VIDEO: New song by Ramy Essam captures anger of young revolutionaries in polarised Egypt

Ahram Online, Sunday 26 Jan 2014

Ramy Essam's new song, 'We Don't Belong to Them,' gives voice to those caught in the middle of Egypt's Islamist-military tug of war

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Still from music video of Ramy Essam's new song 'We Don't Belong to Them'

Egyptian singer and songwriter Ramy Essam, who first became famous for turning revolutionary chants into songs and performing them in Tahrir in the first 18 days of the 2011 revolution, has released a new song titled 'We Don't Belong to Them.'

The song, written by Amgad El-Kahwagi and composed by Essam, was released on YouTube on Friday, 24 January, just one day before the third anniversary of the January 25 Revolution. 

This year witnessed a remarkably different commemoration of the revolution, as Tahrir Square — the epicentre of the uprising — was overflowing with supporters of Minister of Defence General Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, and was home to several performances of a celebratory nature, which was taken badly by many young revolutionaries who believe that the revolution still has a long way to go before achieving its goals.

The anniversary also came one day after the biggest series of explosions to hit Cairo so far, including a blast that caused significant damage to Cairo's Security Directorate headquarters, leaving five dead and deepening the state of polarisation already felt in Egyptian society between masses backing the military and supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood and deposed president Mohamed Morsi.

In the midst of this political binary, Egyptians whose views are firmly against both the Muslim Brotherhood and military rule find themselves lost and alienated, bullied out of any space where they could freely express their opinions and join forces to formulate an alternative for the country's future that does not include being ruled by an Islamist or a military regime.  

Against angry guitar riffs, Essam's song gives voice to this segment of the population, asserting "We don't belong to their era or their's either; we're the burning light that exposes the beast."

The lyrics also criticise widespread eagerness to once again support the military, who the people had revolted against in 2011, as soon as the Muslim Brotherhood made mistakes. According to Essam, and revolutionaries with similar opinions, the solution is not this or that; but a third option. "And after all, long live the nation's pride; a nation that won't retreat to the old; when the present's flaws start to show."

Central to the current fragmented state that Egypt finds itself in are the cultural and intellectual elite, whose views are more often than not disappointing to young revolutionaries like Essam for unhesitantly siding with the state, even as it violated freedoms and human rights.

In a rough, menacing voice, Essam threatens: "And next in turn to be overthrown, the revolution's rotten complicit elite."

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