Cheb Khaled: ‘Art’ could mend what politics has ruined

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“Art” and “love” could restore and repair what politics has ruined, Algeria’s famed singer Cheb Khaled told Al Arabiya News Channel’s Morning Show in an interview aired on Thursday.

“I hope art overcomes politics with its message of love. Through love this message could be delivered,” said Cheb Khaled, who is popular both in the Arab world and internationally.

The artist whose latest song “C’est la vie” was a hit in France for 2012, hailed Europeans who he described as “united.”

“Look at Europeans - they are united, how come we Arabs in North Africa don’t make a greater united Maghreb,” he said.

Relations between Morocco and Algeria have soured when a young Moroccan tore down the Algerian flag during a demonstration over the disputed Western Sahara region in front of Algiers’ mission on Nov. 1.

The incident sparked anger in Algeria.

While the Moroccan authorities said they had acted with “firmness” with the perpetrator, they denied offering any apology to the neighboring country.

According to Moroccan weekly Tel Quel, the perpetrator was arrested and is due to be tried for the incident on Nov.21.

“There will be no problems [if there is unity],” the Algerian rai singer and songwriter, who was also officially offered Moroccan citizenship by a royal decree issued on Aug. 20, said.

He added: “Imagine an Algerian who could go for a leisure tour to Morocco, Western Sahara, or Mauritania.”

The spat between Algeria and Morocco was the latest between the North African neighbors, whose decades-old rivalry centers on the disputed territory annexed by Morocco in 1975 in a move that was not recognized by the international community.

But for the singer, the two North African countries have more in common.

“We have nature, civilization, we have sun, love,” he said.

Cheb Khaled, 53, has also being known for singing about his countrymen leaving to Europe in search for freedom and better economic opportunities.

He said that he was invited by an Italian singer to hold a concert of which the proceeds will go to refugees and immigrants coming to Europe.

Due to the uprisings in the Arab region, many have risked their lives to flee to the continent.

More than 33,000 migrants have landed in Italy so far this year - nearly three times more than last year. The most common countries of origin are Eritrea, Somalia and increasingly, Syria.

But for Cheb Khaled, he emphasized human unity and peace “so mothers don’t cry, and youth don’t leave their homes.”

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