When pop stars are duped into performing in the Arab country, they merely help the regime’s propaganda machine

All I want for 2019 is for much-loved pop stars to stop being inadvertent propagandists for mass-murdering dictatorships. Mariah Carey is the latest musician to perform in Saudi Arabia, following in the ignominious footsteps of Enrique Iglesias and the Black Eyed Peas in December. This is bad on a number of levels. Carey has famously always had a devoted gay fanbase: in Saudi Arabia, homosexuality is punishable by death.

Women are deprived of fundamental rights, and despite Saudi propaganda claims that social progress is being made, scores of women’s rights activists were detained and incarcerated last year. One of them is Loujain Alhathloul, whose brother has denounced Carey’s concert as a “pathetic attempt to show that the country is becoming more tolerant toward women”, appealing for the singer to at least call for her release on stage.

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Read More Why Mariah Carey was wrong to play Saudi Arabia | Owen Jones

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