Lebanese Rock Censorship | Banned
May 27th 2010 Patrick Saad Miscellaneous

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The first part of this series of articles revolving around our beloved country’s ongoing prejudice against Metal music and its defenders criticized the official announcement by the General Secretariat of Catholic Schools, which unwittingly attacked a major metal international concert in Beirut with headliners Anathema among others (check that first part here).

In this part, I’ll mention another censorship method: banning a significant number of international Metal artists’ releases from the Lebanese stores (Virgin Megastores per example). I’ll also talk about something I personally experienced while trying to import Metal CD’s into the country.

First, you should know that Bilocate‘s (Jordan) “Sudden Death Syndrome” album has been “banned” in Lebanon (while it’s being sold in MANY countries in the Middle East / Europe / US!). After some internet surfing, I found out that “extreme” metal releases weren’t the only ones to be legally banned from our country: everything that had an underground feel or bizarre ambient to it was blacklisted.

Bilocate - Sudden Death Syndrome Cover

While Metallica and Iron Maiden seem to have found their way into the country (along with other heavy metal, hard and soft rock bands available at Virgin Megastores and other music stores), the more ‘extreme’ fans have always relied on, oh well, illegal downloading/sharing to access their favorite music releases! (what if band shirts were blacklisted too?)

Well, I’ll show you what happened when I gave “legal music purchasing” a chance, when I ordered a bunch of CDs from the US and shipped them to Lebanon.

I should have received the following:

Destruction‘s The Antichrist and All Hell Breaks Loose, Kreator‘s Enemy of God, Slayer‘s Reign in Blood, RoadRunner Records compilation and a Violence Best Of non-original CD.

I got this instead:

Lebanese Rock Censorship | Banned

Lovely right? (for you non-Arabic speaking readers, this states the confiscated albums and sums it up with a remark “satanic worshipers related albums“). So I only got the non-original CD which I got as a gift from the buyer along with my purchased CDs (the non-original had no cover art but you all should know that Violence play the same music genre as Slayer – thrash metal – ) and that seriously sucked, aside from the fact that I got no refund whatsoever, some idiot probably took the CDs for himself…

Lebanese Rock Censorship | Banned -2-

So I have some experience with this Rock censorship in Lebanon and I bet some of you have been through that as well (share your stories with us); but my question remains “Why should Lebanon be different from the rest of the Arab world?“. We are influenced by many cultures therefore such a censorship should never exist!

This kind of treatment should provide all major metal record labels with the answer to the global wave of free music downloading and sharing: there’s no easy and legal way of purchasing the music in the first place (and no I don’t want to buy mp3s).

I sure hope that we’ll no longer have a banned musicians list so that local music fans can easily support the bands they love, and hopefully be able to watch them perform live in their home-country, not abroad.

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  • Charbs

    nice article benej. totally true bro.

  • Steph

    banning “satanic worshipers related albums” (Y)
    keep it up ppl, u’re making Lebanon a better place -.-

  • Wissam Khoury

    yeah man betkhayal :S:S:S srsly
    we shall work for letting those stuff be heard, i mean some change should be made :/

  • Patrick

    Thanks for the comments – we (the people) cannot force such changes in the system; perhaps getting an open minded music listener to the right post is an idea, but still that’s a pretty hard goal to reach …

  • Roy Naufal

    it still better than the past
    at least we can have concerts here, unlike jordan for example, where they have been banned for the last few years (our last concert there got cancelled,and that was the last one)
    things are still moving forward, u never saw maiden cds in virgin in the past, now u can…that’s good…ur no longer dragged from the street because u have long hair, or pulled out from a concert just for being there and sit in a cell for a couple of nights
    as far as im concerned it’s all a matter of time,
    might be hard to actually have an album like ‘enemy of god’ or ‘antichrist’ easily go in in such a religiously driven country…but at least we’re doing much better than in the past, and much better than many countries in the region by at least having an active ongoing public metalscene

  • enough

    really they care about this? we are wise enough to make our own decisions we want to be who we are and the fucking politicians care about this intead of trying to stop the bad things inside and trying to improove more inportant things in our country???.they need to be more open. we are a rigiously driven country so on the bright side both regilions are working together and agreeing on one thing .maybe one day lebanon will be moree open and less overprotective and stops giving the impression of only a muslm undeveloped war ravaged terrorist infested dangerous country(don’t get me wrong i don’t have anthing against muslims )

  • !

    they can’t stop the albums of devil worshipers lyrics they are so many and if they do we will fight for them we need them and why they are afraid from it ??? we need them to explain it why we can’t listen to those king of music ? anw i have songs that i made satanic lyrics any one interest ?