Friday, February 22, 2013

Port Said: general strike & dancing to simsimiyya music

As of today, Friday February 22, Port Said is in its 5th day of a general strike. As James Dorsey tells us, the leading forces in the strike are organized labor and soccer fans, in an unprecedented collaboration.

And as this Youtube footage shot today, residents of Port Said are not just striking, but they are dancing as well, to the distinctive strains of their local music, in which the simsimiyya (lyre) is the lead and the most significant instrument.

I've posted in past about Port Said's leading simsimiyya group, here and here. (Although in the latter post, I've misidentified the song I saw performed, and at some point in future, need to make some corrections on the post.)

And I've written about Port Said and El Tanbura and the Egyptian uprising, in the latest issue of Middle East Report, here. Much respect to Port Said. I hope they manage to shut down the Canal.


Mark LeVine said...

thanks for posting Ted, are these some of the tanboura guys playing? do you have any more info on the labor-ultra cooperation. that's not entirely new, but a good development it its being more institutionalized. but perhaps you or someone can elaborate on the position of the ultras more broadly to the convictions, as the Ahly fans seemed very happy but of course, the local fans would not be. so is this more the labor movement and local ultras or is there some broader collaboration?

Evan Hill said...

Hey Ted, it's been a pleasure to be introduced to your blog via Issandr. I've been listening to Heela Heela for the past three days, and I think I'm going to head up to Port Said on Wednesday to catch Tanboura's informal weekly show with a friend or two.

Anyway, my two cents on this is that any labor-ultra cooperation is going to be temporary and tactical. The ultras' agenda always seems fairly narrow, especially since the Masry-Ahly rivalry reached deadly proportions last year. Political activists in Port Said told me in January that the two sides (the Masry ultras and the activists) even came to blows when they insisted on staging separate January 25 anniversary marches - one with political goals, one demanding freedom/justice for the Masry Green Eagles defendants. The state of Port Said's feelings of disenfranchisement may finally bring them sustainably together, but I'm not sure.

Ted Swedenburg said...

Thanks Evan, I'm very jealous that you get to see El Tanbura, especially in their place of origin. I think your comments about ultra-labor cooperation makes sense. Hopefully you saw my other post, linked to Erin Cunningham's report which stated that Port Said's opposition forces have opted for a strategy of non-violence. That sure doesn't seem like it would be an easy sell to the ultras. Cheers, Ted

Ted Swedenburg said...

And Mark, Evan answered your question, he knows way more than I do. As for the music in the vid, I'm pretty sure it's recorded simsimiyya music and not a live band.

Annika said...

Hmm, good job! This is really something!

Tomoko said...

This is cool!