DHAKA: Morocco’s glittering Mawazine international music festival wraps up this weekend with performances by Mariah Carey and Lenny Kravitz, after nine days of showcasing the North African kingdom’s cool factor - even as dissident Moroccan musicians are imprisoned for their anti-establishment lyrics.
The 11-year-old Rhythms of the World festival in the capital Rabat has always highlighted Morocco’s contradictions as the country spends millions to lure top world artists to perform at generally free concerts, while much of the country remains mired in poverty.
In past years, the festival has been attacked by Islamists for inviting gay performer Elton John in 2010 and by activists for the cost of attracting Shakira and other high profile acts in 2011, but this year the theme of protest is freedom of expression.
Just a week before the festival began, Human Rights Watch slammed Morocco for sentencing a rapper to a year in prison for lyrics deemed insulting to police - a common theme in rap music elsewhere in the world.
BDST: 2051 HRS, May 26, 2012
Edited by Robab Rosan, Cultural Affairs Editor
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