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Palestinian comedian’s Bahrain show cancelled after permit refusal 

April 9, 2024 at 12:55 pm

US-Palestinian stand-up comedian Amer Zahr during a performance at Akron-Summit County Public Library, on 18 March 2024 [amerzahr/Instagram]

US-Palestinian stand-up comedian Amer Zahr has said that his upcoming show in Bahrain has been cancelled. He explained on Instagram that the application for a government permit needed for the show to go ahead had been rejected by the Bahraini authorities. The decision was taken despite initial advertisements and ticket sales for the event, which he said would cover “The Truth” about Palestine and Israel’s war on Gaza.

Appearing in front of a map of 1948 Palestine, Zahr told his 147,000 followers: “Unfortunately the show is going to be cancelled… I’m really bummed out because we were working with so many great people on the ground to promote the show.”

He added that those still wanting to see him should fly out to neighbouring Dubai or Kuwait, before saying he wasn’t exactly sure why the show’s permit was denied. “I guess the truth is a little difficult, I don’t know. But as always, free Palestine.”

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However, Bahraini outlet GDN Online claims that the mishap “was the result of a hotel’s administrative bungle.” In a letter addressed to his management team, reportedly seen by GDN, the Diplomat Radisson Blu Hotel, Residence & Spa Bahrain, is said to have issued a sincere apology to Zahr.

The report says that accurate information regarding obtaining an artist visa and performance permission “was not provided” by a staff member, resulting in a delay in the process and ultimately leading to the cancellation of the event scheduled for 19 April.

An adjunct professor at the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law, Zahr often draws on his personal experiences growing up as a child of Palestinian refugees. He has used his platform to advocate for Palestinian rights through comedy, documentaries and his book “Being Palestinian Makes Me Smile”.

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