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Music inspires Libyan rebels to defeat Gaddafi

News18

Updated: April 24, 2011, 7:34 PM IST
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Music inspires Libyan rebels to defeat Gaddafi
The music captures the anger and frustration young Libyans feel at decades of repressive rule.

Ajdabiya: Libyan rebel fighter Jaad Jumaa Hashmi cranks up the volume on his pickup truck's stereo when he heads into battle against Muammar Gaddafi's forces.

A musician himself, he looks for inspiration from a growing cadre of amateur rappers whose powerful songs have helped define the revolution.

The music captures the anger and frustration young Libyans feel at decades of repressive rule under Gaddafi, driving the 27-year-old Hashmi forward even though the heavy machine gun bolted on the back of his truck and other weapons in the rebel arsenal are no match for Gaddafi's heavy artillery.

"It captures the youths' quest for freedom and a decent life and gives us motivation," Hashmi said as he sat in his truck on the outskirts of the front line city of Ajdabiya.

He was listening to "Youth of the Revolution," which the rap group Music Masters wrote just days after the uprising began in mid-February.

"Muammar, get out, get out, game over! I'm a big, big soldier!" sang 20-year-old Milad Faraway, who started Music Masters with his friend and neighbour, 22-year-old Mohammed Madani, at the end of 2010.

Rather than grabbing AK-47s and heading to the front line with other rebels to fight Gaddafi's forces, Faraway and Madani stayed in Benghazi, the de facto capital of rebel-held eastern Libya, and picked up a microphone.

"Everyone has his own way of fighting, and my weapon is art," said Faraway, a geology student, during a recent recording session in a small room on the fourth floor of an aging apartment building in downtown Benghazi. The room was equipped with little more than a microphone, stereo and computer.

The room was decorated with a large red, black and green rebel flag and a framed photo of the Guns N' Roses guitarist Slash. Faraway and Madani smoked cigarettes and sipped steaming glasses of sweet tea as they recorded lyrics for their latest song, a tribute to cities caught up in the revolution.

The freewheeling rap scene developing in Benghazi indicates how much has changed in eastern Libya in the past two months. Speaking out against Gaddafi before the rebellion used to mean prison and maybe even death. And rap, like other forms of Western culture, was despised by Gaddafi, who burned foreign musical instruments and books after he seized power in 1969.

First Published: April 24, 2011, 7:34 PM IST
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