Storm in Jeddah, Khashoggi’s girlfriend to Justin Bieber: “Don’t sing at the GP Arabia”

Hatice Cengiz in the Washington Post writes to the pop star: “Send a message to the world, do not sing at the show after the F1 GP in Saudi Arabia”. The activist was about to marry the journalist killed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul

Just two weeks after the historic debut of Formula 1 in Saudi Arabia, the controversy over the penultimate round of the World Championship shows no sign of abating. The GP on the brand new track under construction on the Jeddah waterfront has long been the subject of numerous criticisms, related to the choice of F1 leaders to race in one of the most controversial countries in terms of the protection of human rights and individual freedoms. To condemn this decision from today there is also Hatice Cengiz, the Turkish activist who should have married the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, killed precisely for his opposition to the regime. In an open letter, published in the Washington Post, the woman turns to Justin Bieber, asking to boycott the event.

jeddah, concert after f1

“Send a message to the whole world, do not allow your name and talent to be used to restore the reputation of a country that kills its opponents,” writes Cengiz. The famous Canadian pop star is in fact among the super guests of the concert that will be held on December 5 after the checkered flag, and should perform together with rapper A $ AP Rocky, singer Jason Derulo and DJs David Guetta and Tiesto.

A luxury parterre that is part of the well-known practice of sportwashing, which has long been used by the rich Middle Eastern states to rehabilitate their image in the eyes of the West, also with a view to stimulating an economy based on tourism and not only on the extraction of gas and oil. “Please – adds the activist – keep in mind that your invitation to participate in the concert comes directly from Prince Mohammad Bin Salman. Nothing happens in Saudi Arabia without your consent and certainly not an event as important as this “.

the kashoggi case

MBS, the acronym with which the Crown Prince is known in his country, is considered among the instigators of the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi, journalist and former government spokesman, killed in 2018 inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, while he was looking for to obtain the documents that would allow him to marry Hatice Cengiz. The case, which had a certain resonance in the media around the world, was then closed with the death sentence of five of the government agents who materially killed the activist, followed closely by the pardon granted by the executive of Riyadh. . The Khashoggi crime is considered by opponents of the regime to be among the most concrete examples of how, in Saudi Arabia, human rights and individual freedoms are little considered. And, from 2018 to today, there have been requests to Western stars to boycott various events in the country: before Justin Bieber, the same fate had fallen to Mariah Carey (who had still held the concert regularly) and to Nicki Minaj, who had canceled his appearance on stage.

f1, the controversy over the arabian gp

The letter written by Khashoggi’s partner is just the last shadow on the Saudi Arabian GP. And if Formula 1, at the words of President Stefano Domenicali, continues to argue that going to race in certain countries is a way to demonstrate to the world that another model of values ​​is possible, in recent weeks it had also caused a lot of discussion on the issue of dress code: in an email sent to the staff of some teams, a certain type of clothing was in fact imposed on the insiders, particularly modest especially as regards women, who should have covered the legs and arms, as well as having to avoid any type of neckline. A story that had caused much discussion on social media, belatedly denied by the Saudi Minister of Sport who, two weeks after the incriminated email, guaranteed maximum freedom of clothing for tourists and team staff. All without forgetting the delays in setting up the Jeddah Corniche Circuit which will be the penultimate scene of the challenge between Hamilton and Verstappen: the track is still being completed and, according to sources close to the race organizers cited by the Swiss newspaper Blick, it will continue to work until Thursday 2nd December. The eve of the first ignition of F1 engines in Saudi Arabia.

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Storm in Jeddah, Khashoggi’s girlfriend to Justin Bieber: “Don’t sing at the GP Arabia”