What Drove Violations

8 February 2017

ART UNDER THREAT IN 2016: WHAT DROVE VIOLATIONS The following section of the Art under Threat in 2016 report explores the issues and tendencies that drove governments and other groups to limit artistic expression. TABLE OF CONTENTS * Click on the following titles to be taken to that part of …

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INSIGHT publication: Targeting the Arts 2015

18 May 2016

» Read on Targeting the Arts Documenting incidents of censorship has never been enough. From the very beginning Freemuse has attempted to put censorship of music and arts into a larger context. In 2015 we introduced INSIGHT – a series of articles providing readers with analytical stories on censorship of …

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Syria: Fleeing civil war, piano player travels towards Germany

21 September 2015

AFP’s Rana Moussaoui and NBC News’ Jacob Rascon have published new reports of what further happened to 27-year-old piano player Aeham al-Ahmad, whose piano was burned by jihadists in April 2015 after his songs of hope amid the rubble of Syria’s largest Palestinian camp had become a social media sensation. …

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The Syrian uprising – art in the diaspora

28 April 2015

If there is a place where using the word “revolution” in the context of Syria does not result in endless and highly heated conversations, that is in arts and culture. Unlike politics – a slippery slope terrain where the 2011 Syrian uprising against Bashar al-Asad can take unexpected shapes and …

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Syria: Islamic State issues ban on songs by American singer

28 April 2015

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) has distributed many leaflets in Syria to prohibit youth from listening to the songs of the American singer Madonna, reported Al Arabiya, MBC and over 40 other news providers and websites. ISIL stated that Madonna’s songs are …

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Syrian artists standing against tyranny

27 April 2015

The nationwide uprising that swept through Syria in March 2011 has created a rift between the country’s artists and intellectuals. Some of whom took the regime’s side, some preferred to remain neutral, while others chose to join the revolution since its early beginnings. However, their support of the uprising has …

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Syria: Documentary film about Syrian songwriter

25 March 2015

The 30-minute documentary ‘Morning fears, Night Chants’ from 2012 about a young Syrian songwriter touches upon a number of artsfreedom issues, such as the important role of artists during the Arabic revolutions, the threats and challenges they face and especially the extra challenges and censorship women artists face from family, …

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Syria/USA: Exiled pianist portrayed in remarkable documentary

30 January 2015

National Geographic released its documentary film ‘Notes For My Homeland’ featuring USA-based, Syrian composer and pianist Malek Jandali’s musical journey to Carnegie Hall. » See the film here “The Syrian-American composer and pianist has performed in leading concert halls around the world and has also written a song so powerful that …

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Syria: Surviving civil war with heavy metal

15 April 2014

Armed with a cellphone and borrowed camera, the young Syrian Monzer Darwish seeks refuge in producing a ‘rockumentary’ about Heavy Metal music in Syria. His documentary film called ‘Syrian Metal Is War’ is currently being edited in Lebanon. A trailer was published on in January 2014: Syrian Metal Is …

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Syria: The soundtrack of Syrian resistance

2 March 2014

Click on photo to see source:

Music has been at the core of the Syrian uprising since its beginning in 2011, and for the same reason musicians have been killed and are being silenced by force. It is part of an attempt to impose political and religious agendas, reports Spanish-Syrian activist Leila Nachawati, who is a …

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Syria: Music banned in northern province

23 January 2014

In a statement, the organisation The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant has “banned music and songs in cars, at parties, in shops and in public, as well as photographs of people in shop windows,” warning that “whoever violates these rules will subject themselves to the necessary Sharia punishment.” “Songs …

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Syrian pianist Malek Jandali: “We need freedom for true art”

17 September 2013

Malek Jandali

This post is cross-posted via Global Voices Online from Syria Untold. When Syrians took to the streets in March 2011, they rebelled not only against the ruling Assad family, but also against the obscurantism that had been imposed on them for decades. Art as a whole, and music in particular, have …

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Syria: Art, creative resistance and active citizenship

7 November 2012

The links between creative resistance and active citizenship, art and civic conscience have been a strong component of the Syrian uprising. Finally, citizens have turned into peer-creators and users, who have now the tools to express their creativity.     BY DONATELLA DELLA RATTA • OCTOBER 2012 • [A4 PDF] …

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Fear, threats and self-censorship among Syrian rappers

22 October 2012

Syrian rappers are split about how to engage in the fronts of an uprising that have turned to civil war. President Bashar al-Assad’s fear-based society is making everyone think twice.   Refugees of Rap, a group of rappers from the Palestinian refugee camp Yarmouk in Syria, has a new album …

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Syria: 35 top artists reported to have left the country

