The “Voice” of the Arab Street Speaks

Yesterday’s episode of Al-Itjiah Al-Muakis wasn’t as good as I thought it would be.  The  formal debate question “are the Democrats and Republicans two sides of the same coin?”  The actual debate was more centered around the question “will Obama’s be different than his predecessors?”  Amin Amil, an Egyptian scholar, argued no- US interests are fixed.  An Arab based in Europe was more optimistic, arguing that at least Bush is gone so that in itself is a good thing and  Obama will adopt a more unilateral or negotiatig position.  Maybe this is my sense, but  it seemed that Faysal Al-Qasim, the moderator, generally sided with the Egyptian. 

Speaking of Egyptians, the “voice” of the Arab street, Shaben Abdel Rahman, has just issued a songmocking Obama:

A famous Egyptian singer is weighing in on Barack Obama‘s US presidential win with a new song warning Obama fans in Egypt that President George W. Bush’s successor may prove something of a letdown.

Shaban Abdul Rahim, best known for his hit single in Egypt “I hate Israel,” says in his new song: “We hope that Obama won’t be like Bush; that son of a crazy woman,” the English-language Egyptian Mail reported on Tuesday.

But he adds: “Now Bush is gone, and Obama has come. So what? Palestine is still occupied and Iraq is destroyed.”

He goes on to caution, “Neither Bush nor Obama will be your mama.”

Abdul Rahim’s song was penned after Obama’s victory received a mostly warm welcome in Egypt after eight years of Bush’s unpopular presidency.

“Do not expect Obama to be your future hero, or a new Saladin,” Abdul Rahim sings, referring to the 12th century Muslim ruler who fought to expel the Crusaders from Jerusalem.

Abdul Rahim’s best known hit from 2003, in which he sang “I hate Israel, but I love (Egyptian President) Hosni Mubarak because of his big mind,” led fast food chain McDonald’s to cancel an advertisement featuring him.

If these lyrics sound  unsophisticated its because they are- Shaben would be the Arab social equivalent of what is known in the US as “white-trash.”    That being said, he is widely popular with “the masses.”