Thursday, March 24, 2011

Kingdom Fiesta 2011: observations

The fiesta was a very eccentric event, peculiar to say the least. It grabs you as you go in an takes you a while to understand the tornado of things it highlights.

To be objective, I will be very succinct and straight to the point in flagging out the pluses and minuses we experienced:

+ an exceptional event that brings around so many different cultures and nationalities in one room and for 3 consecutive days yearly
+ beautiful dancing and diverse expressions on stage
+ an opportunity, very uncommon in a country with hundreds of thousands of migrants, to find so many nationalities, backgrounds and faces gathered together under one roof
+ cute babies running around right and left
+ overall sense of equality between Lebanese and non Lebanese in the room
+ religious diversity and participation from many families from Nabaa was clear in the audience

Now although the event is supposedly a multi-cultural one (maybe the one and only), a religious one, a true-to-the-heart, there was some sort of fake respect and equality feeling swarming around

- Every group of people from the same nationality were sitting alone not mixing with others
- The first row included only Lebanese people, the Filipino ambassador and American fully-suited men
- The whole 3-day event was moderated in Arabic, for reasons no one still understands. 80% of the audience, who supposedly this event was for, were not understanding anything for 3 hours for 3 days consecutively besides the Hallelujah terms and the dancing scenes. Aside from that, they had to clap every time someone clapped, laugh every time they thought a joke was said, etc... They were so out of the loop and the usage of Arabic rather than at least English, a language definitely more than 50% understood, was not the best decision to make.
- The religious aspect was a bit too profound. The kind of discourse of "come and we will heal you" from American/ Lebanese to migrants was too out there and suffocatingly clear.
- Racist comments were not spared in that event. From Lebanese sitting between the migrants or from the moderators of the event
- Most shocking and avid comment was the women going up on stage between the group from Ghana and the group from Ethiopia and actually saying out loud on microphone in front of the thousand+ audience: " I just saw a woman whose color is white on stage with the Ghana group. She is Lebanese of course right? Oh ok great, let us all clap for the Lebanese woman who was dancing with the Ghanian group to support them..." And then she totally dismissed all the Ghanians who were actually on stage doing their performance. The white Lebanese woman stood out in comparison with them.

Of course, everyone clapped because no one understood what she said.

Sad, very sad.

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