|Crimson/ Jabulani R. Barber|
|AP Photo/Ben Curtis|
And of course, the music can tell its own story. Here are links to some of the best songs accompanying the protests:
Mustafa Said singing live in Tahir Square on February 9th, with translation of the lyrics in English:
El Général's outspoken 'Rais Le Bled' (President, Your Country). The power of El Général's words led to him being arrested and questioned by the Tunisian authorities. Translations of the lyrics accompany the video and can also be seen in full at the top of the comments.
Cairo band Arabian Knightz produced this song in the midst of the protests in Egypt: 'Rebel', feat. Lauren Hill.
Ramy Donjewan's 'Against the Government' has been adopted as the 'official' rap song of the protests. Again happily the chorus is translated in the comments below the video.
And musicians in the Arabic rap diaspora are also having their say. With the world becoming ever-closer through social media, artists from around the globe are joining together and voicing their support for the protesters. One group of rap artists who have produced a tribute song which has gone on to be a viral hit: '#Jan 25 Egypt'.
Yusuf Islam (formerly Cat Stevens) is also producing music of solidarity through innovative methods using social media. For his latest song, 'My People', Yusuf asked people to add their voice to a plea for freedom and peace by joining him in song. He uploaded the chorus to his website, and suggested that people email him mp3 tracks of them singing the harmonies. The resulting 'My People' is available to download for free: http://www.yusuf.ae/
Al Jazeera interviewed Yusuf Islam about the making of 'My People' and talked with him about the impact of music as an instrument of social change. Watch it here.
Out in the streets, people were coming up with their own protest songs. Despite their injuries, this group of protesters came up with a catchy satirical tune named "Expell Hosni Mubarak Song":
Clearly, recent events in the Middle East have been partially driven by the internet and social media – a revolutionary way to organize protests and show solidarity. So the final word goes to the extensive documentation of events that has been made possible by these new technologies. Check out I Am Jan 25, an amazing website collecting together hundreds of videos and photos – a revolutionary library: http://iamjan25.com
Keep checking on The Afropop Blog, where we'll keep documenting all these wonderful initiatives.