It is well-known that Lebanon is a sectariannation with 18 different religious communities, so political leaders of thedominant countries took advantage of this fact and made it Lebanon’s weaknessto control and affect the internal political decisions of the country andmaintain their interest in Lebanon. The tension between the different religiouscommunities in Lebanon became more intense in the 1970’s which lead to a civilwar (1975-1990).
“Lebanon’s civil war was neither “typical” norsimilar to other civil conflicts. In part it was a combination of inter-Muslimwars and inter-Christian wars and Muslim versus Christian war, in addition tothe inventions of Palestinians and Israel in Lebanon which contributed toworsening the situation at that time.” 1 The war ended after the Taif agreement thatgave Muslims in Lebanon a greater role in the political process, so theChristian community in Lebanon felt that it lost part of its previousauthorities and privileges in the country, where the Taif agreement, in theirperspective, was at the Christians expenses, thus a state of tension andinjustice remained between Muslims and Christians in Lebanon till 2005.”Thisexperience showed that the modern state cannot be built on the basis ofsectarian identities”2. In2006, this situation had changed. In July 2006, the 33-day war (Israel- Lebanonwar) happened in Lebanon due to Hezbollah throwing a missile on Israel andkilling three armies and capturing two others, after Israel not responding tothe previous indirect negotiations to release the Lebanese prisoners, whichlead then to Israel declaring a war on Lebanon, this war ended after 33 dayswith Hezbollah defeating Israel. Although this war destroyed many tourist andresidential areas in Lebanon and killed many people and armies, this waramended the relationship between the different religious communities inLebanon. During the 33-day war people all around theworld witnessed a special phenomenon in Lebanon where the relationship betweenMuslims and Christians almost solidified as the war strengthened therelationship between Hezbollah and the Free Patriotic Movement, where thelatter with its Christian community and members from different sects andfactions of the Lebanese people supported the resistance and Hezbollah fightersin the war, and formed a national coverage for the party against Israel for thebenefit of their homeland.
The war in 2006 not only touched theLebanese people and affected their political thoughts but it also affected manycelebrities of different religious and political backgrounds. A good examplecould be the Christian Lebanese singer Julia Boutros, which is now a famousartist in Lebanon and the Arab world. Boutros was at first influenced by ZiadRahbani’s work. She started her career in the 1980’s with thoughtful songs like”Ghabet Shams El Haq” and “Wen el malaieen”. “Julia focused her desire to commitherself and her singing to Humanity and civilization in the Lebanese communityin particular and the world in general, where most of her lyrics come from theessence of resistance and that was able to create a marvelous combination ofmelody and poetry.
In October 2006 and after very few months ofthe victory of Lebanon, Julia Boutros announced anew single called “Ahibaii” (My loved ones). The lyrics are based on a lettersent by Hezbollah secretary general Hassan Nasrallah to the fighters in SouthLebanon during the War in July 2006 between Lebanon and Israel.”3 That song was in honor ofHezbollah and the “resistance” after the victory.
“Julia vocallysupporting Hezbollah and the “Resistance” despite being a Christian herself madeher a living embodiment of how an “Islamic Resistance” could transcendnationalism.”4Mostof Boutros’s songs witnessed a great success especially those that carriedhumanitarian and revolutionary issues such as “Ahibaii. Boutros held many concertsin Lebanon on this occasion, and people from different countries andnationalities attended Julia’s concert, where the rumors at that time said thatthe tickets where all sold for that performance in a short period of time. Forthat song, Boutros was catapulted to the front rank of contemporary Arab pop.
The profits from her song”Ahibaii” sale went to help the families of Hezbollah fighters and toall Lebanese who died during the Israel-Lebanon conflict. The families of Lebanese soldiers killed duringoperation Naher el-Bared also received a portion of the money. Afterthat, “Julia received several national and international awards, including the Lebanese President’s Award which was presented toJulia for her contribution, through her voice, to the Lebanese IslamicResistance Hezbollah against the Israeli occupation of Lebanon, shortly afterthe liberation of the South in May 2000″5. The taste of Arabic music lovers haschanged so much that concert scenes in Lebanon, Tunisia and Egypt were filledwith folks who want to hear “Ahibaii”. Julia Boutros did not onlysang for her country but she also raised her voice to the cause of theresistance by releasing her song “Al- Haq Silahi” (Righteousness ismy weapon) which is an ode to the Palestinians fighting in Gaza and all thosewho resisted resistance. She also Participated in an event of “The AUDRally and Candlelight Vigil” in the American University in Dubai toexpress her solidarity with the innocent in Gaza.
