Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Revolutionary debke in Hama, Syria

I got this via today's New York Times. This was filmed yesterday in the Halfaya neighborhood of Hama. Apparently this is a regular, morning event. 100's gather to dance the debke, as someone chants and the crowd responds, to the backing of live percussion. Pretty stirring.

You will recall that Hama is famous for its revolutionary debke chants. It is the source of that famous chant,  "Come On Bashar, Leave," sung by Ibrahim Qashoush, who shortly after a video of him chanting at a demonstration circulated widely, was found with his throat slit, on July 4. I posted about it here. The recently-departed Anthony Shadid, the intrepid journalist for the Times, got into Hama in July 2011 and reported on the song, the song's author, and conditions in Hama.

It's cheering to see that, despite the deadly assaults by the regime, Hama is still at it. I hope that someone can fill the shoes of Anthony Shadid. I don't know whether I'm more pessimistic about that or about the future of Syria.

(The expert on Syrian debke is Shayna Silverstein, graduate of the University of Chicago. I look forward with keen anticipation to her publications on the subject.)

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