In the early days of the Tunisian revolution, back in December 2011, Tunisian rapper El General (Hamada Ben Aoun) wrote a song called “Rayes Lebled” (president of our country). In it, El General hurls his pain and frustration at longtime dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, urging him to see that the Tunisian people “are living like dogs” and they “drink from a cup of suffering.” Shortly after, authorities arrested 20-year-old El General and interrogated his music after he posted the song on Facebook. “I'm only telling the truth,” he reportedly told police when asked about his lyrics.
Music–mostly hip hop–has played a large role in the Arab Spring whether through emboldening protests or rallying international support via Youtube and Facebook.
The song starts with the most famous revolutionary slogan, coined in Tunisia, and chanted by protesters across the Arab world – “the people want the regime to fall.” The oft-repeated mantra, directed at Syrian ruler Bashar Al-Assad, turns into the chorus of the song, as Offendum begins to rap about Syrian unity, probably in reaction to the multitude of sectarian and ethnic divisions in Syria currently plaguing the opposition movement to Assad.