(Egyptian musician Ramy Essam – Photo credit Michael Chavez – LA Times)
MUSIC AND THE ARAB SPRING
Protest music is playing a huge role in the Arab Spring of 2011, with many artists using their music to speak out against brutal regimes and injustice, and galvanizing the people in city squares. In Tunisia, where many believe was the "spark" of the 2011 freedom movement in the Mideast, Amel Mathlouthi sang "I Am Free, My Word is Free" in Tunis, giving a voice to the oppressed. When protesters gathered in Tahrir Square in Egypt as they brought down the Mubarak regime, the musicians Mohammed Mounir and Ramy Essam sang songs calling for Mubarak to step down. Mounir energized the crowd with his song "Ezzay" (How Come?), and Essam sang his song "Erhal" (Leave!) to the crowd in Tahrir Square, and both songs played a big part in the activist movement in Egypt.
Sout Al Horeya's "Voice of Freedom" has over 1 million views, and has almost become an anthem for the freedom movement. The Iranian student freedom song "Yar-e-Dabestani e-man" has been used as a rallying cry, including updated versions. In Syria, protest music is also playing a big role, even speaking out against the brutal attack on the poet Ali Ferzat.
JTMP has picked out the Top 5 Arab Spring Protest Songs:
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