explosion in the Lebanese capital

Nancy Ajram. EPA

Ragheb Alama. Courtesy Al Majaz Amphitheatre

Elissa performs in Egypt, Cairo. EPA
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Beirut's devastating explosion has sent shockwaves around the region's entertainment industry, with some of the Arab world’s biggest singers sharing their grief online.

As of Wednesday, August 5, the death toll rose to 100, according to the Red Cross, with more than 100 people reportedly missing.

With Lebanon viewed as a citadel of the Arab world’s entertainment industry, the event has elicited anguish from the region’s celebrities, many of whom either reside, work in or toured the city regularly.

Here is what some of them had to say.

Elissa: ‘my heart is broken’

The Lebanese singer was one of the first celebrities to comment on the incident. As well as reassuring fans of her safety, she revealed her home was severely damaged by the blast.

“My heart is broken. What’s happened to my country saddened me,” she said. "My house has been completely wrecked but this is not important. What is important is that I pray to God to protect Lebanon.”

Nancy Ajram: ‘the tear remains’

Ajram always wore her love for Lebanon on her sleeve, performing plenty of charity concerts benefitting local humanitarian organisations throughout her career. In May, she performed an online gig that was live-streamed from a Beirut rooftop to raise the nation's spirits amid the pandemic. In the wake of the explosion, she posted a picture of tearful eye bathed in the Lebanese flag. The caption reads: “and the tear remains."

Tamer Hosny: ‘pray for Lebanon’

The Egyptian actor and singer knows Beirut well. As well as being a regular tour stop, Hosny was a frequent visitor to the city when shooting the first two seasons of The Voice Kids: Ahla Sawt (2016-2018), on which he was a coach.

“I ask you to pray for Lebanon and the Lebanese people because of this cruel event,” he said. “I also ask you to pray for the recovery for all those injured and those martyrs who perished. May God save Lebanon and all Arab countries."

Haifa Wehbe: 'the ugliest day I saw in my life'

The Lebanese singer and actress described the tragedy as one of the darkest days of her life. "My heart aches at what happened to Beirut. The ugliest day I saw in my life," she said. "Don’t forget the Lebanese in your prayers."

Ragheb Alama: ‘a wounded Beirut’

A frequent commentator on Lebanon's tribulations, veteran Lebanese singer Alama expressed his sadness and anger at the tragedy. "Good morning. A morning in a Beirut that's wounded. Thank you to everyone who asked about us and reassured us," he said. "May God's mercy be upon the martyrs and may God heal the wounded.”

Mohammed Assaf: ‘be well, dear ones’

Lebanon was the first destination in Assaf's journey to stardom. In 2012, he jumped in a car and made an epic two-day trip from Gaza to Beirut to attend an audition for Arab Idol.

Not only did he make it through, but seven months later he was crowned the winner of the competition in glittering ceremony that only Beirut can pull off. “May God preserve Lebanon and the people of Lebanon,” he said. “Be well, dear ones.”

Carole Samaha: ‘I can't comprehend the size of the explosion’

Carole Samaha's songs have occasionally discussed societal issues in Lebanon. When it came to the tragedy in Beirut, Samaha's poetry made way for sheer disbelief: "I can't comprehend the size of the explosion.”

Amr Diab: ‘My sincere condolences to the Lebanese people’

The Egyptian pop king has regularly toured Beirut over the past three decades, most recently holding a sold-out show in the city in April last year. Hours after the explosion, he paid respects to the victims and injured on social media. "My sincere condolences to the Lebanese people, and my wish for a speedy recovery for all the injured.”

Assi El Hallani: ‘I have never seen such a scene throughout the war years’

The patriotic Lebanese singer often uses his social media channels to express his dismay at the unfolding crisis in Lebanon. When it came to the scale of the country's latest tragic incident, El Hallani said it was unprecedented. "I have never seen such a scene throughout the war years," he said. "And (to think) that this happened because of recklessness and irresponsibility?"

Saber Rebai: ‘Lebanon does not deserve all this’

As a coach in the first three seasons (2012 to 2015) of The Voice: Ahla Sawt, the Tunisian singer is another superstar who spent a lot of time in Beirut. "I cannot find words that express my deep sorrow for what happened today in Lebanon," he said. "Lebanon does not deserve all this."

Yusuf Islam: ‘the worst that anyone could have imagined’

Islam, the musician formerly known as Cat Stevens, sent his condolences to the Lebanese people from his UAE home. Islam's previous performance in Beirut was a sold-out concert at the 2012 Beiteddine Art Festival. “Our prayers and thoughts are with the people of Lebanon,” he said. “On top of the meltdown they were already suffering, this is the worst that anyone could have imagined. God give them strength.”