Sepultura Show in Lebanon Canceled Over Concern of “Devil Worshippers” and Support for Israel
Sepultura are the latest band to fall under the banhammer of governments concerned about the lyrical nature of metal music, with their April 28th show in Beirut, Lebanon having come under fire by the country’s officials, eventually resulting in its cancelation.
Albawaba reports that Lebanon’s General Security Forces banned the Brazilian band from entering the country and refused to process their visas. On Sunday, April 21st, the concert’s organizers, Skull Session, issued a lengthy statement explaining the cancelation, noting the government told them they had concerns over the band’s alleged insults towards Christianity and past support of Israel, among other issues:
“We were going to host a concert for the International Brazilian Metal Band Sepultura on the 28th of April at The Palace – Aresco Center, Beirut. After duly applying for artist entry visas for the band, we were informed that band members had been banned from entering Lebanon. The concert organizers were not even allowed to view the decision. However, after enquiring before the artists’ division, we were told that the issue is delicate as it relates to insulting Christianity, that the band members are devil worshipers, that they held a concert in Israel, that they filmed a video clip supporting Israel, and that the decision was issued by the head of the General Security Forces.
“We would like to clarify that these accusations are totally untrue. The band did not play in Israel. The aforementioned video clip mentions Israel’s racism without naming it. The same video clip, which was launched in 1993, contains scenes of Israeli repression, and members of the band are shown drinking tea with Arab clans.
“As for insulting religion, current members of Sepultura fight against all forms of corruption, and call on the world to return to goodness and nature and to reject corruption. Since it’s the nature of metal music, the band uses a violent style of expression. But they did not directly attack Christianity. in fact, the band’s vocalist has shared on his personal Instagram account photos of St. George’s Cathedral in Lviv – Ukraine a few days ago. It should be noted that the icon of Saint Charbel appears in the photo.
“We would like to point out that the band is socially active as it tries to shed light on corruption in societies without adopting any ideology or being inclined towards any thought. On the contrary, through their lyrics, they ask people to return to God and to reject an abnormal automated society, not to worship Satan as interpreted by some.
“Finally, we would like to point out that it is a shame to see such censorship in Lebanon, a country that claims to be the only democracy in the Arab world, where freedom of thought and belief is safeguarded impartially, while countries that are more religiously stringent, such as Turkey and the United Arab Emirates, host this band that was banned from entering Lebanon(Dubai is hosting them for the second time).
“Sepultura has held a concert in Dubai in 2017, and will be having a second concert at the Hard Rock Café in Dubai on May 2, and a concert in Turkey on April 30th.”
Unsurprisingly, Lebanese metal fans are very disappointed about the cancelation and have taken to social networks to criticize their government for allegedly espousing “free speech” while banning metal bands from entering the country.
Albawaba notes that “Lebanese laws put any person who previously had traveled to Israel or have Israeli Visa on his passport in danger of being arrested.”