Hip-hop plays a central role in the revolts in Tunisia, Egypt, Algeria and Libya. Rap songs create an important platform for communication creating moral support and encouraging a spirit of resistance and revolt against the regime.
“The Arabic revolutions have largely been a revolt by the young, who have made clear they are no longer willing to live in a climate of corruption, repression and hopelessness. And, like every youth revolution, this one has its own sound,” wrote Anne-Beatrice Clasmann of the US news site M&C: “Since the weight of the protests have been carried by the young, the protest songs are not the classic marches or ballads that were used when Arabic countries rose up against colonizers. Instead, today’s protest songs are all hip-hop and Oriental pop. Many of the songs aren’t available in stores. To find them, one has to go to YouTube or other websites.”
“The fact that many musicians place themselves in the front line has inspired a lot of people in the Middle East to question the rules that the system has pulled down over their heads,” told Freemuse Officer Martin Buch Larsen who recently travelled in the region:
“The rappers are in their 20s, often reasonably well educated, and they see music as a way they can express themselves on the issues they are confronted with in their daily lives. They rap about unemployment, poor housing, mismanagement, corruption. And that is what makes the political leaders so furious. But the leaders’ rage has had the opposite effect: Rappers have suddenly acquired a kind of revolutionary celebrity,” he said.
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