“Prison Doesn’t Kill, Loneliness Does”: Film-maker Who Mocked The Egyptian President Al-Sisi Dies In Prison, For a Song Calls Him “BALAHA“.
This song has more than 6 Million views.
After one month from releasing a video-clip for the Egyptian singer Ramy Essam, Shady Habash (24 yo) a youth Egyptian film-maker was arrested on March 2018. Shady was imprisoned without trial for more than two years.
On first May Shady died in his cell, in a maximum-security prison complex, as a result of a health crisis. His lawyer Ahmed El-Khawaga said the cause of death was not immediately clear.
“Prison doesn’t kill, loneliness does,” he wrote, describing what he called his struggle to “stop yourself from going mad or dying slowly because you’ve been thrown in a room two years ago and forgotten.”Wrote Shady in the last letter from prison on October.
Instead, the singer Ramy Essam is exilian in Sweden. He continues his battle for Human Rights and political freedom in Egypt with a beautiful rock music flavoured with Arabic style and influence of hip-hop. He’s a famous singer-activist known in Egypt since the Egyptian revolution in 2011.
Galal El-Behairy, who wrote the song performed in the video was also arrested in 2018 for “insulting security forces” and “disseminating false news”.
The song is mocking Al-Sisi and the political situation in Egypt. In fact the song’s lyric attack with “Balaha” it means “a Date” (the fruit). It’s a derisive nickname given to Al-Sisi by his detractors in reference to a character in an Egyptian movie known for being a notorious liar.
The lyrics of the song say: “OH SHINY BROWNY MR. DATES, 4 YEARS HAVE FINALLY PASSED IN DISGRACE…” referring to the end of the first term of Egyptian President (or Dictator) Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi and criticism of his candidacy for a second term.
The video has seen millions of times, showing the power of a free Internet despite rising calls for creeping forms of censorship from some politicians and academics in the world.
Al-Sisi built 19 prison complex during his government and there are 60’000 political prisoners detained in Egypt, according to the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information. The interesting part is that Al-Sisi denies publicly to the world that Egypt is holding any political detainee (as a “Balaha”).
In Habash’s memory and in support for all of those still fighting for free expression in Egypt, Ramy Essam released a song where he publishes last Shadi’s letter (with sub):
If You’d like to listen more beautiful songs by Ramy Essam we made a short playlist below there:
Thanks for reading.