Egypt: Composer arrested and singer escaped

24 March 2015


On Friday 13 March 2015, two hours after a song called ‘Egypt is Narrow’, (‘Masr ya Dayka’) had been broadcasted on the tv channel Al Sharq, the composer of the song, Ahmed Al Basher, was arrested, and the singer, Ali Al Hendawi, was allegedly being chased by police.

The song ‘Egypt is Narrow’ is a sarcastic parody of another song called ‘Egypt is close’, which was performed by a group of Arab and Egyptian singers to encourage tourism before the recent National Economic Conference.

The satirical song was broadcasted on Al Sharq tv channel. (See newspaper sources below). The ‘amateur’ artists who performed the song stated that they wanted to express the reality, since the country was becoming so narrow-minded that it was close to suffocating them, i.e. the political opposition and the singers.

Security troops raided home
The Egyptian society is divided, and the same is the case with the arts. In particular music. Some singers are singing for the current regime and celebrating its achievements, while others are still supporting the Muslim Brotherhood and deeming the current regime, even after such long time, as a coup.

How police reacts to such cases is critical. In any democratic country it is believed that police must remain neutral and must distance themselves from any political inclination or preference.

On Saturday 14 March 2015, however, Motaz Matar, the tv show host, stated in his show named ‘With Motaz’ on Al Sharq tv channel, that the security troops raided the home of Ahmed Al Besher – the music composer of the song – and arrested him, right after the song had been broadcasted. They took him to an unknown place.

Ali Al Hendawi, the singer of the song, has gone into hiding. He is a rather unpopular singer in Egypt, since he is known for singing on some radical and religious tv-channels and since his songs mostly address ‘radical’ or ‘fanatic’ community viewpoints. The security troops raided his home and destroyed some of its content, stated the tv host as well as websites which are supported by the Muslim Brotherhood.



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