January 28, 2019 – CODEPINK and others have launched a robust campaign calling on singer and songwriter Mariah Carey to cancel her upcoming performance in Saudi Arabia and/or make a statement imploring the Saudi kingdom to increase imprisoned women activists.
Along with CODEPINK’s petitioncirculating Twitter, a number of prominent voices have been appealing to the pop star. They include Washington Post opinion editor Karen Attiah, Alia al-Hathloul, Amnesty International, New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof and many others.
Carey’s concert is scheduled for January 31st. Along with Carey, it will include Jamaican rapper Sean Paul, Dutch DJ Tiesto, and Yemeni-Emirati singer Balqees Fathi.
“Mohammad bin Salman is often cited as a liberalizing force in Saudi Arabia, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. His softening some restrictions on women’s movements in the kingdom has been shown to only be a smokescreen, as he is jailing, disappearing, and torturing women campaigning for their basic human rights” argues Ariel Gold, co-director of CODEPINK. “Brave women like Loujain al Hathloul, who fought for the right of women to drive in Saudi Arabia and is now being held against her will and tortured, deserve the voice of Mariah Carey as an advocate for their freedom.”
Saudi Arabia is one of the world’s most repressive, misogynist, gender-segregated countries in the world. Currently a number of women are being imprisoned there for participation in peaceful gender equality activism. Saudi woman, Loujain al-Hathloul for example was arrested after helping lead the campaign for women to gain the right to drive. It has been reported that while imprisoned, she has been beaten, waterboarded, subjected to electroshock, and more. Saudi Arabia – specifically Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman – is also responsible for the barbaric murder and dismemberment of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
“Does Mariah Carey really want to be associated with regime that cuts up the body of journalist with a bone saw, beheads people for non-violent drug offenses, tortures women who want to free themselves from the oppressive male guardianship system, makes homosexuality punishable by death, and has created a humanitarian situation in Yemen so severe it has already taken the lives of around 85,000 young Yemeni children?,” asks Medea Benjamin, cofounder of CODEPINK and author of a book on Saudi Arabia.
CODEPINK believes that any cooperation with Saudi Arabia legitimizes its continued war on Yemen, which the United Nations has deemed one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world. In the past three years, Saudi Arabia’s bombing has killed countless Yemeni civilians with absolute impunity, including the bombing of 40 Yemeni school children in August 2018.
CODEPINK calls on Mariah Carey to cancel her performance and/or to use her platform there to make a statement that the imprisoned Saudi women must be released and the war on Yemen ended.
CODEPINK, a women-led grassroots organization working to end U.S. wars and militarism.