Saturday, July 16, 2011

No SCAF Rap: Message to Tantawi, by Ramy Donjewan

I've been complaining of late that the role of hip-hop in the "Arab" Spring has been somewhat exaggerated. I plan, or I should say, hope, to do a post on this later, once I've thought it through more. But I really like this rap, from Ramy Donjewan, that was posted today on youtube.

It's called "Message to Tantawi," and it is just that, a message to Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, the Commander-in-Chief of the Egyptian Armed Forces, the Minister of Defense, and the chair of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces or SCAF, which has ruled Egypt since the departure of Hosni Mubarak on February 11. The message to Tantawi is in his capacity as the head of SCAF. The democracy movement in Egypt has become increasingly frustrated with the SCAF, and in particular, of late, its failure to prosecute effectively those responsible for the 800+ deaths at the hands of the security forces during the revolution. Donjewan articulates this, and other demands, and frustrations of the revolutionary movement.

I like this song's flow, its lyrics, the calculated urgency of the Donjewan. Its slow, measured beats, convey a sense of dread, and the simple, repetitive guitar playing adds to the effects. I especially like the chorus, which can be translated as: What we did at first we'll do again Tantawi if our demands aren't implemented. (It's very poetic and effective in Arabic.)

(Once again, I urge someone who can do it quicker and more effectively than me to translate the lyrics of this song.)

You can download the song for free here.

Donjewan put out a song right before the start of the revolution, called "Against the Government," that was quite fantastic as well. Check it out here.

The title of this post: No SCAF Rap, is lifted from the 3Arabawy blog, where I first learned about this song.

(Footnote: the wikipedia entry on Tantawi says he's of Nubian origin, but the sources for this claim are gone. Is this true?)

UPDATE (later the same day): Robin translated a bit more: "Oh Tantawi, my brother's blood is very dear, and we are not making threats... where is the right of the poor, the one who died?"

1 comment:

Habib Battah said...

Nice flow, thanks for posting. We're definitely seeing a lot of material from the Egyptian rap scene, even from Tahrir Square:

But I do agree the role of hip hop is being pushed by some media outlets to make for a sexy story.

Incidentally I have a Kufiya spotting for you, though its for an awful cause: