TANNOURINE: With so much love and excitement, vibrant international singer and performer Shakira appeared in front of an audience in the hometown of her great-grandmother and father, Tannourine, North Lebanon.
More than 50 people gathered to meet her at a private event in Tannourine’s Cedar reserve, organized by the Lebanese consul in Colombia Edmond, Feris Harb.
Prior to the private press conference, restricted to a limited number of journalists, some media reported that two individuals were beaten and arrested by the ISF after being told that they’re not allowed to enter the Cedar reserve due to the event.
Head of Tannourine Municipality Bahaa Harb told Annahar that “these individuals have been causing trouble in many events for political reasons.” However, a teenager approached Annahar saying that his father was arrested “just because he wanted to enter the cedar reserve.”
Security sources close to Shakira said that “the Cedar forest was reserved for a couple of hours only for the private event, upon Shakira’s request, who preferred not to meet a large number of fans there.”
Surprising everyone, Shakira entered the cedar reserve from another entrance, and was welcomed with a word from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and later by the head of the municipality, who dedicated two cedar trees in the nature reserve to her.
One of the cedar trees was given Shakira’s name, while the other was dedicated to her family.
As the audience followed the singer to take potos, Shakira gave a small speech in which she thanked her hometown Tannourine, and said “she is very excited to be in Lebanon.”
Shakira added that the gift of the cedar trees and the decision of naming a square in the cedar reserve in her name “was very humbling.”
“I always thought of my family like the cedars, the trees coming from this beautiful land, that have been transported to Colombia to produce fruit,” she said, adding that she feels that “she’s the fruit of those cedars.”
Shakira ended her speech by reading poetry written on a gift that was also awarded to her by the organizers, engraved on a wooden map of Lebanon. “This poem is from one of my favorite poets, Gibran Khalil Gibran,” she said and went on reading the lines: “For man is happy only with his aspiration to the heights. When he attains his goal, he bounds for the distant flights.”
After the press conference, Harb said that the event was initially his wife’s idea. “After my wife, Dalal, told me the idea, I contacted her manager who approved her visit,” he said.
Feris Harb describes himself as a “man who is concerned about Lebanon’s beautiful image in the world.”
“We want Shakira to be a role model for children here. Her stardom is a good example for the future generation,” he said, explaining why having a statue of Shakira would be a great idea.
Harb is notes that his work is to promote cultural exchange between Lebanon and Colombia.
Shakira’s event in Tannourine is seen also as a way to enhance tourism in a beautiful region that has been neglected for so long.
Maroun Harb, a bakery owner in the village expressed his happiness with Shakira’s visit, and said “it’s a huge event that might enhance tourism in the region.”
"Shakira’s name will be now engraved in our hometown," he told Annahar.
Shakira is set to perform in front of 12,000 fans tonight at the Cedars Festival.
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