OneRepublic’s Qatar concert faces cancellation calls and refund demands due to public outrage over the band’s silence on the Gaza genocide.
A wave of opposition to OneRepublic’s scheduled concert has put event organisers under pressure as many in Qatar sent a clear message on social media that “supporters of genocide are not welcome in the country”.
Many are demanding refunds and urging the concert’s cancellation, citing the band’s recent statement which failed to make any mention of the unfolding genocide in Gaza, and instead only condemned the Palestinian resistance’s attack on Israel.
Their statement, posted on 11 October said the attacks on Israeli targets along the Gaza Strip border “left us crushed and heartbroken”.
“The mind isn’t equipped to process this kind of evil,” their statement said, adding: “Let’s be perfectly clear, this is terrorism. We as a band could never condone what was done to those innocent people.”
The group’s frontman and vocalist Ryan Tedder said in a recent interview with an Israeli outlet that although he was not Jewish, he felt some kind of “affinity towards Israel”, and said that he had “no intention to boycott it only because other artists do so.”
Abbas Charaf, an expat in Qatar told Doha News that he believed it was “unfortunate” that the American pop-rock band were still holding the concert in Qatar.
“I personally believe that they should not be allowed anywhere near a stage in Qatar considering the wrong message that would deliver. The concert should definitely be cancelled without any questions given the undermining opinions of the band,” he said.
Others share the same sentiment and believe it would speak volumes if the concert was not cancelled.
“‘Your lives mean nothing to us’ is the message we would be sending the Palestinians. And the message we would be sending our kids is ‘your values as a human being only matter sometimes.’,” Maha Taha, who had also bought tickets to the concert prior to knowing the band’s political stance, said.
Taha said she expected the concert to get cancelled. Previous events planned to take place in Qatar were cancelled after it became known that participants had publicly taken inflammatory positions contrary to Doha’s support for issues of social justice and human rights.
Abbas and Taha were both able to pressure the organisers into refunding the tickets they had purchased.
“At first it was a bit tough as they kept repeating that they have policies against refunds. After pushing through and explaining that most of the ticket holders didn’t know about the band’s stance on the Palestinian matter and after a few days of spam from my side, they agreed to refund me. I have been told it would take 7-14 business days to return to my account,” said Abbas.
Mohammed Al Qassabi, a renowned Qatari inventor, said if the concert was not cancelled, it would represent an inconsistency in the country’s solidarity gestures.
“Some athletes in Europe who supported Palestine through their social media had countries such as France severely punish them. One of them was a Jordanian football player who is now in Qatar for the Asian Cups and another Algerian football player as well,” Al Wassabi told Doha News.
“In Europe, some European countries are punishing those who are supporting Palestine. How come we Qatar host those supporting the Zionists? I’m ashamed of that act.”
He drew comparison to Qatar’s cancellation of its National Day celebrations in support of Palestine on December 18, stating that even if they are not supporting Israel, he still doesn’t believe that concerts or celebrations should be held.
He did not buy tickets to the concert and urged others to join in boycotting it. He also advocated for shows of support for Palestine during the AFC Asian Cup, much like during the World Cup 2022 when Palestinian flags were prominently displayed.
The concert is scheduled for February 1, and so far no cancellation or statement has been issued from the organisers.
Doha News has reached out to Visit Qatar for a statement.