Egypt: Ramy Essam’s concert at Cairo University abrubtly closed



Ramy Essam’s concert at Cairo University abrubtly closed

On 26 October 2011, Ramy Essam’s concert at the Cairo University Medicine School was abrubtly stopped by the Dean of the university.

By Freemuse

The concert took place in connection with an opening event for an exhibition entitled ‘Transition stage, police and thieves’, and it included a concert by Egypts famous ‘freedom singer’ and newly appointed Freemuse Award-winner Ramy Essam.

The following report is based on information from his manager, Mariam Emad.
Ramy Essam performed his first song, and as he was introducing the next song, the director of the emergency department in the university hospital, Dr. Moetaz, raised his voice. Ramy was about to sing a song called ‘The Donkey’, referring to ex-President Mubarak, and as he was talking about this on the stage, Dr. Moetaz began complaining loudly, insulting the musician by saying, “You rubbish! You think you are capable of changing and fixing Egypt?”

Ramy tried to ignore him and began singing.

From the side of the stage, his manager was hinting to Ramy that he should skip the third song on the set list, entitled ‘Down down, premium council of the armed forces’ because of previous experiences with this song which often has been a cause for vivid discussions. His fans in the audience were already aware that Ramy was intending to skip this song, because he usually starts his concerts with it, and at this point some of the students began singing it: “Down down council…”.

A big crowd of university students had gathered, after they heard that Ramy would be coming, and more and more showed up as as the concert was proceeding.

Disrupting the concert
Then the university’s Dean, Dr. Hussain, appeared. He is a very respected person in the university, but when he ordered the organisers to stop the concert immediately, they refused. He was repeating his order, raising his voice to the point where he was creating a scene. The manager went over to Ramy and told him to stop singing and leave the stage, but Ramy refused. At that time Ramy was in the middle of singing a song entitled ‘The martyrs’.

“We can sing, all of us, without using the guitar,” he said.

As the verbal struggle between the organisers, the Dean and Dr. Moetaz increased to a disturbing level, and Moetaz was shouting, “Why do you want the council to leave? It is the only thing we have left!”, and also said several insulting statements directed at Ramy and his manager. Ramy got upset, stopped singing, and was about to go into the discussion. But his manager, Mariam Emad, wouldn’t let him do that.

As the audience saw Ramy packing his guitar to leave the hall, they started yelling, “Ramy, stay! You! Go!” and, “Down down council…”, “Ramy, proceed!”

No need for yelling
The Dean explained to the organisers that they had no permission to make such an exhibition or a concert. The students replied that this wasn’t correct because they had obtained all of the necessary permissions, and actually a number of other singers had already been performing there as part of the event.

Mariam Emad went to the Dean and thanked him for having Ramy, and at the same time apologized for the disturbance. She told him that they would be leaving and there was no need for yelling.

Until the last moment the organisers were arguing with Dr. Hussain and Dr. Moetaz. Ramy Essam packed his guitar and equipment and left immediately without talking to the doctors. As they were leaving the university premises, a couple of doctors came and apologized.

Ramy will sing
“We are sad and ashamed of what happened,” told Mariam Emad some hours later:
“We have had a call from one of the organisers at the university — he wants us to come and perform there again tomorrow. And several students have been expressing their support, saying that, Ramy will sing whether you like it or not!

And they are right: “I will keep singing what I believe in, and if that’s causing anyone a hard time, well, then that is their problem. They will have to deal with it!,” stated Ramy Essam.

Four Egyptian newspapers reported about the event on the following day.
Ahram Online – 27 October 2011:
Hours after being awarded Freemuse Award, Ramy Essam’s concert is interrupted

Ramy Essam

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