Syrian revolution’s ‘mocking bird’ haunts his murderers

5 Sep

Citizen journalist, 27 June 2011. Ibrahim Qashoush sings his revolutionary anthem with the catchline “It’s time for you to go, Bashar!” to a vast crowd in Hama, one of the cradles of Syria’s popular uprising against the dictator Bashar Assad. Just six days later, Qashoush was killed by regime thugs, who slit his throat and ripped out his vocal chords in a bid to stop his chant from spreading. But once posted on YouTube, Qashoush’s song went viral, becoming the anthem of the uprising across Syria, with its words painted on walls everywhere and chanted during democracy rallies and armed clashes. While a person can be killed, a great truth outlives the murders and the lies of tyrants.


by AFP via Al Jazeera

4 September 2012

article re-edited

It’s more of an incantation than a song, but it’s as ubiquitous as the sound of gunfire on Syria’s frontlines and has become the undisputed anthem of the revolution.

“Yalla erhal ya Bashar” (“It’s time for you to go, Bashar!”). In Syria’s rebel-held areas, the words are spray-painted on walls, blared on minibus radios and exchanged as mobile phone ringtones.

Huddled fighters intone the song-cum-slogan as a battle cry before mounting military operations against Syrian army forces.

And in the liturgy of Syria’s street protests, demonstrators chant it to open and end marches against the regime of president Bashar al-Assad.

“Get out, Bashar!”, demands the song, a raging drumroll of attacks on the Syrian president, calling him a “liar” and an “ass” and his brother Maher a “coward”.

Its creator paid dearly, however. Ibrahim Qashoush, a singer from the central city of Hama, was little-known before the Arab Spring reached Syria in March 2011.

A few months later, a shaky recording of the nagging mantra performed by Qashoush and echoed by a chorus of demonstrators at a night protest in Hama went viral on the Internet.

“You have lost your legitimacy … Freedom is within reach … The martyrs’ blood doesn’t come cheap,” says the song, whose unlikely rhymes never fail to trigger laughter. It even pokes fun at Assad’s slight lisp.

Qashoush was soon arrested, and his body was reported to have been found in a river in July last year.

The man nicknamed “the mocking bird of the revolution” had his throat slit and vocal chords ripped out.

“His song gives us courage … Ibrahim Qashoush holds a special place in people’s hearts, I think,” said one of the organisers of a recent rally in the town of Marea, north of Aleppo in northwestern Syria.

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