Today, Julia’s listeners and fans are fromdifferent age groups. Boutros became a national symbol for Nationalism,Patriotism, Resistance and even Romance not only in Lebanon but also in theArab world. She affected many by her touching and meaningful lyrics and stirredthe Arabs national sense as she was able to change many point of views andopinions against some politicians and parties in Lebanon, especially theIslamic ones. Julia’s political orientation that was translated in most of hersongs before and after the victory of Lebanon (in July 2006) changed manypeople’s thoughts and perspectives towards the resistance of Lebanon. And thatwas crystal clear in her concert performance in 2013, where she sang her mosttwo controversial songs at that time “A’ba Majdaka” and”Ahibaii” in front of millions of people that attended this concert,among them some politicians and dignitaries of the country.
In addition, theaudience reaction during her singing on stage her popular song”Ahibaii” specifically tells about Julia’s huge influence on her wideaudience and supporters and how this song expressed many of the listenersopinion about the occasion that happened in Lebanon at that time. Moreover, morethan 1.7 million viewed Boutros’s performance on YouTube. 6 Inorder to show Julia’s huge impact on the Arabic society and on the Lebanesepeople specifically after the victory in 2006, I am referring in this paper toher jaw-dropping performance on April 2013, where she dedicated two of hersongs to the Lebanese movement Hezbollah. JuliaPerformed “Ahibaii” and another released song of her called “A’ba Majdaka” in front of her wide audience. Andwhich was worth noting in this concert the people’s striking reaction duringher singing on stage, where their singing overreached Julia’s pitch so she juststood there proudly watching her people singing her song with intense interestand enthusiasm. This performance which was one of the most controversial liveconcerts Julia ever did, proved how effective and influential she is. Itdemonstrated that most of her lyrics that reflect her political orientation doconvince her people and can change their political thoughts and any badimpression people could have towards any politician or a leader of a party ifit was based on some false rumors.
In addition to that, the large number ofviewers on YouTube on several projects she had achieved so far, and on that performancespecifically just verified her power in what she do and the wide audience thatsupport her and are convinced by her work and the messages she transmit throughher songs. Julia Boutros did not only express her political thoughts andorientation through her songs, but she also made speeches and interviews whereshe expressed her opinion of what is happening in the Arab world and stoodbeside the Arab society and adopted their cause. Because the real artist is theone who expresses the issues of his/her nation and adopts these issues in itsordeal, the committed singer Julia Boutros was present at an event in theAmerican University in Dubai for solidarity with Gaza and its people in theface of Israeli terrorism and the Arab leaders silence and complicity7. In her speech, which waspresented on several TV channels such as the two Lebanese TV channels”AL-JADEED” and OTV, Julia proclaimed her disgust from the Arabicofficial resolution regarding Gaza, where Palestinians are being killed andchildren are getting orphaned due to the war, shelling and destruction in Gazacaused by Israel. She also expressed her reluctance and dissatisfaction due tothe hesitation of the official systems in taking an official decision in termsof standing by the Palestinian army in resisting the assault of the Zionistterrorist groups and attacking the Israeli enemy for devastating Palestine asit is within the Arab region. Boutros also demanded the Arab leaders andpoliticians to end their fights because history does not repeat itself andtheir people will turn on them if they won’t defend Palestinians and protect them,their children and their country from the Israeli enemy. Moreover, sheannounced that she will continue in the resistance line until the last inch ofthe Arab region is liberated and she manifested her loyalty and faith in thePalestinian cause by saying ” By the spirit by the blood we redeemPalestine, by the spirit by the blood we redeem Gaza”.
Julia participating in such an event proved that she is notonly loyal to her country but she also has faith in the Arab cause and that shebelongs to the national Arab identity as she belongs to the Lebanese identitytoo. No doubt that this initiative increased the number of her audience and listeners;she gained the Arab society’s respect and became an idol that any future artistmight look up to. In addition, what Julia Boutros achieved so far shows beyonddoubt that she excelled many artists in being national and an Arab icon thatinspire and move her people. Beside her touching speeches and the meaningfulthoughts she expressed in different ways through social media, TV programs andinterviews, the Lebanese singer Julia Boutros also showed her solidarity withGaza and the Arab causes by her expressive songs, that served humanitarian andrevolutionary issues such as “Ehzar” and “Al- Haq Silahi”(Righteousness is my weapon), which was in honor of Gaza fighters as the songsays ” Righteousness is my weapon and I will resist, I will not give upand about my country I will not comprise”. In this song, Boutros wantedintentionally to show the whole world and the terrorist groups who infringedPalestine how much the Palestinians and Gaza fighters are determined toliberate their country no matter what and how much time and blood it is goingto take them to defeat these terrorist.
