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Egypt's Revolutionary Music, And 7 Other Revolutions That Turned To Song (AUDIO)

Egypt Revolution Anniversary

The Huffington Post   First Posted: 01/25/2012 8:18 am Updated: 01/25/2012 8:45 am

On Jan. 25, 2011, one year ago today, Egyptian protesters began the 18-day uprising that ended in the ejection of President Hosni Mubarak.

The events in Egypt were just one part of the revolutionary actions of the Arab Spring that swept through Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and elsewhere in the Arab world. While these revolutions relied on the new technological capabilities of the Internet, they've also used a tool that would be familiar to revolutionaries from centuries before -- music.

The songs of the Arab Spring draw on hip-hop, rap, rock, pop and more, vividly capturing the frustration, anger, and hope of the countries they originate within. And in those countries, releasing such songs at all is itself an act of rebellion. El General, one Tunisian rapper, found himself detained and questioned after releasing two anti-government songs -- though public protest led to his release.

Whether to rally troops before battle in the American Revolution, to give voice to the people, as in Chile, music has often played an important role in historical revolutions. It hasn't been always used for the same reasons as it has in Egypt, however, but also to control the people during and after revolution, as in Soviet Russia.

Below, we revisit some of the revolutions that used music to advance their cause.

Arab Spring
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Whether or not the songs of the Arab Spring had a tangible effect on the revolutions they emerged from, they stand as small examples both of the Internet's power to bring such music to millions, as well as of music's ability to rally the people. Of course, protesters did not just watching these songs online. They also sang them in the streets.

Here, protesters in Tahrir Square sing together on the "Day of Departure," with the lyrics translated roughly to "Down Hosni Mubarak ... We are not going ... We ask one thing: Leave, leave."