GNA’S Culture Minister Threatens to Prosecute Asala Over a “Song” that Shows El-Sisi’s Photo – Al Marsad

The General Authority for Culture of the Government of National Accord (GNA), led by Hasan Aounis, condemned the linking of the image of the late Sheikh Omar al-Mukhtar with that of the Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi by the Syrian artist Asala Nasri in her recent music video.

(Libya, 6 July 2020) – In a statement stamped with the seal of the head of the General Authority for Culture of the GNA, Hasan Aounis, who previously led an armed militia group, said: “We condemn the way Asala linked the image of Sheikh Omar al-Mukhtar and that of the head of the Egyptian regime, Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi, on her social media account. Nasri’s action is an insult to all Libyans and all honorable members of the Arab nation.”

The General Authority for Culture of the Government of National Accord (GNA)’s statement on Asala Nasri’s song.

Hasan Aounis who visited Cairo repeatedly and participated in conferences, seminars, and exhibitions during the era of President El-Sisi, added: “None can compare the figure of the Mujahid Omar al-Mukhtar to the war criminal (Abdel Fattah el-Sisi) who has been killing his people, seized power by force, supported the wanted Khalifa Haftar in every way, and even participated in killing the Libyans by bombing several cities with warplanes,” as he put it.

The GNA’s General Authority of Culture announced that it would not tolerate what the Syrian artist Asala did and would file a formal complaint against her before the local and international courts, and the Artists’ Syndicate. The Authority’s statement followed a report on Al-Jazeera Channel on the song in which the Qatari channel claimed that the song “angered” Arab followers.

Al-Jazeera’s report on Asala’s song.

Leading Egyptian journalist Mounir Abdullah reacted to the comments made by the GNA’s Minister of Culture Hasan Aounis. He said “this person, who has not contributed in any way to cultural enrichment in Libya or abroad, may not have thought that the response of Asala’s lawyers to any such case will be that the plaintiff has no ‘capacity’, the same reason the Libyan courts have ruled against his defective government stating its “usurping the authority” and not endorsed by the legislative authority as per the political agreement.”

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Aounis was referring to the song “Love and Peace” that the famous Syrian Asala premiered this week. Her song was on the theme of hope and positivity, and presented influential and foreign Arab symbols that have affected human life, such as Mahatma Gandhi, Bill Gates, owner of Microsoft Company, Nobel-laureate writer Naguib Mahfouz, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, founder of the United Arab Emirates, and King Abdulaziz Al Saud, founder of modern Saudi Arabia, the Lebanese singer Fairouz, and others.

In the segment of the song where Asala sings on jihad, the song’s background gallery of pictures showed Sheikh Omar al-Mukhtar followed by the Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. It is noteworthy that many pictures in the song appeared consecutively in the same way. The song showed the photos of Bill Gates and Gandhi together despite the difference in their fields and periods.

The song also showed pictures of other influential figures, both living and dead, including the Egyptian scientist Ahmed Zewail, singer Abdul-Halim Hafez, Umm Kulthoum, President Anwar Sadat, actors Adel Imam and Saeed Saleh, musician Mohamed Abdel-Wahhab, and Egyptian space scientist Farouk al-Baz, who recently NASA named a planet after him in recognition of his scientific contributions.

One commentator, critical of Aounis’s condemnation remarked the had Asala put the image of al-Mukhtar with Erdogan, Hasan al-Banna, or even Kamal Ataturk instead of placing it with founding Arab scholars, leaders, and prominent figures—the Tripoli authorities would have no doubt felt satisfied with her song. 

© Al Marsad English (2020)