And that cannot be achieve in a peacefulway after they faced fire, or in another words Palestinians or Arabs in generalwill not bargain Israel or any terrorist group that help in destroying theircountry after the latter waged a war on Palestine from several years and killedthe innocent people and kids and took their homeland. As well, a Lebanese singer such as JuliaBoutros honoring Palestinians these touching and meaningful songs was as amoral support and the least of what can an Arab artist do in the time wheretheir leaders are busy preserving their own interest in some countries with atotal lack of conscience of what is happening in the Arab world. Thus, theytake the responsibility for not helping the Arab resistance in defeatingterrorism from the Arab region from several years till now. Since she started her career, Julia Boutroswas well-known for being mighty; based on thehigh content she present, and her thoughtful lyrics. Julia Boutros is an icontoday and a blessing in the time where decadent songs get the most views onsocial media and sexual or law content in a lyrics become trendy andcontroversial and it earns its singer who is not even eligible to sing fame andpopularity. Boutros was unlike these people, she dedicated her songs for acause. Julia and her brother, who composes most of her songs, were heavilyinspired by Ziad Rahbani who is a well-known Lebanesecomposer, pianist, playwright, and political commentator in the Arab region specifically. Another significant cause that contributedin increasing the number of Julia’s supporters and fans from different agegroups and nationalities is her being active and participating in each andevery event that serves an issue and concerns the Arab cause in general and theLebanese or Palestinian cause specifically, taking into consideration herbeing half Lebanese and half Palestinianbiologically.
Julia Boutros did not only express her angerand disappointment in participating in the AUD event about the Palestine cause,where she made a speech there asking the Arab dignitaries, leaders and peoplefor a change in the painful situation in Palestine to rescue the Palestiniansand the children in Gaza, she also made several other interviews and speecheswhich affirmed her convictions. On July 28, 2014, the Christian Lebanese star gave anemotional speech concerning the citizens of Gaza, Iraq and Syria. In thatspeech which was displayed on “Al-Mayadeen”8,Boutros slams Israel and ISIS as she said “They are different sides of thesame coin”. By saying that, Julia likened Israel by ISIS since they areboth terrorist groups whoassault Palestine and otherArab countries, and killed the innocent people there, and caused the Arabregion a lot of shelling and destruction. Her speech was displayed as a videoclip that contained pictures and scenes from the war in the Arab countries.
Shewas also present in the video delivering her message in Arabic with Englishsubtitles. Boutros expressed her refusal to the silence of Arabs on theterrorism of Israel on Gaza, as she stated in her speech “This isunacceptable”. She also claimed that “They made up the “ArabSpring” to shift our focus from the central cause; Palestine.” Addingto this she said “The real Arab Spring today is in Gaza” by that shewas calling for action and awakening people to not fall in the ambush the Zionist terrorist groups had made. In her speech, Julia Boutros showedappreciation to every single innocent person in Gaza, as she expressed her respect to themothers, the children, the families and every resistance fighter in Gaza.
Shealso thanked the Lebanese resistance as she said that “By your favor, themyth of the “invincible army” was destroyed”, as she believesthat “the real “invincibles” are the Palestinian people who arefull of life”. Julia went with being a symbol of nationalism to theextreme; she excelled all the Arab artist who sang and supported the Arabcauses in general. Boutros dedicating most of her songs to acause made her a unique artist in the Arab world, although many artists inLebanon and other Arab countries supported the Arab armies, the resistance and thecitizens who were and still are facing Israel or ISIS terrorist groups, thatwas a part of their huge archive that contained beside these projects manyother songs that might not be dedicated to serve a cause or an issue, unlikeJulia Boutros who focused on singing Humanity and civilization as she released many songs belong to thiscategory and reflect her thoughts and beliefs. She also concentrated onchoosing thoughtful and deliberated lyrics, for example all the songs that Ipreviously mentioned they all contain meaningful words. In addition to that,her songs that belong to the category of romance where appropriate andconvenient to her honorable archive; where they were made of sincere andexpressive words and lyrics. In conclusion, The Lebanese singer JuliaBoutros started her career with releasing some French songs and then sheresorted to Arabic pop, which increased her popularity in Lebanon first to become an international artist thenwhich is well-known for singing songs that serve issues and causes and concernher people.
1Writer: Pierre Akiki Article: Lebanon’s Civil War: Separating facts fromfiction (TheNewArab) 2 Writer: Hassan Krayem Article: TheLebanese Civil War and The Taif Agreement (American University of Beirut)3 Writer: Marivel GuzmanArticle: Celebrities forPalestine The voice of resistance: Julia Boutros sings for GazaSite: Akashma Online news 4 Writer: Rehmat (Rehmat’s World)Article: Christian Singer Honors Gaza Resistance published on August 21,2014 5Writer: Marivel Guzman Article: Celebrities for Palestine The voice of resistance: JuliaBoutros sings for GazaSite: Akashma Online news 6 Source: Monitor Mideast Title:Christian Singer Honors Hezbollah in Stunning 2013 ConcertPerformance (published on Sep 8, 2013) 7 Source: Youtube (Bilal Merei’sChannel) Title: ????? ???? “???? ????? ??????”Published on Jan 15, 2009 8 Source: Monitor Mideast (also displayed onYouTube) Title: Christian Singer Appeals: ISIS, Israel Different sides of thesame coin (Published on Jul 29, 2014)