26 October 2011

  Within just three months, 35 artists from the first row of stars in Syria have decided to move to recidences outside of the country, reported on 24 October 2011. According to a press statement from the Syrian Association of Artists, this is a signal from these artists of …

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Syria: Ibrahim Kashoush – Silencing the singer

21 September 2011

An article by the editor of the Los Angeles-based Al Jadid magazine, Elie Chalala, who has compiled exerpts of Arab writers revealing aspects of the late singer Ibrahim Kashoush’s life. “A day after he had sang in protest in the square of his hometown, Ibrahim Kashoush was found dead, floating …

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Syria: Parents beaten because of their son’s music

3 August 2011

Malek Jandali, a pianist who performed at a rally in Washington in support of the Syrian opposition, blamed his work for what he said was an attack by Syrian government security forces on his parents on 28 July 2011.       Malek Jandali, who is a US citizen, told …

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Syria: Protest singer Ibrahim Kashoush had his throat cut

6 July 2011

      “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 …

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Syria: 29-year-old musician arrested

18 May 2011

  Musician and composer Wael Adham Alkak, 29, is reported to have been arrested by Syrian authorities on 10 May 2011 at 9 PM at the Syrian-Lebanese border. He has since then been held incommunicado at an unknown location. According to Freemuse’s source, Wael Adham Alkak was arrested by the Syrian Secret …

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Syria: Danish pop singer interrogated by secret service

3 May 2011

Mazen Ismail, a 25-year-old Danish pop singer and a student at the University of Damascus studying Arabic as an exchange student in Syria, was picked up by armed guard and interrogated by the Syrian secret service, reported the Danish newspaper BT During a three-hour interrogation, located on a small chair …

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Syria: Musicians call for outright revolution

6 April 2011

  The lyrics to the latest underground anthem of the Syrian uprising are bold and could galvanize a movement that has spread in fits, wrote Los Angeles Times on 5 April 2011 “Statement number one / the Syrian people are revolting…” The song ‘Biyan raqam wahid’ (‘Communique No 1’ or …

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Syria: Kurdish singer Bave Selah released

8 March 2011

Bavê Selah was released on 5 March 2011, according to ‘Abd al-Rahman Mohammed ‘Omar, also spelled Abdulrahman Omer, and known by his artist name Bavê Selah, has received phone calls from many friends asking how he is. According to he is fine, and he thanks everyone for their …

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Syria: Campaign for singer who has been arrested by security agents

23 February 2011

Members of the Syrian security authorities have arrested the Kurdish singer Bavê Selah in his appartment in Aleppo on 24 January 2011, reported Kurdwatch. Amnesty International has started a campaign for his release. The reason for the arrest and Bavê Selah’s current whereabouts remain unknown. He was deported to an …

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7 April 2010

Sorted alphabetical by author’s first name: Somalia: Music ban on radio stations was expected On 3 April 2010, the commander for Hisbul Islam in Mogadishu issued a 10-day ultimatum to radio stations to stop broadcasting music or face Sharia-based penalties By Abdulkadir M. Wa’ays 07 April 2010 Somalia: Music suppressor …

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Syria: Interrogated and harassed for listening to metal music

29 March 2010

  Young people in Syria are interrogated by the secret police if they listen to heavy metal music, writes Romuald Stankiewicz in this personal travel report from the country. By Romuald Stankiewicz I met Mohammed in Damascus. After finishing high school he came to this city for a callback from …

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Syria: Musicians arrested for singing Kurdish songs

18 January 2010

Seven men, including members of a wedding music band, were arrested at a Kurdish wedding party where they were singing. They are accused of singing patriotic Kurdish songs. The Kurdish organisation for the defence of human rights and public freedoms in Syria, DAD, reported that a patrol of the Syrian …

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Syria: ‘Silenced voices’

7 November 2006

In Syria, music is a mirror which shows the soul of the listener. The hedonist youth of Damascus sees fuel for the fun of their parties, fundamentalists suspect moral corruption, the authocratic regime fears the output of subversive minds. And just a few young musicians perceive a magic language of …

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Sufi Soul

19 December 2005

  ‘The Mystic Music Of Islam’ — a documentary produced for British Channel 4. The Sufi voice is increasingly under challenge within the Muslim world and beyond… Directed by Simon Broughton 48 minutes Syria, Turkey, Pakistan, Morocco. 2005 Read more…  

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Syria: Music censorship film wins award

28 November 2005

  Syrian film director Mohamad Malas has won the Jury Prize for his film “Bab El Makam” at the fifth Marrakech International Film Festival, held on November 11-19, 2005. “Bab El Makam” tells the story of a young woman, who struggles against a society which does not accept her love …

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