French President Emmanuel Macron just landed yesterday in Lebanon for a two-day visit and a schedule filled with events and political talks aimed to pave a way out for a country that has been going through a political and economic crisis, a seemingly endless cycle of unfortunate events. His visit was no surprise, as Macron has always had close ties with Lebanon and after his previous visit, he expressed his love for the country on social media. He tweeted in Arabic: “I love you Lebanon,” the words of a famous Fayrouz song. Macron was actually the first foreign leader to visit Lebanon after the destructive explosion and walked through the devastated streets of Beirut when no Lebanese official had the guts to do so.
You probably think that Macron’s first meeting was with the new prime minister, who was appointed a few hours prior to his arrival, or with the country’s bickering politicians or even the civil society activists, however, it came as a surprise to all of us that he chose to go meet with Lebanon’s iconic diva, Fayrouz.
Fayrouz, who’s now 86 years old, is arguably the most well-known, beloved, and respected singer in the Arab world today. According to The New York Times, “Following his arrival at Beirut airport Monday night, Macron went straight to visit Fayrouz at her home in Rabieh, north of Beirut, away from the media upon her request.” Later on, Macron told local TV station Al Jadeed after his meeting with her, which lasted a bit over an hour, “I told her what she means to me,” going on to say, “She represents stories of love and a Lebanon dreamed of and loved.”