Lebanese oud player canceled because no Israeli on stage

Hat tip to Yaman Salahi for this.

Pitchfork media is reporting that United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization “Artist for Peace” oud player Marcel Khalifé can play at the Kennedy Center , the Skirball Center and Boston’s Berklee College, but he won’t be playing at San Diego’s Joan B. Kroc Theatre at the Salvation Army’s Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center.

The center said that they’d need an Israeli to play on the same stage. Is it because Khalife is known for putting the poetry of Palestinian Mahmoud Darwish to music?

Pitchfork media wrote… the Center

forced Khalifé to look elsewhere for a place to play in the area. It’s not so much that the Kroc Theatre folks don’t like the cut of Khalifé’s jib: rather, they feel the show would be “divisive” and “unbalanced” without an Israeli performer taking the stage the same night, according to a press release issued by Khalifé’s camp.

How striking that the Salvation Army folks have taken the side of Islamic fundamentalists.

Three times (1996, 1999 and 2003), he faced criminal prosecution for his song I am Joseph, O Father, written by the Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish. Khalife was accused of insulting religious values by including a two-line verse from a chapter of the Qur’an.

To be fair, Khalifé was banished from Tunisia for saying terrible things like this:

“Freedom, democracy and bread are the things we lack in our region”

Pitchfork goes on:

It’s tough to tell if this is political correctness run amok (soon to come at the Kroc: all Swiss music, all the time!) or– Khalifé being Arab and this being a Christian-run venue in George Bush’s America– something potentially more sinister. A quick glance at the Kroc Center’s schedule of events finds several Christmas events on the docket with nary a Jewish/Islamic/Buddhist/snakehandling/what-have-you alternative offered. Long live hypocrisy.

Kudos to the Birch North Park Theater for stepping in and giving Khalifé a gig in San Diego. The full tour roster is available after the jump.

Marcel Khalifé:

09-28 Montreal, Quebec – The Metropolis
09-30 Toronto, Ontario – Toronto Centre for the Arts
10-02 Ottawa, Ontario – Centrepoint Theatre
10-04 Calgary, Alberta – MacEwan Hall
10-05 Edmonton, Alberta – Citadel
10-06 Vancouver, British Columbia – Centennial Theatre
10-07 Seattle, WA – Town Hall
10-10 San Francisco, CA – Herbst Theatre
10-13 Los Angeles, CA – Wilshire Ebell Theatre
10-14 San Diego, CA – Birch North Park Theater
10-18 Denver, CO – The Oriental Theater
10-19 Minneapolis, MN – The Cedar Cultural Center
10-20 Austin, TX – Hogg Memorial Auditorium
10-26 Houston, TX – Stafford Centre
10-28 Portland, OR – Aladdin Theater
10-30 Albuquerque, NM – KiMo Theater
11-01 Washington, DC – John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
11-02 Washington, DC – John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
11-04 Atlanta, GA – Ferst Center for the Arts
11-09 Ann Arbor, MI – Michigan Theater
11-10 Dearborn, MI – Ford Community & Performing Arts Center
11-11 Westlake, OH – Westlake City Schools Performing Arts Center
11-16 Boston, MA – Berklee Performance Hall
11-18 New York, NY – NYU Skirball Center

Link-arrowMP3: Marcel Khalife: Taqasim, Part One (clip) [from the Taqasim LP]

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