What do Justin Bieber and Morten Breum have in common?
Both make a living from making music, and both are due to perform in Saudi Arabia next month. For Bieber, it happens at the country’s Formula 1 event, while Breum is on the poster for the Soundstorm festival, which has close links to the Saudi regime.
Several have called on Justin Bieber to drop his concert, as the Formula 1 race is considered part of Saudi Arabia’s attempt to – through sports and entertainment – give itself a better reputation and remove the focus from their human rights violations.
But the Soundstorm festival has to that extent also soaked into the Saudi government and royal family.
On social media, there are several who criticize the DJs who have agreed to perform at the festival. Big names like David Guetta, Steve Aoki, Tiësto and Danish Morten Breum.
And there are several good reasons for that.
The organization that organizes the festival is called The General Entertainment Authority. This was founded by the royal family in 2016 to promote Saudi Arabia’s entertainment industry and reputation.
The board includes Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Trade and Media, and the chairman of the board is Turki al-Sheikh, who is also an adviser to the court.[display-posts orderby="rand"]
That the royal house is very close to some of the crimes committed against the people became clear in 2018, when the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was critical of the regime, was killed and parted after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
Something that the Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, approved according to the CIA.
State-led killings of system critics are just one of the many crimes committed against humanity in Saudi Arabia.
This is clear from Amnesty’s international report on human rights from 2020/2021, which mentions, among other things:
- Intensifying the repression of freedom of expression, freedom of association and freedom of assembly.
- Virtually all known Saudi human rights defenders who were in the country were detained or imprisoned at the end of the year.
- Homosexuality is illegal.
- Courts continue to sentence and execute the death penalty for a wide range of crimes.
- Discriminatory laws against women and girls.
Back in October, Human Rights Watch aired harsh criticism of those attending entertainment events hosted by the Saudi government.
“Saudi citizens and residents must be allowed to enjoy first-class entertainment and sporting events, but they must also be allowed to enjoy basic human rights such as freedom of expression and peaceful assembly,” said Michael Page, the organization’s head of the Middle East.
“So when A-names from Hollywood, international athletes and other global celebrities receive government money to perform in Saudi Arabia, while keeping quiet about the government’s many human rights violations, they are helping to boost the kingdom’s attempt to launder Crown Prince Mohammad. bin Salman’s assault. “
BT has contacted Morten Breum to hear what thoughts he has had about having to perform at the festival, but so far in vain.
Fierce criticism on social media
Although many fans of electronic music are looking forward to the festival, there are also those who believe that the artists have made a completely wrong choice by playing on Soundstorm.
Several have gone to the keys on Twitter.
- It’s not ok to kill journalists, and it’s not ok to accept money from those who kill journalists so they can appear less evil. There are 200+ unethical assholes in this lineup if they really choose to play.
- DJs, I love and admire, play in a country that beheads people because it’s criminal to be gay.
- It’s a parody on so many levels. Also with Khashoggi – but there are probably none of them that go up in either.
- I’m so disappointed to see you have to play for Soundstorm in Riyadh. I really thought you were a good guy who would not touch anything that is controlled by them, writes a user to DJ Carl Cox.
- I’m very disappointed and sad to see your name on the poster for Soundstorm. I can not believe that you will attend an event with such a disgusting background, writes a user to the DJ Amelie Lens.