Egyptian folk singer harassed: Let Ramy sing!

November 5, 2011
Ramy Essam.

Ramy Essam has been featured on my Rebel Frequencies site before. The young folk-singer may best be described at "the troubadour of the Egyptian revolution".

Essam performed at the initial rallies demanding dictator Hosni Mubarak step down, and was kidnapped and tortured as a result. And yet he still writes and performs.

Furthermore, his own personal struggle to sing publicly demonstrates how much more work the revolution still has ahead of it.

On October 26, Essam performed at an art exhibition at the Cairo University Medical School titled "Transition stage, police and thieves". After his first song, he had to deal with a small handful of pro-Mubarak hecklers, who were easily shouted down by the overwhelmingly young crowd.

Then the dean entered, who took umbrage at Essam's criticism of Egypt's ruling military council.

An October 27 post on said: "The Dean explained to the organisers that they had no permission to make such an exhibition or a concert. The students replied that this wasn’t correct because they had obtained all of the necessary permissions, and actually a number of other singers had already been performing there as part of the event."

Essam was forced to pack up and leave. The whole incident proves that there is still a lot more work in front of the revolution.

Struggling for a truly free culture is necessarily part of any such fight. It's obviously not that the bureaucrats at the college disliked Essam's music, it's that they represent the forces seeking to put the brakes on the revolution while they still can.

Essam's music, on the other hand, seeks to push it forward.

Good thing that other doctors and students are dead-set on him performing. Essam's manager, Mariam Emad, said: "We have had a call from one of the organisers at the university ― he wants us to come and perform there again tomorrow. And several students have been expressing their support, saying that Ramy will sing whether you like it or not!"

It's often shocking how myopic the backers of reaction can be. They should know better than to think an artist who survived torture to sing another day will somehow be intimidated by a stern dressing down from the headmaster.

[Reprinted from Rebel Frequencies.]

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