January 21, 2004 Special Dispatch No. 647

Popular Egyptian Singer's New Song: 'Hey People It was Only a Tower and I Swear by God that They [the U.S.] are the Ones Who Pulled It Down'

January 21, 2004
Egypt | Special Dispatch No. 647

The following are excerpts from a review in the Cairo Times of popular Egyptian singer Sha'ban Abd Al-Rahim's new album: [1]

"[Popular] singer Sha'ban Abd Al-Rahim is making headlines again with his announcement that he has put the final touches on his latest album Mahibish Al Karasi (I Don't Like the Chairs) — possibly referring to political positions as opposed to furniture. The new album includes a new ditty about the U.S., Israel, and the road map.

"'Kharittat Al Tariq' (Road Map) is the name of the song which gives voice to widespread views in the Egyptian street regarding the September 11th events and the U.S. - Iraq standoff. The song talks about the road map and includes quotes from U.S. President George W. Bush about the plan's implementation. The song goes on to describe how America is the spitting image of Israel and it carries out its desires, making the world into a 'jungle.' But it does not stop at that point. Abd Al-Rahim goes on to boldly sing that the USA is the perpetrator of the September 11th attacks.

"'Hey people it was only a tower and I swear by God that they are the ones who pulled it down.' Abd Al-Rahim further sings that they purposely did it to make people think that Arabs and Muslims are terrorists and were behind that disaster. Now the U.S. can do what it pleases to the Arab world since everyone thinks they are to blame.

"The rest of the song includes lines like 'sometimes he [Bush] says Iran and sometimes he says Syria,' and 'he shortens his speech if someone says Korea.'

"The song is written by Abd Al-Rahim's long-time collaborator, songwriter Islam Khalil, an Arabic teacher at a primary school in Al Qanater in the Al-Qalyoubiya governorate. Khalil wrote earlier Abdel Rahim's hits like 'I Hate Israel' and 'Striking Iraq.'

"The album includes another nine songs that reflect the mood of the Egyptian street… Despite the fact that the album has not been released yet, the road map song has been a success on the music scene. Abd Al-Rahim has been doing publicity for his new song by singing it at wedding parties and in TV interviews.

"One fan, Muhammad Ibrahim, told the Cairo Times that he knows the lines of the song by heart and he is proud of it. 'To me, this is the first public and daring accusation made against America concerning the September 11th attacks and the song will soon be the number one hit in the Arab world,' he said, pointing out that Abd Al-Rahim deserves to be recognized by all as the number one political singer in the Arab world — a reputation he already has on the street. "Abd Al-Rahim recently announced that the delay in releasing the album, which was originally due out this month, is because he is working on a song dedicated to Foreign Minister Ahmad Maher to show his sympathy for what happened in Al Aqsa Mosque. He described the attack on Maher as 'irresponsible,' adding that 'the guy was trying to help the Palestinians but some of them humiliated him.'"

[1] Cairo Times (Egypt), January 15-22, 2004.

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