I think Mashrou3 Leila have just gotten the honor of becoming the region’s first artistic suicide bombers. They have successfully, and spectacularly, killed off their own career for a dubious cause.
Much like real suicide bombers, they will be cheered on by mobs who didn’t have anything to lose, mobs who were very happy to see someone else die for their cause (and who will doubtless find all sorts of excuses when they themselves are asked to die for the same cause). Much like real suicide bombers, their loved ones will cry and suffer as the “comrades” in the cause bestow on them worthless posthumous honorifics in their worthless rags and worthless podiums.
I have no doubts that Mashrou3 Leila have killed their career. They have botched their big break to get out of their “indie” cocoon. All good bands start as “indie”, but in the end, the good ones get a larger, real audience. The world’s best bands started as indie bands, but only the losers and talentless stayed indie all their lives. Mashrou3 Leila will now never upgrade, because no sane famous band will ever sign them on to open for them. Who in their right mind will sign off a fickle band that will bail at the last minute like Leila did?
And the worst part? They may not be true believers in the cause. They may have done this simply because many of their fans have aggressively asked them on Facebook to die for them. Meanwhile, thousands of Lebanese will still attend Red Hot Chili Pepper’s concert, and Israel won’t feel a thing.
You know what’s the only thing worse than a suicide bomber? It’s a dumb suicide bomber who dies for nothing.
The problem with much of the criticism I got on twitter and in the comments is that it assumes that Mashrou’ Leila took a principled stand for a cause they believed in. As things stand today, there is no evidence that this is the case.
We never got a “We are happy to announce that we will boycott RHCP’s concert because we don’t support their trip to Israel, and we wholeheartedly condemn the crimes of the apartheid regime” from the band. All we got was a small statement that sounds like the kind of stuff people with a gun to their head (metaphorical) would write.
They might as well have written: “Fine, here’s your fucking boycott”.
I don’t buy for a second the “legal reasons” explanation of why they made such a terse statement. Unless they state otherwise, many of us will remain convinced that these people were beaten into submission. That is a stain, not a badge of honor on the chests of the boycott movement.
Tens of thousands of Lebanese will be enjoying Red Hot Chilli pepper tonight. The biggest losers in this episode were Mashrou3 Leila.