Eurovision 2005
Photo: Channel 1
Israel's choice - Shiri Maimon
Photo: Channel 1

'World needs to help Lebanon'

Well-known Lebanese musician and composer speaks to Ynet in exclusive interview; wants Lebanese culture exposed to help change country's image

Help us show the world our other side - people want peace, quiet and culture, well-known Lebanese musician and composer Elias Rahbani told Ynet in an exclusive interview Sunday.


Rahbani is the father of Jad Rahbani, who composed and wrote the song "Quand Tout S'enfuit (When Everything Fades), chosen to represent Lebanon in the 2005 Eurovision song contest. 


The song was supposed to be the first Lebanes song ever to take part in the show, but Lebanese Télé-Liban television station aired an

announcement last week stating that Lebanon had decided to withdraw from the contest in order to avoid airing the Israeli song on local television.


Rahbani said he is disappointed at the decision to withdraw from the contest.


"It's bad luck; the whole story, and of course the withdrawal, is connected to the current situation in Lebanon," he said.


The reason Lebanon canceled its participation in the contest was the local broadcasting station's fear radical Islamic groups may blow the station up should it air the contest, Rahbani said.


"I find it strange, as it's not the first time we are participating in an international contest along side Israel," he said. "But this year you can feel the fear."


'Ground burning beneath our feet'


It has been reported by the news agencies that the withdrawal from the competition is due to a Lebanese law prohibiting the media to air any content that focuses attention on Israel.


Rahbani said he does not understand why people are making such a big deal about Lebanon's latest decision.


He said last September representatives participated in a cultural festival in Turkey that was sponsored by the Fidof organization, which merges international festivals.


About 15 countries participated in the festival, and his son won a prize alongside Israeli musicians, Rahbani said.


"What's the problem? I understand this year the situation is a little sensitive because the ground is burning beneath our feet, "he said. " I remind you that until recently it was not like this."


'We need to help Lebanon'


Rahbani said he believes the Lebanese song chosen for the contest should be heard on the night of the competition.


"Due to the problems, I'd like to believe it would be possible to hear it as a guest song, if not as a contender," he said. "We need to help Lebanon. It's is a cultured country, as it gave the world the first alphabet and the rule of geometry."


According to Rahbani, the European Broadcasting Union's contest coordinator Svante Stockselius told  news agencies sources he had requested that Lebanese singer Aline Lahoud perform the song at the show as an artist and not as a participant in the contest.


However, her request was denied.


Over the past years, Rahbani said he has listened to the news on all of the all satellite stations.


"People always speak about Lebanon in a negative context, the time has come to help us," he said. "Let us play the song; I'm convinced exposure to our culture will help." 


פרסום ראשון: 03.21.05, 20:53
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