11:02 am - 07/14/2019

Love Yourself: Speak Yourself Tour coming to Saudi Arabia



source: BigHitEnt

well, that was a surprise
sciencebottle 14th-Jul-2019 02:33 pm (UTC)
You bring up good points (especially on the awful shit that the US has done- I'm a Canadian citizen and Canada is no better) but that still doesn't change the fact that there are very very clear differences in organization of government. It's not a contest over which country is the worst- it still doesn't negate the fact that BH are organizing a concert for their breadwinner group in a country that has been rebuked by the very same inter-governmental organization that they are ambassadors for. They are not exempt from the same criticism that has been thrown at Nicki Minaj, Mariah Carey, Nelly, and so on.

Obviously there are large racial issues at play in the demonization of Middle Eastern countries- but there is still something to be discussed here. Other comments have also brought up very real issues in regards to playing concerts in other countries rife with human rights issues (eg. China).
nekobot 14th-Jul-2019 03:25 pm (UTC)
I totally agree that there are double standards when it comes to this sort of thing so not trying to argue against the first comment in this thread but two things that set SA apart in my opinion are

1 - the fact that these atrocities are literally mandated by an official law. As much as any of our countries are shitholes when it comes to human rights, and that the law is often not enough to protect us, you can't make someone's life a living hell quite as easily as you can in SA because there are still groups of people that have the freedom to protect and stand up for you. If you look at violence against women for example the situation in the Western world is unacceptable. In SA however, it's not only socially acceptable, but LEGALLY encouraged. It's on a whole other level.

2 - this is something I can't vouch for because I've never been to Saudia Arabia and don't know anyone from there, but I do have Arab friends who are liberal and quite middle class who know more about this and from what I hear there are circumstances that need to be present for girls that would like to go to a concert like this, and they are extremely specific and class related. Men still call the shots in such a way that finally having the liberty to drive to an event and access the venue does not mean that on a personal/social level fans will have the funds or resources to actually make it happen in a safe way the way an American fan might be able to just save up in advance, book a hotel and travel there without having to worry too much about their safety. I can't really delve deeper in the connection between the social and financial status and political preference so I could be totally wrong about this but in a country that operates the way SA does and from what I know about being middle/higher class in the Middle East I would think it's highly likely that the fans with the means to go to this concert are exactly the types of fans that are able to comfortably live within this regime and are much less likely to be critical of (or they might even endorse) it, whereas in Europe or America having the means to attend a BTS concert is not exactly an argument for being the type of person that is okay with the atrocities committed by their government. I find it hard to put this into words so I hope I explained this well - like if this show was taking place in Morocco which also has a corrupt government I would feel like it was a different story and indeed a great gesture towards their Arab fans.
nekobot 14th-Jul-2019 03:28 pm (UTC)
Oh and want to add: it's great when artists to use their power to boycott certain places and events, but I will take into account how realistic and easy it is for them to do so. America has so much to answer for but it's a very important part of the general (pop) cultural consciousness so I can imagine any K-pop group would have a very hard time expanding their career in a natural way while still boycotting it. Doesn't make it right, but puts it on a whole different level. They have nothing to lose but money by boycotting SA.
sciencebottle 14th-Jul-2019 03:48 pm (UTC)
Thank you for your points! Super well explained, way better than I could have.

Edited at 2019-07-14 03:48 pm (UTC)
garnetstar38 14th-Jul-2019 03:49 pm (UTC)
Yeah there are for sure issues and I’m not going to pretend I have the answers. I follow a few Saudi fans on twitter and a Lebanese fan base so I’ve asked them a few questions to see if they will need a guardian or if they think they can go. I think there was another concert in an Asian Muslim country where there were some restrictions but I’d have to look them up. I really don’t feel comfortable with the assumptions you made about class and the people with the means to live comfortably in the SA regime. That is true for some many countries in the world. Even developed nations. Even if they would have a concert in Bahrain or Dubai they all have issues. Like using cheap labor of sea immigrants for basically slave labor to build their modern city & raise the next generation of Arab children. The hypocrisy & outrage is easier & so black & white when it comes to Arabs & Muslims. The propaganda that they are only terrorists & their people are undeserving of lives because they are under dictatorships. SA has a monarchy that has been propped up & empowered by the US over decades so they have a partner in the region that will suppress and use violence on its people so that the US has cheap oil. We in the us pay taxes to enable that. I have cheap gas in my car so I can go see a Kpop concert 3 hours away because of that. So yeah the hypocrisy is real
nekobot 14th-Jul-2019 04:14 pm (UTC)
No I'm definitely not claiming my idea of class etc being the absolute truth, it's just based on info I've gotten from my Arab friends who are also in a comfortable social class and their experiences with their peers from different countries in North Africa and the Middle East - I'd quite like to hear from other Arab/Muslim users if they have the same experiences because they're obviously not my own.

