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The Saudification of Mimi: Planned Mariah Carey concert sparks indignation

The singer is set to perform in Saudi Arabia on 31 January - but many fans think Mariah and the kingdom don't belong together
Appeals have multiplied calling on the "Emancipation of Mimi" singer to cancel her appearance (AFP)

American singer Mariah Carey is scheduled to perform on 31 January on the sidelines of the first international golf tournament to be held in Saudi Arabia, an appearance that has been slammed as the Gulf kingdom faces scathing condemnations over its human rights record.

Mariah Carey will be the first female Western singer to perform in Saudi Arabia since Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman introduced reforms to the entertainment industry, including projects to build cinemas and an opera house, recreational events previously banned in the kingdom.

Activists and social media users have denounced Mariah Carey's planned performance alongside Dutch DJ Tiesto and Jamaican rapper Sean Paul in King Abdullah Economic City, north of Mecca, amid the imprisonment and torture of Saudi women's rights activists.

One such critique came from Alia al-Hathloul, the sister of detained activist Loujain al-Hathloul, who has become a symbol of Saudi women's struggle for the right to drive.

In a letter published in the New York Times, Alia al-Hathloul affirmed that her sister Loujain "had been held in solitary confinement, beaten, waterboarded, given electric shocks, sexually harassed and threatened with rape and murder."

Other Saudi women joined the call for a boycott, such as Ms Saffaa, an artist who lives in exile in Australia and uses a pseudonym for security reasons.

Some Internet users reminded the world-renowned diva of the war in Yemen and Saudi Arabia's responsibility in this conflict.

Translation: Poor Saudi Arabia! What has it become under the regime of MBS?! Mariah Carey, don’t forget to pay tribute to Yemeni and Saudi women

The Women for Rights in Saudi Arabia (WARSA) movement promoted an online petition entitled "Boycott Apartheid in Saudi Arabia".

The movement called on "artists, athletes, comedians, and performers of the world to stand in solidarity with the people of Saudi Arabia”.

“When the people inside are repressed into silence by brutal regimes, we ask artists and performers to support their rights to advocate freely and safely for freedom and rights, without fear of being imprisoned, tortured or killed by their leaders," the petition added.

International NGOs Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch recently urged Saudi Arabia to allow an independent investigation into recent allegations of torture and ill-treatment of human rights activists.

Amnesty said it had gathered new evidence from ten human rights activists who were "tortured, sexually harassed and subjected to other forms of ill-treatment" during their detention.

- The article is based on an a translation of a story that was originally published by Middle East Eye's French website.

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