Lebanese-French belly dancer Johanna Fakhry has gyrated herself into some big trouble with her homeland. She has been barred from returning to Lebanaon following an appearance last month at Hellfest, an outdoor music festival in France, with the Israeli metal band Orphaned Land.
The Jerusalem Post reports that it was Fakhry’s idea to dance onstage with the Israeli musicians, and to hold up the Lebanese and Israeli flags side by side in a gesture of peace and brotherhood (though the Israeli one happened to have been much larger). Orphan Land’s lead singer Kobi Farhi was pleased to join forces with the belly dancer after she contacted him through Facebook. However, he warned her of his concern for her reputation and safety should she appear with the band, and especially should they wave their national banners together. Lebanon has technically been in a state of war with Israel since 1948.
“I know. Bring the flag — this is my choice, and I want to use my art for the sake of peace,” was reportedly Fakhry’s response to Farhi.