Making Music with the Revolutionary Artists Union of Egypt
Since massive protests erupted throughout Egypt last January, Egyptians
from all walks of life have taken the streets to demand the end of military
rule. They included artists, actors, singers and musicians who joined with
their fellow revolutionaries in street battles with police, soldiers and thugs.
Last February, when they managed to seize control of Tahrir Square, they
formed an organization, called the Revolutionary Artists Union, painting,
drawing, singing and performing, expressing themselves freely for the first
time in their lives. As a second uprising took place in December, they
to Tahrir Square…
TAREK EL ADY, MUSICIAN: A my name is Tarek el Ady. I’m a music teacher in the Revolutionary Artists Union. My role is to integrate my music with the Revolution and its various events by discussing the political issues or solutions the average Egyptian wants to learn more about, including corruption, theft, etc.
During the early days of the battle, I didn’t bring any of my equipment. As soon as I had heard about the clashes with the police at the square, I immediately joined. It wasn’t quite the right time to play music. I joined to defend my friends, my family, my neighborhood.
As the fighting receded and gradually came to an end, it became so quiet and peaceful. It’s almost like we finally won some of our rights to stay in the square. It was then I brought my oud guitar and we sang political and revolutionary songs, which gives people hope and excitement in these times.
We can say the oud guitar is a medium to communicate or to bring awareness to a group of people to find out what they need to do and which rights they have. The oud guitar can be replaced by a pen or an actor, but what’s important is to get the message across. However, this is the right medium to bring awareness to people, to let them know we have rights, we are being robbed, being fooled, etc. So by playing the oud and some of Sayed Darwish’s songs, I remind people that we have rights, we have dignity, and many other things.
The Revolution hasn’t ended, and it won’t end as long as there is still oppression and a military who refuses to step down. The problem isn’t just with one person or one issue. The problem is with the system. People started to leave their homes and take to the streets once they saw the killings at Mohammed Mahmoud. Before the Mohammed Mahmoud massacres, people thought things had finally calmed down and the economy would finally pick up, etc. But once it happened, people started to come to the streets and collaborate with us. However, up until now most people are still not involved with us. But God willing, people will begin coming to the square and collaborating with us, and the Revolution will continue, we’ll have our rights, and all will be well.
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