Rais Lebled: Speaking Out for Libya (Muftah.org)

February 20, 2011 (Original LinkMuftah.org):  “Look what is happening/Miseries everywhere, Mr. President/I talk with no fear/Although I know I will get only trouble/I see injustices everywhere.”  These lyrics from the song “Rais Lebled,” by young Tunisian rapper El Général, embody the spark that ignited Tunisia’s “Jasmine Revolution” this past January. Songs like this have become a rallying cry, spreading across North Africa and the Middle East and becoming a collective call for change, as Arabs of all classes from Algeria to Bahrain clamor for the end of dictatorships that have defined the social and political lives of entire generations. When Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak stepped down on February 11th following weeks of nationwide protests and 30 years of rule, the world was awakened to a new kind of pan-Arabism: one that is younger, technologically savvy, craving opportunities, and less tied to religion as the sole organizing or identifying factor. This generation of Arabs wants concrete change and agency in directing its own government(s), with the technological interfaces of today giving the people a new means by which to articulate their demands.