10 Songs about Revolutions from All Over the World
May 1st, the International Day of Labor, is traditionally a day for protest, a day in which people across the world take to the streets.
In honor of this day and all brave protesters, here’s a list of songs that have become anthems of protest movements around the world.
TURKEY: Eyvallah! (Bring it on!)
Turkish rock legends Duman released the song Eyvallah after the Occupy Gezi movement flooded the streets of Turkey with a lot of determination, passion and creativity. It started out with protests to protect Gezi park in Istanbul, but turned into anti-government protests after the peaceful protesters in Gezi park were met with police brutality. This was seen as a sign of the government’s increasingly authoritarian rule.
In the beginning, the media largely ignored the protests – CNN Turk even showed a documentary about penguins instead of reporting the news. That was the birth of revolutionary penguins.
In 2011, Chilean students protested to demand changes in the country’s education system. They wanted education to be a human right, not something to be bought and sold for profit. State funding for public education is very low, tuitions very high. Grammy-nominated Ana Tijoux wrote the song Shock to show her support for the protests.
“Writing this song, I was inspired by these social movements, writing from my perspective as a mother, musician and citizen. I thought it was important to pay homage to these protesters”, she wrote in a press statement.
TUNISIA: Rais Lebled (President of the Country)
30 plain-clothes policemen came into the home of Tunisian rapper El General and arrested him. It was at the height of the Tunisian revolution, the start of the Arab Spring which inspired protest movements around the world. El General‘s only “crime” was writing the soundtrack to the revolution – Rais Lebled, a message to then-president Ben Ali.
El General wrote political songs for years before that, but they were kept underground because of the censorship of Ben Ali’s regime. This time, the police arrested him only two days after publishing a song on YouTube. Before being released, he was forced to sign a statement promising not to make political music again.
As we all know, Ben Ali cowardly fled the country. El General stayed and is even more popular than before.