Article published in April 18 2011
Syrian rap song “Biyan Raqam Wahid”, translated as “Communiqué No. 1” or “Statement No. 1”, was released online amid demonstrations and violent regime repressions on Syrian people.
The song calls for revolt against sectarian scaremongering, violent repression, and corruption.
Statement No. 1 aims at mobilizing dissent with its opening chorus:
“Statement No. 1/ The Syrian people won’t be degraded/ Statement No. 1/ We won’t remain like this / Statement No. 1/ From Houran came the good news / Statement No. 1/ The Syrian people are revolting …”
With a lyrical salute to Darraa, where the recent calls for freedom in Houran began and encountered a violent government crackdown, the song also evokes a longer history of dissent and repression:
“You exterminated Hama as if it were nothing / Today our rights are in our hands and we will not forgive”
Even though it is aimed at a younger generation, the song suggests a sustained history of repression does not make the memory of Hama, where revolt was crushed with a government massacre in 1982, easily “exterminated”. Initiating the song is the refusal of state “silence”—censorship, surveillance, the anonymity that the performers ironically cannot shake—for which Syria is acutely notorious nationalizes the protests, spread from the marginalized south to the capital of Damascus:
“We live in silence/ It’s been years / how long do we have to stay like this—dead.”
Underlying the communiqué-style set of demands sung in Syrian Arabic to the government is a mobilizing message of Syria’s own global resonance to listeners:
You sold the Golan for cheap / You sabotaged the cause and defiled it / History shows that no oppressor ever lasted/ We will realize our dream of freedom even if it costs blood / The government is destined to fall / The king either flees or is buried.
True inspiration and now listen: