User:AshLin/Music of the Arab Spring

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Rap, Hip hop and traditional music, beside other genres, have played a role in the Arab Spring. Music has been controlled in a number of countries involved in the Arab Spring and dissenting cultural figures have been arrested or tortured.[1] The music has provided an important platform by means of communication amongst the demonstrators. The music has helped create moral support and encouraged a spirit of resistance and revolt against the regimes.[1]


‘Al-Soo'al’ (The Issue)[1]
“Muammar: You have never served the people
Muammar: You'd better give up
Confess. You cannot escape
Our revenge will catch you
As a train roars through a wall
We will drown you.”

In Libya, an anonymous hip hop artist called Ibn Thabit has given a voice to "disenfranchised Libyans looking for a nonviolent way to express their political will".[2][3] On his website, Ibn Thabit claims that “has been attacking Gaddafi with his music since 2008” when he posted his first song on the internet, titled "Moammar - the coward".[2][4] Lyrics of a song ‘Al-Soo'al’ released by Ibn Thabit on YouTube on 27 January 2011, weeks before the riots began in Libya are indicative of the rebel sentiment.[1] Ibn Thabit's music is featured in a compilation of Arabic Spring resistance rap songs by Khala labelled ‘Khala’s Mixtape Volume 1'.[1]

Some groups, such as a rock band from Benghazi called the "Guys Underground", used metaphors to cloak the censure of the authorities. The group released a song just before the uprising entitled “Like My Father Always Says” to ridicule an autocratic fictional male head of a family which was a veiled reference to Col Gaddafi.[1]

Some of these musicians arose from a movement called shabbab cool or "cool youth".[5]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Unattributed (20 April 2011). "Hip-hop is a soundtrack to the North African revolt". Free Muse - Freedom of Musical Expression. Freemuse, Copenhagen, Denmark. Retrieved 13 August 2011. 
  2. ^ a b Lane, Nadia (30 March 2011). "Libyan Rap Fuels Rebellion". CNN iReport. Cable News Network. Retrieved 16 August 2011.
  3. ^ Unattributed (8 August 2011). "Ibn Thabit: The Beat Behind Libya's Revolution". Aslan Media. Retrieved 13 August 2011. 
  4. ^ Nation Public Radio (22 Jun 2011). "Top Five Arab Spring Hip-Hop Songs". The New Significance (webzine). Retrieved 13 August 2011. 
  5. ^

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