Sunday, February 8, 2009

Singing politics: Gaza

The consequences of the Israeli bombardments on Gaza are difficult to appreciate but, with the exception a few opinion leaders like Adel Imam pretending to defend an untenable position, most of the Arab intellectuals and artists have lined up with the Arab victims.

Nothing exceptional regarding a singer like Abdel-Rahim “Shaaboula” Shaaban whose speciality is to give “live comments” on the political actuality of the area, but something much more unusual for popular singers : Nancy Ajram for instance, whose last video-clip have been modified in order to fit with the last events, or even Tamer Hosny.

Before he paid a visit to Gaza’s hospitals, the heartbreaking star of the Arab teenagers gave a new song, officially called “All together” (Kulluna wahed) but apparently known as “I don’t know what to do” (Mesh aref a3mel haga).

Such a title may be a clear indication of the prevailing mood in the Arab opinion and many articles have been published in the press to critic the too compassionate and lachrymal tone of most of the songs, especially with regard to Michael Heart’s song for Gaza, entitled “We will not go down”.

People go even further and say that many singers are going political just to surf on the wave and to benefit from the media coverage of everything related to the Gaza events. It could be true but one has to remember that songs have been, and remain, a powerful tool for political mobilization in the Arab history which various dramatic stages are connected, in the Arab popular imagination.

Thus, the poor quality of most of the political songs written about Gaza reflects the regional political crisis as much as it is a consequence of the general transformation of the local cultural practices dominated by global mass-production patterns.

As usual, here is the link to the more developed post in French.

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