Conflicts & War

Syrian uprising’s unofficial anthem turns 10

Paris, Mar 27 (efe-epa).- The author of the Syrian uprising’s unofficial anthem tells Efe of his regret that the peaceful movement against the regime had since dissipated. It is a decade since his famous song “Ya Hayf” (“What a Shame,” in English) rose to prominence.

Singer-songwriter Samih Choukeir, who self-exiled in Paris a few months before the uprising broke out, recalls that he was distressed by images of government forces firing at unarmed civilians, inspiring him to compose the song.

At least 400,000 people have killed and thousands have been arrested since the civil war erupted in Syria. Around six million Syrians, a third of the population, have been forced to flee the country due to the conflict.

Speaking to Efe, the 64-year-old says he laments the high price Syrians have had to pay for trying to bring about changes to a country that has been suffering for decades.

 “When we began the revolution we did not know where it would go,”  he says when asked whether he regrets contributing to the uprising.

From his self-exile in Paris, alongside his Polish wife and two daughters, he wrote the song on paper that had been wrapped around a baguette and recorded it with the help of two of his fellow Syrians, he explained.

He then proceeded to publish it despite initial fears for the security of his relatives.

“I think I helped my people to continue what they began against (Syrian President Bashar Al-) Assad,” he added.

The song managed to unite all sects and religions in Syria. Some mosques played the song through their speakers, where no music should be played, the composer says.

It went viral among the Syrian people and reached over 12 million views on platforms such as Youtube.EFE-EPA

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