Syria: Protest singer Ibrahim Kashoush had his throat cut

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Syria:
Protest singer Ibrahim Kashoush had his throat cut

“One of many grim videos to emerge from the Syrian city of Hama purported to show the body of protester Ibrahim Kashoush after his throat had been cut by the security forces,” reported the British newspaper The Guardian on 5 July 2011 at 4:41 PM.

The slogans that the demonstrating crowds in Hama have repeated again and again are from a song which was composed by the locally based folk singer Ibrahim Kashoush (also spelled: Khashoch, Qashosh or Qashoush) — a folklore singer who chanted traditional Aradah tunes as protest songs, adding new lyrics he wrote himself to the old wedding and celebration melodies.

On an evening in late June 2011, Ibrahim’s voice had soared over the crowds on the main square of the city centre of Hama, leading a chorus of thousands of demonstrators singing “Bashar, depart from here”. On Friday 1 July 2011 an even bigger demonstration gathered an estimated 250,000 of the city’s population on the same square.

Four days later, his body was found dumped in the Assi River (also spelled: Isa River), with a big, open and bloody wound in his neck where his adam’s apple and voice chord had been removed. A clear message to those who dare to raise their voice against the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.


WARNING: strong images


Too dangerous and offensive
“Ibrahim Kashoush’s lyrics were too dangerous and offensive, and a reminder that you can lose your life in Syria for being armed with strong will and a vocal spirit,” wrote Freemuse’s source in the Middle East.

Here is an example of Ibrahim Kashoush’s lyrics which gave him hero-status as ’The Singer of the revolution’:

    Bashar, depart from here
    You lost all your legitimacy
    Depart depart, Bashar
    Bashar, you are not one of us
    Take Mahir (Basher’s brother) and depart from here
    Depart depart, Bashar
    Bashar, you are lying
    You had bad speech
    Freedom is very near
    Depart depart, Bashar

The lyrics are from Ibrahim Kashoush’s song ‘Yalla Erhal Ya Bashar’ (It’s time to leave, Bashar), demanding an end to President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

The song gained popularity in June and July 2011 as thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of Hama to protest against the violent crackdowns on civilians in the country. News sites claim that at least 13 people were killed and another 67 were injured during protests in Hama on 5 July 2011.

Hama — a city of resistance
Hama is located north of the capital city Damascus and is the fourth-largest city in Syria. In 1982, the city was subject to an extremely violent raid by the forces of the previous Syrian president, Hafez al-Assad, which left more than 20,000 people dead. The raid was meant to quell a popular uprising by the Sunni Muslim community but it created deep scars in the relationship between citizens of Hama and the regime in Damascus.



This article in Arabic language
ذبح ابراهيم القاشوش، مغني الثورة السوريّ�


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Syria

Protesters singing slogans of Ibrahim Kashoush



The above video is said in a comment on Youtube.com to have cost
the singer, Ibrahim Kashoush, his life. For a version of the
video clip with English translation of the lyrics, click here


See and read more


Now Lebanon – 6 July 2011:

‘Allegedly slaughtered by Assad, but Ibrahim Kashoush’s voice will live on’

The Guardian – 5 July 2011:

‘Syria, Libya and Middle East unrest – 5 July 2011′

Facebook profile for Ibrahim Kashush:

facebook.com/#!/ibrahim.kashush

Latest news on this topic

Google News – continuously updated:

Search: “Ibrahim Qashoush”
Search: “Ibrahim Kashoush”

Remix of Ibrahim Kashoush’s singing

UPDATE
The nightingale of the revolution

The Associated Press interviewed Saleh Abu Yaman, a close friend of Ibrahim Qashoush, who gave new and more detailed information about the musician and the murder case. Excerpts:

“The 42-year-old Qashoush, a father of three boys, was a fireman in the central Syrian city of Hama who wrote poetry in his spare time, said a close friend, Saleh Abu Yaman. Before the uprising began in mid-March, he’d write about love or hard economic times.
“All the poems and songs he wrote were by instinct. He used to be sitting with his friends and then start reciting a poem,” Abu Yaman said.
(…)
On July 3, Qashoush disappeared.
Abu Yaman says he was told by witnesses that Qashoush was walking to work in central Hama when a white vehicle stopped, several men jumped out and muscled him into the car. They then sped away.
“We immediately knew he was captured by security agents,” Abu Yaman told The Associated Press.Early the next day, residents found his body in the Orontes River, which cuts through Hama.
(…)
Qashoush’s case appeared distinct. Many prominent activists have been arrested, but there have been few instances of them being swiftly killed and dumped in a way so overtly intended to send a message.
(…)
Thousands attended his funeral on July 4, at Hama’s northern cemetery of Hamra was attended of thousands of Hama’s residents. Crowds have sung his songs at protests since. A video posted on a Facebook page dedicated to Qashoush proclaims, “They killed him in order to silence him. They don’t know that he lives in the hearts of millions.”
“He was the nightingale of the revolution,” Abu Yaman said.”

