I recently came across a song called “#Syria” by Omar Offendum. Omar Offendum is a Syrian American who was born in Saudi Arabia and raised in Washington D.C. He is a very popular Arab Hip-Hop artist and activist, who has become known for producing music with strong political implications. His song “#Syria” is no different—the repetitive chant that acts as the chorus in this song says, “The People Want The Downfall Of The Regime” obviously referring to Al-Assad’s regime in Syria today. Offendum describes how he hopes his music will promote continued peaceful protest and keep the spirits of these protesters up.
It is extremely interesting to me to see how political and motivating Arab Hip-Hop can be in situations like this. We see American artists make political statements in their music all of the time, but it is not to this extent. Offendum uses a very interesting tactic of placing a hash-tag (#) in the title of the song, because he knows the power of twitter and other social media outlets can play in the spreading information. The song also has English verses along with Arabic verses in order to reach a larger audience in hopes to unite a massive following towards this cause. It is amazing to see the power that something like music can have on a nation, just as it was amazing to see the impact of political cartoons a few weeks ago.
Below is a link to the song and video that goes along with it. The combination of the song and powerful images that go with it makes for an extremely strong message. I can only imagine the feelings a song like this can instill in someone who’s life is engulfed in this conflict.