What could possibly be said against a leader who supports and encourages art, especially music, singing and dancing of youths? A leader who does so, particularly one from the Arab world, should be commended for such efforts.

The catch: except when a leader says that supporting singers and musicians takes precedence over solving basic problems facing hundreds of thousands of his people.

Take, for example, the case of Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas, who recently visited Beirut for talks with Lebanese leaders on a wide range of issues pertaining to bilateral relations and the status of more than 500,000 Palestinians living in extremely harsh conditions in numerous refugee camps throughout Lebanon. Many of the camps have long been “no-go zones” for the Lebanese security forces; this situation has turned them into bases for anarchy, lawlessness and a home for various rival armed gangs, which sometimes kill each other.

During his three-day visit to Lebanon, President Abbas held a series of meetings with Lebanese President Michel Aoun and scores of Lebanese government officials and politicians. He also met with some representatives of the Palestinian community in Lebanon. Abbas, however, steered clear of any of the refugee camps, where Palestinians are deprived of basic rights, particularly employment.


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