Sisis Egyptian Media Boycott  Moroccan Artist Nouamane Lahlou

Casablanca — Egyptian authorities were offended when Nouamane Lahlou cancelled his trip to Egypt after the country had welcomed the Polisario to an October conference reuniting African and Arab parliaments.According to Egyptian news site El Fagr, head of international cultural relations Medhat Kamal Meligy wrote a letter to the Egyptian Federation of Radio and Television telling them to “cut off all ties with the artist Nouamane Lahlou, who is campaigning against Egypt.” The letter furthermore expressed disappointment around the fact that Lahlou, who had received a courtesy visa from the Egyptian Embassy, had spoken ill of Egypt on social media.  The situation is, however, more nuanced than Egyptian media would make it seem. In a live AlJazeera Mubasher video streamed on Facebook on October 22, Lahlou expressed his sincere appreciation for the Egyptian people, but said he did not feel comfortable performing in a country that supported the Polisario.“I call on all Moroccan artists to speak out in order to display the gravity of the issue,” said Lahlou, making sure to add that “the Egyptian people are, regardless, certainly a beloved people.”Egyptian authorities, however, appeared to interpret the singer’s stance as an attack on the whole nation, as reported by today’s Al Fagr coverage of the incident. In response, Lahlou released a statement on Friday, November 25 via his Facebook page, stating that he “does not know why our Egyptian brothers think that whomever doesn’t sing in Egypt loses the spotlight.”“Regarding the Egyptian media’s boycott, I refused to enter the country since it did not determine its stance towards the Moroccan Sahara,” said Lahlou, adding that “it seems as though everyone who argues with Egypt is accused of attacking the whole country. This is not what happened, and if it did, I challenge you to prove it.”“All I did is stand by my country’s territorial issue as Egypt’s House of Representatives received a delegation of the Polisario Separatist Front,” Lahlou concluded.

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