03/07/2018, 09.23
SAUDI ARABIA
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Modernity Saudi style: yes to concerts, but no to swaying or dancing

The provisions printed on tickets for the performance of the Egyptian singer Tamer Hosny spark criticism and indignation. A Saudi on twitter: "It's like putting ice under the sun and asking it not to melt." Every year citizens spend billions of dollars, especially abroad, in the entertainment industry.

Riyadh (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The provision laid down by the Saudi authorities on the tickets for the Egyptian pop star Tamer Hosny, which reads "No dancing or swaying" has sparked a wave of derision and criticism on social media. Spectators attending the concert scheduled for March 30th in Jeddah, in the west of the country, will be able to listen to live music [a recent novelty] but only in absolute silence and if they remain motionlessness.

Thousands of fans took to social media to express their surprise, after buying the tickets for the show. This is a world premiere of Tamer Hosny, a star in the region, in the Sunni wahhabite ultraconservative kingdom that only recently opened up to music, cinema and live shows.

Concert goers can therefore listen to music, but there is an "absolute prohibition" on any form of dance. So much so that one of the Internet users wrote on twitter: "Ladies and gentlemen, please fasten your seat belts,” another added, "the corridors and seats will be equipped with sway detectors. Anyone who thinks about swaying will be kicked out". Another tweeted: "No dancing or swaying in a concert! It's like putting ice under the sun and asking it not to melt."

Authorities have so far made no comment on the matter.

In the ultraconservative Sunni wahhabite kingdom there is a clear division between the sexes and sharia, the Islamic law, is applied rigorously. In recent months, the government has launched a reform and development plan called "Saudi Arabia Vision 2030", with ambitious projects not only in the economic and energy fields, but also social and cultural spheres, instigated by the crown prince and strongman of the country, Mohammed bin Salman.

One of the objectives is precisely to develop the tourism and entertainment industries, without however going against the strict observance of Islamic customs and tradition. In recent months, a series of concerts have been held, including one by the Lebanese artist Hiba Tawaji and the Greek composer Yanni. And more and more often it is possible to see men and women participate in "live" events, a scene that was unthinkable until recently.

To date, Saudi citizens, especially the young, spend billions of dollars to attend films, shows or visit amusement parks in the tourist centres of the region, such as Dubai. (DS)

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