Young Lebanese, Arab artists dream of freedom in unique talent show

30 June, 2022
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Young Lebanese, Arab artists dream of freedom in unique talent show

Young musicians, dancers, actors and comedians from across the Arab world took to the stage in Tunisia to express their visions of freedom, more than a decade after the Arab Spring uprisings.

The show, performed under the stars at a seaside theatre in the resort of Hammamet and broadcast across the region, featured winners of an online video competition to complete the phrase: "I will only be free when..."

It was the latest in a string of talent and debate programs organized by media action group Munathara ("debate"), which aims "to spark much-needed conversations about rights, freedoms and social change in the Arab world", according to founder Belabbas Benkredda.

"Public debates even about fundamental rights can be very polarizing, especially on social media," the 43-year-old Algerian-German said.

Munathara was born in 2012, the year after the Arab Spring revolts, kicked off by the ouster of Tunisian dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, which had sparked high hopes for democracy in a region with an overwhelmingly young population.

But ironically, as Munathara marked its 10th anniversary with the show in Hammamet on Saturday, it was overshadowed by President Kais Saied consolidating a power-grab that has sparked fears for Tunisia's democratic gains.

Other countries in the region have seen the rise of even more repressive systems than before, while others have witnessed devastating civil wars.


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