Julia Boutros, a Lebanese pop music star, has just released Ahibaii ("My loved ones"). Here's how her website describes it. "This new single is not just a song. It is a whole project which aims at helping the families of all Lebanese martyrs who perished during the latest Israeli attacks on Lebanon." The song is based on a letter sent by Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah to fighters in South Lebanon during the war, and proceeds will go to charity. Al-Jazeera, not usually known for its music videos, aired this one (I linked a few weeks ago to her appearance on Ghassan bin Jidu's Open Dialogue program, where they discussed the role of artists in politics).
Julia Boutros can't fairly be called a "pop tart". For one, her stardom predates the music video era (and she is frighteningly close to my own age). Unlike Nancy Ajram (about whose war video I wrote last month), Boutros has always been political, with one of her greatest hits a 1985 tribute to the human victims of the Lebanese civil war Ghabet Shams Al Haq and another the 1987 Wayn al-Milayin (Where are the millions? i.e. Where are the Arabs?) in support of the Palestinian intifada. (Here's a clip of her interviewed on an al-Jazeera's "Sawt al-Nas" segment during the Israel-Lebanon war). She has vocally supported Hezbollah and the "Resistance" (as she did during the 1990s), despite being a Christian herself (born to Palestinian parents, I believe) - making her a living embodiment of how "Resistance" could transcend confessionalism.
This video is interesting in its own right. What I find even more interesting is the whole phenomenon of Lebanon-centric political music videos. The vast majority of political music videos that I remember focused on Palestine - during the second Intifada, there was an outpouring of these pro-Palestinian videos, heavy on images of suffering children and children throwing rocks and the Dome of the Rock. It only makes sense that we would now see a wave of Lebanon-themed videos, given the salience of this summer's war and the plethora of Lebanese pop tarts. Are there others in rotation besides Nancy's and Julia's that I've missed? Have these videos become politically charged inside of Lebanon?
Consider this an open invitation to any academics who follow Lebanese music videos to pitch a Qahwa Sada piece exploring that question... or anyone else just to toss in some thoughts in comments below.