Friday, April 29, 2011

Dan Gilman on Egypt's new 'martyr pop'

I recommend, for your reading pleasure and for your edification, Dan Gilman's piece on Egypt's new "Martyr Pop." He shows how pop stars like Hamada Helal, Amr Diab, Tamer Hosny, and Mohamed Fouad have, post-Mubarak, produced songs and videos dedicated to the martyrs of the revolution. As Gilman, a graduate of the University of Texas' Anthropology Department and currently on a post-doc in Cairo, shows, these seem like belated attempts by artists not known for their strong support for the pro-democracy movement, and in some cases, as backers of Mubarak, to revive their reputations. The attempt seems lame. But the analysis is strong.

This is not the first time that Egyptian pop artists have attempted to express their solidarity with martyrs, with mixed results. See Elliott Colla's article on Egypt's pop intifadiana, "Sentimentality and Redemption: The Rhetoric of Egyptian Pop Culture Intifada Solidarity," in the book I co-edited with Rebecca Stein, Palestine, Israel, and the Politics of Popular Culture (Duke University Press, 2005.)

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