Sherlock Shaabullah


So now that Nasser's the butt of sardonic Arab jokes, Saddam Antar Hussein's in jail, Arafat is mourned but unmissed even by Palestinians, and Syria's reduced to the role of a murderous Fredonia, who remains as the leading voice of pan-Arabism in a post-Arabist age? I nominate the preposterous Egyptian singer, Shaaban Abdel-Rahim.

Shaabullah, as his fans know him, has become your basic go-to guy for Western reporters who want to reveal just how unpopular the US has become in the Middle East. In fact, he's your basic cultural bottom-feeder who has kept his career going by wedding pop and paranoia.

In his latest release, reports AFP, "he laments the assassination of former Lebanese Premier Rafik Hariri while exonerating Syria of all responsibility for his death."

"Lebanon and Syria are one," he sings, "and none had a hand in Hariri's murder." So whose hand does Sherlock Shaabullah discern? Guess. (Hint, as if you needed one: His breakthrough hit was "I Hate Israel.")

The Lebanese have done videos about Hariri's murder, too, and they are rather different. One is noted here (as is a fairly desperate Arab nationalist group video).

NEXT: El Matrimonio Gay

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  1. I got an mp3 of “I Hate Israel” – some of my best friends are Jewish, but damn that thing is catchy.

  2. This time his song was bluntly praising Mubarak and questioning why would anyone suggest he should be replaced! The song go on describing how great, merciful, brilliant, blah blah blah.. Mubarak is and then the singer wonders how could anyone run against him in a presidential election!…

    …”Sha’aban Abdul Raheem”…denied that he was under any pressure or that anyone promised to reward him for such a song (of course!), but really he might be telling the truth, as besides he’s dumb as a brick it’s not uncommon for singers and poets to volunteer in such way to praise their dictator and they don’t have to bother about the reward as it will come anyway and also such song or poem would help them a lot in case they or any of their relatives of friends ran into a trouble with the authorities, and such things are quite possible in Arab countries. Singers against deomcracy.

  3. Shaaban is a genius!
    Well, maybe not. It’s true that any educated (or semi-educated for that matter) Egyptian would be seen dead with one of his CDs. But still… Of course he hates Israel. Why the hell shouldnt he sing about that. His stuff has always been about whatever was in the papers or TV or gossiped about – local scandals, murders football soaps etcetc. & do you think he writes this stuff himself? Cmon.
    The words to many of his songs including bakrah israel are actually often quite slyly clever & nearly always very funny. & its just music for gods sake. Take a look at Western popular music – punk, goth, gangster rap. How well do you think that stuff translates?
    Folk need to get this into perspective.

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