Mosaic Blog

The Soundtrack of The Revolution

Tunisian rapper Hamada Ben Amor, known as El Général, released "Rayes Lebled'' or "Head of State" around the same time as Mohamed Bouazizi's self-immolation. El Général's song spoke out against the now former Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and has been labeled the "rap song that sparked a revolution."



Following the success of the Tunisian uprising, Palestinian artists joined forces to honor the Tunisian people with a song entitled "Green Revolution." Rapper Mahmoud Jrere from pop-rap group DAM thanked the Tunisians for giving them hope "instead of depression and boredom from politicians," as Mahmoud Darwish wondered "how can we be cured from our love for Tunisia?" and ended the song by admitting "we love you Tunisia more than we thought we knew."



Central Cairo's Tahrir or Liberation Square was the Egyptian uprising's battleground that remained relatively peaceful. For 18 days, videos exhibiting the Egyptian people's humor and love of music went viral on YouTube. The song in the video below was sung by protestors camped out at the square, addressing former President Hosni Mubarak.



After the people toppled Hosni Mubarak, a group of "several notable musicians from North America teamed up to release a song of solidarity and empowerment." Their song is entitled #Jan25, in reference to the Egyptian protest hashtag that was trending on Twitter at the time. The artists said, "this track serves as a testament to the revolution's effect on the hearts and minds of today's youth, and the spirit of resistance it has come to symbolize for oppressed people worldwide."



Libya's struggle for freedom and democracy began on February 17. In an effort to mobilize the youth, Tripoli rapper Ibn Thabit released a song titled "Call to the Libyan Youth" inviting them to "live standing up on [their] feet, not on [their] knees." (Full translation here)



In a humorous reprise of Tracy Chapman's classic “Talkin 'Bout A Revolution,” Israeli band Shmemel talked about “An Arab Revolution.” The 10-member group displayed solidarity with the Arab uprising through a video that is steeped in orientalist imagery. Shmemel allied itself with those fighting for "freedom" and "liberation," and identified with the struggle against "people who are trying to bring us down from Washington to Tel Aviv to Tehran," offering listeners an uncommonly heard Israeli voice.



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