Egypt: Shaaban Sings for Obama

Shaaban Abdel Rehim, the illiterate Egyptian singer whose songs are mainly about political and social issues, has released a new song about the new American President-Elect Barack Obama.

The Rag Blog quoted Dr Hasan Qayed al Subaihi, an assistant professor of Mass Communication at the UAE University, saying:

Shabaan Abdel Raheem is a popular Egyptian singer who has developed a style inherited from the musicians of the Egyptian countryside. Abdel Raheem worked as a dry cleaner for many years while keeping his talents for the entertainment of his local neighbourhood. Now his songs are heard across Egypt and the Arab world. He sings about important issues that touch the hearts of the Arab people and many admire him for his openness.
He has sung about Israel, the Palestinian occupation and the Iraq war, and he now sings about Barack Obama. The lyrics of this enthralling song about the next President of the United States echo the way the Arab world relates to Obama’s presidency.

Also Zeinobia wrote here:

Shabola released a new song about Obama and the over joy reaction for his victory in the Arab World.Shabola believes that we should not put a lot of hope on Obama because the dream can turn in to a nightmare like what he chanted.

Zeinobia tried to translate the song into English in her post.

The Rag continues:

Before the US elections, the majority of Arabs were vigorously supporting Obama, putting a lot of faith in his ability to help to resolve the situation in Iraq and mediating between the Arabs and Israelis. This desperate hope derives from disappointing past experiences that have led Arabs to believe that the US, for a number of reasons, will side with the Israelis.

Now the Arab public is divided into a dozen or more schools of thought about Obama. The main group belong to those who believe that no American government is ever likely to show fairness towards the Arabs in their conflict with Israel.
After the election, this group has started to become even more pessimistic. They believe that it is better to deal with a clear enemy out in the open rather than a disguised, hidden foe – and Obama they identify as one of the latter. Their negativity increased when the President-elect chose Rahm Emanuel, his Jewish friend, as his chief of staff in the White House.
Emanuel has strong personal and family links with Israel, which leads this group to believe that the Obama White House is likely to be more supportive of the Israelis than even the Bush administration. These suspicions will only increase if Obama appoints other Jews to senior positions on his staff. After past disappointing experiences with Henry Kissinger, Dennis Ross and Madeleine Albright, many Arabs are now expecting the worst from Emanuel.

* This post also appears on Global Voices Online.

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