Sunday, June 26, 2011

Songs of the Syrian Revolt

It's thanks to Iman that I know about these two songs.

The first is by Syrian singer Samih Choukeir. I knew nothing of him before hearing this song. What I now know is based on this wikipedia entry, in Arabic. He is an established artist in Syria (or at least he was--who knows, after this song!), active since 1982, composing for the theater and t.v. serials as well as performing his own compositions. He studied art in the Ukraine (like so many other Syrians, who got advanced degrees from Eastern Bloc universities prior to the collapse of the Soviet Union) and is married to a Ukrainian woman. He does not belong to any political party in Syria but appears to be on the Syrian "left." (Here's his official bio in English.)

The song, "Ya Hayf (Oh Oppression)," is dedicated to the martyrs of Dera'a, March 15. Dera'a is where the Syrian revolt started. (It's also where T.E. Lawrence was tortured, if you remember the film Lawrence of Arabia.)

This one features someone leading a call-and-response song at a pro-democracy demonstration in the city of Hama, uploaded on June 23. It's entitled, "Bidkum Bashar (You want Bashar)." The singer chants various lines of government propaganda, and then chants Bidkum Bashara, and the crowd responds loudly, "La wallah" (No, by God!). It's quite wonderful.

(Again, I hope someone will translate these into English, and other languages, at some point.)

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