Source

CBS News – 28 July 2011:
‘Syrian uprising songwriter meets gruesome end’

UPDATE
More information on this topic

Sydney Morning Herald – 11 July 2011:

‘Syria’s massacre city again the bloody focus’

Support Kurds in Syria – 10 July 2011:

‘A tribute to Ibrahim Qashoush who had his voicebox removed after singing at demonstrations’

The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information – 10 July 2011:

‘Syrian singer had his neck cut for singing a song titled “Leave us, Bashar”‘

Index on Censorship – 8 July 2011:

‘Silencing the voice of freedom in Syria’

In Danish language

Dagbladet Information – 8 July 2011:

‘Det syriske opr


International PEN calls for action

PEN International’s Writers in Prison Committee (WiPC) is appalled by the murder on 5 July 2011 of poet and song writer Ibrahim Qashoush, known as ‘the singer of the revolution’, and the committee has distributed a press release with this message:

PEN urges the Syrian authorities to conduct a full and impartial investigation into Qashoush’s death and to bring the perpetrators of the crime to justice.

According to PEN’s information, Qashoush was kidnapped on 5 July 2011 from his home in Hama city, north of the capital city of Damascus, by the security forces after he had performed anti-government songs at a Friday demonstration in the city. His body was found in the Al-Assi river on 6 July 2011 with his throat cut. Qashoush was known for his political songs that were critical of the Syrian authorities, and which he had performed regularly to protestors throughout the uprising. One of Qashoush’s songs, “Leave us, Bashar”, directly addresses the President and ridicules his talk of reform. Another song is entitled “Syria is longing for freedom” (see below).

Background

Anti-government protests were sparked in mid- March 2011 and have since spread across the country. Mass arrests have been taking place and security officers have responded to the continuing protests with excessive force, using tear gas and live bullets to disperse demonstrators. Scores of civilians have reportedly been killed and many more wounded.

With the internet and media already severely curtailed in recent years, the Syrian authorities have imposed even greater restrictions on freedom of expression and assembly in reaction to recent events. Foreign reporters and correspondents have been asked to leave the country and access to any independent media is denied.

PEN is alarmed about the reported mass arrests and disappearances of civilians including journalists, bloggers, writers and activists in the crackdown on peaceful anti-government protests, and continues to call for the immediate and unconditional release of all those currently detained in Syria in violation of Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) to which Syria is a signatory.

An excerpt of Ibrahim Qashoush’s poem follows, translated from the Arabic by Ghias Aljundi:
Syria is longing for freedom
Syria is demanding freedom
We will oust Bashar
With our strong will alone

We are Muslims and Christians
Demanding freedom
Greetings to Daraa city
Who started this peaceful uprising

When we demanded freedom
They called us terrorists
When we demanded our rights back
They called us fundamentalists

It is written on our national flag that
Bashar has betrayed the nation
It is written on our flag that
Our aim is bring the regime down

It is written on our flag
That Syrian state-owned media is damned
Death rather than humiliation
Syria is looking for freedom

Useful links:

International Freedom of Expression Exchange: The global network for free expression
http://www.ifex.org/syria/2011/07/13/assad_propaganda_war/
International Freedom of Expression Exchange: The global network for free expression (IFEX (12 July 2011):
http://www.ifex.org/syria/2011/07/12/khashoch_killed/
Translation of Qashoush’s songs, YouTube:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xCS8SsFOBAI

RECOMMENDED ACTION

Please send appeals immediately to the Syrian authorities:

· Condemning the murder of poet and song writer Ibrahim Qashoush;

· Urging the Syrian authorities to ensure that a full and impartial investigation is conducted into the killing, and that Qashoush’s killers be brought to justice.

· Condemning the widespread arrest of journalists and bloggers for reporting on the recent protests, which the WiPC believes is a clear violation of their right to freedom of expression;

Calling on the Syrian authorities to investigate allegations of torture of detainees;

Calling for the release of all those currently detained in violation of Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) to which Syria is a signatory.

APPEALS TO:

His Excellency President Bashar al-Assad
President of the Republic
Presidential Palace
Abu Rummaneh, Al-Rashid Street
Damascus, Syrian Arab Republic
Fax: + 963 11 332 3410

His Excellency Brigadier Mohamed Shaar
Minister of Interior, Ministry of Interior
Merjeh Circle
Damascus, Syrian Arab Republic
Fax: + 963 11 222 3428
Email: admin@civilaffair-moi.gov.sy

Please copy appeals to the diplomatic representative for Syria in your country if possible.

For further information please contact Ghias Aljundi at PEN International Writers in Prison Committee, Brownlow House, 50/51 High Holborn, London WC1V 6ER, Tel.+ 44 (0) 20 7405 0338, Fax: +44 (0) 20 7405 0339, email: Ghias.Aljundi@pen-international.org

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