In an October 9, 2021 broadcast on MTV (Lebanon), Lebanese singer Elissa said that the Lebanon she loves is a free country and that she does not want the country to change just because people rely on a certain political party – referring to Hizbullah – for fuel and food stamps. Elissa said that she does not want to change how she speaks or dresses, but that she fears that Lebanon is changing. She called on people to stop following political parties "like sheep," and added that she chooses to stay in Lebanon despite having the means to leave because she feels that her country needs her. Elissa made her remarks during the annual May Chidiac Foundation ceremony, which honors media personalities. For more information about Elissa, see MEMRI TV Clip No. 8477.
Elissa: "I see that when Lebanon people leave Lebanon... I don’t have a TikTok account, but I see them there. They kiss the ground at the airport when they leave Lebanon. It does not upset me when a guy or a girl, or even a man and a woman who have a family, take them away so that they can live under better circumstances.
"But what I am opposed to is people going to the airport [to leave Lebanon] as if they are leaving Hell behind. If people see this as Hell on Earth, how can us citizens have hope about the future?"
Host: "People are tired. They have reached the point where they are hungry."
Elissa: "Of course. I know."
Host: "People who are watching you might say: 'Elissa is well off, and does not feel the need to leave, but she blames us for wanting to leave our country.' What would you tell them?"
Elissa: "I do not blame the people who go away or leave. I’m like everybody else. The electricity at my place cuts off three times a day. Like everybody else, I stand in line for fuel. I can leave. I have the ability to live abroad. But I feel that my country needs me right now. That’s why I don’t want to leave. But if only they had a little bit of love for this country. I meet a lot of people who were born abroad, and they love Lebanon more than the people who live here. Stop following people and political parties like sheep, so that you can build this country. Of course they will be hungry when they rely on a political party to provide them fuel and food stamps in order to win their vote in the elections. I am definitely against this.
"We were born in a country where freedom of speech is sacred. I don’t want Lebanon’s identity to change. I don’t want to stop wearing dresses with a low neckline just because a certain political party [i.e., Hizbullah] rules us. I want to live in the same country I was raised in. When they raised me, my parents taught me that I have opinions, that I have the freedom to wear what I want, the freedom to make my own choices in everything. This is the country that I want to live in. I am sorry that I got so emotional, but this is the country I want to live in."