There are two aspects to MENA countries that I think set them apart, one being that they are considered a monolith when the term "Arab" alone covers way too much ground to use it to refer to such a huge amount of people (let alone the conflation of Arab and Muslim) with different cultures, beliefs, governments etc and second of all the inability of lots of people to realise that they're a powerful majority in their own country and can be just as horrible to minorities as white people are (this also applies to a country like Korea btw!), so the idea of social justice and things that are just right that we and Arab people living in Europe/the US have might not be as "expected" in countries where they are an ethnic majority. You have Arab people being murdered by drones existing alongside Arab people that get away with killing their maids, the latter experience 0 suffering from Western people looking down on them and the only thing separating the two is social and financial currency. There is so much cruel behaviour towards minorities within these countries that we wouldn't even consider minorities (colourism too), so there's a weird shooting themselves in the foot aspect to it where America is making these people suffer but then at the same time they're segregating and enabling themselves as well. Lots of these countries are patriarchy utopias and (honestly, seeing this in K-pop fans all over the world sometimes, it wouldn't just be SA fans) it can be quite shocking to see other women that you think would be on the same page happily being active participants and enablers. But yes, this does NOT mean that all people living in these countries are responsible for the government's actions! It just means that they are unable to live their lives without somehow enabling them. I don't have the solution for this of course, but I do think that's why a lot of people see their crimes as more severe. Then again lots of people don't like to be held responsible for what happens in their own backyard either and deflecting is easy.

I 100% agree with you that Bahrain or Dubai would be just as horrible, and the comment you made elsewhere about Russia too, because they also have that level of oppression mandated by law that I was talking about. I think the groups playing there should be roasted for it, it's just that BTS are the most popular and have very inconveniently been made ambassadors against this sort of thing.
garnetstar38 14th-Jul-2019 04:44 pm (UTC)
You made a lot of amazing points especially about Muslims not equating Arab visa verse. My mom is from Lebanon & her family was Druze which is a not well known religion. But her father married a women from Brazil which was not the thing so he was disinherited. Anyway long story I do know they are not monolithic as a culture and ways of speaking language are not the same. And yes when a culture is homogeneous it does keep people from seeing the abuse of minorities. My problem is people thinking there is any moral authority to be had. I’m basically a white person living in the US enjoying my life attending concerts without a twinge of remorse about the products I use, the car I drive, the gas I use, the taxes I pay. No problem that my life in any way supports genocide, famine, destabilization, wars. That I could be doing more, saying more about the inequality in my own country & others. But this Kpop concert? Well I must speak out. I must be outraged? BTS is a Kpop band. Yes, they helped raise funds for Unicef (regardless of how much of it actually reaches those in need) They spoke at the UN about speaking your truth regardless of circumstance so I guess this concert alone doesn’t align with their stated beliefs? Not the US, UK Japanese & Korean concerts? All these countries with their hands in inequality, oppression, war, torture? They can have concerts but this country can’t?
nekokonneko 14th-Jul-2019 05:21 pm (UTC)
yeah, the sticking point for me is this idea that some countries (mostly white and western) can have their atrocities, past and ongoing, overlooked when it comes to hosting a concert but others can't?
nekobot 14th-Jul-2019 05:22 pm (UTC)
It should definitely be brought up! None of our countries are innocent and we need to be critical of ourselves and see if we're enabling suffering by being complacent or supporting the wrong people or things. I guess it's also a difference in scale seeing how artists that play in the Middle East are often big names that are already making a shitton of money, and therefor (rightly so) will be on a bigger platform for criticism as it looks like they're just entirely powered by greed. You can argue that people shouldn't tour the US either (and it would make a great statement if people boycotted) but that would mean indie singers and the likes would have zero chance of ever getting their music out there because it's unavoidable to tour Europe/the US, but Saudi Arabia? It's all money, no one -needs- to perform there. The stakes in the argument are just that much lower. I guess it's kind of seen as the difference between performing at a small venue in a remote town vs playing at the White House - one is seen as just work, the other is A Statement (hence what I said before about feeling different if they were performing in North Africa instead), even though both would take place in a giant human rights violation.

Maybe there is a lot of hypocrisy when we talk about this sort of thing but honestly, the potential of oblivious fans seeing this and opting to like...not to go holidaying in Dubai in the future because it educated them makes it worth people saying something about it still. I think the amount of different beliefs, people and cultures in the Arab world is fascinating and I hope that by having these conversations people learn more about the actual humans living in it as opposed to the governments trying to bury their existence and claiming minority status to deflect from their own wrongdoings.

lil_poisonfrog 14th-Jul-2019 05:50 pm (UTC)
Tbh ia with you all over this post. If countries like SA and Israel are worse on a human rights level than the US, it's by the smallest of degrees. In addition to all the atrocities you mentioned, our gov't sits by and does nothing while we're terrorized by white supremacist incel nutjobs killing us in mass shootings. That behavior isn't codified in the law but it might as fucking well be!!!

It's funny bc ppl who support boycotting think they're being super woke but at the end of the day, you have to buy into jingoistic thinking for the argument to work. Now I think artists who play private shows for dictators and shit should be vilified, but idg why the average civilians of those countries deserve pop concerts less than any of the rest of us.

Does celebs protesting even have any potential to change gov't policy? I've never heard of jack shit changing in those places bc Lana Del Ray wouldn't do a show there lmao


Edited at 2019-07-14 09:01 pm (UTC)
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