A commemoration for El-Sheikh Imam turns to a political rally

Ahram Online, Monday 11 Jun 2012

A celebration in commemoration of the revolutionary icon El-Sheikh Imam, turns to a political rally in downtown Cairo


A celebration in commemoration for the late revolutionary singer and composer El-Sheikh Imam turned to a political rally calling for a boycott of the presidential runoffs on 16 and 17 June.

The celebration took place in front of the Merit publishing house on 10 June, in which hundreds participated. El-Sheikh Imam died on 7 June 1995. Together with dissident poet Ahmed Foad Negm, he collaborated on several songs which have become part of Egypt's repertoire of protest music. Foad Negm also attended the celebration.

Several bands and singers participated including Eskendrella, Baheya band, the singers Ramy Essam, Azza Balbaa and Ahmed Ismail and the poets Ibrahim Abdel Fattah, Ahmed Haddad and Ramy Yehia.

The celebration included revolutionary songs like Ya Masr Koumy Sheddy El Heel (Rise Egypt) Etgamao Al-Oshak Fi Segn Al-Kalaa (The lovers meet in Kalaa prison), Guevara Maat (Guevara died) and El Bahr Beydhak Leeh (Why is the sea laughing). As well as songs, there was spontaneous chanting against the ruling Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) and the second round of elections, in which former Mubarak's last prime minister Ahmed Shafiq and the Muslim Brotherhood's Mohamed Morsi are facing one another.

Many of the attendees distributed flyers and stickers calling for boycott, refusing to choose between an old regime figure and the Muslim Brotherhood. 

Born Imam Mohamed Ahmed Eissa, El-Sheikh Imam grew up in the village of Abu Al-Numrus in a poor family and lost his sight as a child. At the age of five he started learning Quran recitation and memorised it, and later studied music under Darwish El-Hareeri. In 1962 he met dissident poet Ahmed Foad Negm and the two remain iconic revolutionary figures.

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