When Mashrou' Leila, a Lebanese band whose lead singer is openly gay, performed in Cairo on September 22 several members of the audience waved rainbow flags. Religious leaders, politicians and sections of the Egyptian media were horrified and demanded swift government action. The authorities responded by rounding up people suspected of being gay and ordering local media not to show any sympathy for LGBT rights. According to latest reports 32 men and one woman have so far been arrested.
Yesterday Mashrou' Leila issued the following statement via its Facebook page:
Over the course of the last 10 days, we had opted to remain relatively silent on the situation in Egypt, after consulting with various Egyptian activists, and human rights organizations, for fear that a statement from us would risk further inflaming the situation, and the brutal trespasses on concert goers, activists, and the LGBTQ+ community. It has however become rather apparent in the last 48 hours that the state apparatus is hell-bent on executing the most atrocious of human rights violations.
For those of you who have not been following up on the events going on in Egypt, please scroll down.
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We cannot begin to explain how saddened we are to see yet another era of backwards tyranny creep over one of our most beloved countries and audiences.
This crackdown is by no means separable from the suffocating atmosphere of fear and abuse experienced by all Egyptians on a daily basis, regardless of their sexual orientations.
We denounce the demonization and prosecution of victimless acts between consenting adults.
It is sickening to think that all this hysteria has been generated over a couple of kids raising a piece of cloth that stands for love. Read more via Al-bab