Some musical accompaniment while you pay attention to the electoral developments coming out of Egypt… This awesome song is “Rebel”* by Egyptian hip-hop/rap trio the Arabian Knightz. The chorus samples a portion of a Lauryn Hill (of The Fugees and The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill) performance of her 2002 MTV Unplugged track “ I Find It Hard to Say (Rebel).” This song has stuck with me as one of the classic pieces to come out of the eighteen-day uprising against Mubarak, and remains relevant to revolutionary politics in Egypt right now. This particular song really exemplifies how suited the Arabic language and hip hop are to one another. Give the original Lauryn Hill track a listen, too. What a voice.
The Arabian Knightz code-switch between Egyptian dialect Arabic and English. The first half of the song is in Arabic and the second is in English. Below is my own translation of the first half, which may be imperfect.
Egypt is revolting against the shadows of darkness.
The people want the fall of the regime.
They killed us, they slaughtered us, they imprisoned us, they tortured us, they made us afraid, they terrorized us, and they ignored us.
The Egyptian people will not die.
The desire of the people must prevail.
My country, your country.
My money, your money.
This must end: my slavery and your slavery.
My pains and your pains, we are healing them.
We have peaceful dreams that should be shouted.
In the spirit of Nasser and Salah El Din.
We are calling for freedom, shoulder to shoulder united.
Egyptians are revolting, steadfast in certainty.
Restrained from expression: we are soldiers, we are armored.
How can you today, brother Egyptian, be a barrier to your rights and the rights of your fellow Egyptians?
This is your Egypt and his Egypt!
*The command verb, not the noun.