When in 2018 Egyptian musician Ramy Essam published the music video to his single “Balaha”, Egyptian authorities arrested the poet behind the lyrics, the music video director and Essam’s former social media manager.
Essam is well known for his participation in the protests of 2011 after writing the song “Irhal” which became an anthem for the revolution. During the protests he was arrested and tortured by Egyptian authorities.
Currently his creative collaborators remain in prison and Essam himself in exile in Sweden. Essam launched the Balaha Case campaign in order to raise awareness and fight for the release of his friends and collaborators.
Trump and the U.S. government supposedly gave Turkey the green light on military strikes in Syria, again, attacking Kurdish forces, stating that they are developing terrorism in the area.
Kurdish musicians have also felt the consequences. Members of ‘Dewran’ who performs songs in Turkish language at weddings, as well as members of another band, have been detained on grounds of inciting terrorism with their propaganda.
We at Shouts call for these artists’ immediate release.
Unfortunately, the above mentioned musicians are not the only examples of artist oppression for the Kurdish people. Find more examples below and also check out our interview with Lee Brickley about his album ‘Songs for Rojava’.