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Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Singer satirizes PA, so Ramallah police stop his show

From (of all places) The Electronic Intifada:

At the Palestinian New Year’s festival at Arafat Square in Ramallah, musician Basel Zayed and his group Turab were prevented from completing their music concert by the Palestinian police because the group sang “El-Doleh” ; a satirical song about the Palestinian promised state. The police issued a statement regarding preventing Basel Zayed’s group from continuing their concert, the statement says that the police reacted in order to maintain security because the song has provoked the feelings of the audience. Basel Zayed has strictly denied that his song has provoked anyone’s feelings; rather he said that the audience were happy and large crowds were enjoying the concert.

Basel Zayed’s group, along with many other Palestinian artists, musicians, and dance troupes, were part of the Palestinian public New Year’s festival held in Ramallah. This festival was entirely organized on a short notice by Palestinian youth as a response to some New Year’s parties hosting Israeli singers and performers in Ramallah.

Refuting the official statement issued by the police, Basel said that audience were happy and unprovoked at all by his song, he is used to sing this song at many concerts and no one has ever had any issue with it.

The song “Doleh”, as Basel puts it, is a sarcastic commentary about the state promised for the Palestinian people. It is also a message to the Palestinian leadership and the world that Palestinians don’t want half states and half solutions anymore. He continues to say that the song also raises the issues of freedom of speech and questions the kind of a state that is being negotiated on the Palestinians’ behalf by people who do not officially represent the Palestinian people.
Notice that the article has no problem with the same police stopping a concert by an Israeli Druse singer - because he was Israeli.

Like all hypocrites, Electronic Intifada is all for freedom of expression - but only for those they agree with.

Al Arabiya covers both events as well.