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UPDATE: Mohammed Assaf IS Arab Idol!!!

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Palestinian Mohammed Assaf is Arab Idol

Palestinian Mohammed Assaf, a strikingly talented, charismatic, handsome, Gazan with a “golden” voice has just been chosen Arab Idol by millions of fans and viewers all over the world.

Mohammed Assaf’s talents were recognized immediately by the judges as he was compared to one of the 4 greats of Arabic music , Abdel Halim Hafez, during his first audition for Arab Idol. Throughout the competition Assaf went on to capture hearts across the Arab world and beyond,  demonstrating a mastery of technique that led one of the judges to assert Mohammed was not only a Palestinian artist but a “son of all the Arab world.”

It is likely Mohammed Assaf will go on to be recognized as the first newly discovered great Arabic singer of 21st century. The cultural impact of his artistic influence and meteoric rise to fame and what this means to Palestine and the Arab world is immeasurable.

Update: Crowds going wild with happiness  in Gaza and Ramallah [Updated with wild fantastic video]:

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Ramallah celebrating after Palestinian Mohammed Assaf wins Arab Idol (photo: Allison Deger)
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Ramallah celebrating after Palestinian Mohammed Assaf wins Arab Idol (photo: Allison Deger)
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Ramallah, kids celebrating after Gazan Mohammed Assaf wins Arab Idol (photo: Allison Deger)

They look like regular kids having fun don’t they? It’s hard to imaging these are the same kinds of kids Israel tortures on a regular basis. Alas, back to the amazing story of Palestine’s glory tonight.

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Ramallah, Palestinian Mohammed Assaf wins Arab Idol, partying in the street after midnight. June 23, 2013 (photo: Allison Deger)
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Crowds fill the streets of Ramallah June 23 2013 (Photo: Allison Deger)

Update: Palestinian Arab Idol Mohammed Assaf’s final song, which he sang first wearing then holding a Palestinian flag, is a song asking Arabs to unite… and about Palestine. (We’ll update when we get a translation…update: amazing, here it is).

Update: After this performance Mohammed Assaf was immediately set upon by some men who handed him a large plaque with the UN symbol on it. Assaf was granted a position of UNRWA Goodwill Youth Ambassador and according to my sources something similar from the Palestinian Authority.

The last image shown on Arab Idol’s screen was a man placing a keffiyeh around Assaf’s shoulders.

Update: Mohammed Assaf just fell to the ground in prayer as his name was announced as Arab Idol. What an incredible sight to behold. The audience has erupted in wild cheering and confetti is raining down. He is making an acceptance speech now. We will update as soon as we can get a translation!

This just in from Mondoweiss contributor Rawan Yaghi:

He thanked the whole Arab world. He said he had never believed he would even get to the finals. He said: ” I want to thank the Palestinian people who have struggled for over 60 years.. I want to thank these amazing brave people who despite everything manage to live through. I dedicate my winning to the Palestinian people everywhere in the world, in Gaza, Ramallah, Nazareth, camps, Lebanon, diaspora, and all over the world. I dedicate it to the prisoners, the injured, the martyrs and all who gave sacrifices to Palestine.” And he thanked his parents and the judges and the musicians and the other contestants and the producers. And everyone who supported him.

Incredible. Bursting hearts all around.

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Arab Idol 2013 finalists listen and wait for the announcement of winner June 22, 2013

Update: The final Arab Idol elimination process is coming up. This Instagram was just posted from the audience as people all over the world are waiting in anticipation. There’s an emotionally brilliant performance by an assembly of incredible talent including past contestants as well as all the finalists singing a compilation from Les Miserables [must see for background]. Mohammed Assaf’s solo brings the judges and audience to their feet:

Update: Mohammed Assaf just sang Safeeni Marrah live on Arab Idol 2013’s final episode, the same song he used for his audition with some of the lyrics featured below.

Ramallah, Palestine, Crowd waiting for announcement of whether Mohammed Assaf will win Arab Idol  June 22, 2013 (photo: @iFalasteen)

Update: Bethlehem waits:

Bethlehem, Palestine from National Campaign for Mohammed Assaf (via Kamel Hawwash)
Nazarath, Israel/Palestine. Supporting Muhammad Assaf June 22, 2013(via @iFalasteen)

While we wait on the edge of our seats for the announcement of the winner of Arab Idol later today, I’m replaying Mohammed Assaf’s amazing performance of last night [‘Raise your keffiyeh, raise it’] over and over.

Assaf is of course the 23-year-old sensation from a refugee camp in Gaza who has crystallized Palestinian and Arab pride around the world. Below are two other songs that he sang last night.

Also, below is something we’ve never posted before: Assaf’s original audition for the Arab Idol 2013 judges. It includes an English translation of the lyrics as well as the judges’ comments.

We will be updating this post as the night progresses, so stay tuned.

With over 3,622,527 viewings thus far, Mohammed Assaf’s audition video remains quite popular.

The 4 judges, right to left: Ragheb Alameh, Nancy Ajram, Ahlam, and Hassan El Shafei

Ahlam: Ahlan Mohammed

Ragheb: you came from Gaza?

Mohammed: Yes, I arrived today

Ragheb: Thank god for safety (a common expression of the Levant region that we say to those who arrive from a long travel)

Ahlam: how long did it take you?

Mohammed: Two days

Ahlam: Til you arrived?

Mohammed: Yes till I arrived

Ragheb: Why?

Mohammed: There is some problems on the crossing point and such

Ragheb: We salute you and welcome you, what will you sing?

Mohammed sings Safeeni Marrah

You’re true to me one time
And harsh with me the next
Don’t forget me while you’re at it

We were two hearts together
And love gathered us and formed us
As the eye said to the other eye
We were created for each other

And I remain beside you I don’t know
What is the hiding place?
And my heart remains joyous and scared

Nancy interrupts Mohammed

Ajram: Enough….enough…..don’t tire your self more

Ahlam: Take pity on us man

Ragheb: See Habibi, honestly, I hear a lot of people, and the next day I listen to some more and I forget the former, you are one of these voices that I will remember, because you have the capability of controlling your voice, the high pitch, the low pitch, romantic range…

Ahlam: Did anybody tell you that your voice is like Abd Al Halim’s voice?

Hassan: Good job, I am with Ragheb, you are among the voices that we will remember down the road.

Ragheb: You have 4 Yes

Ahlam: Big Big yes

Previous posts about Mohammed Assaf here, here, here, here, and here.

(Enass Tinah and Rawan Yaghi contributed to this report. Enass Tinah provided all video translation)

Annie Robbins

Annie Robbins is Editor at Large for Mondoweiss, a human rights activist and a ceramic artist. She lives in the SF bay area. Follow her on Twitter @anniefofani

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102 Responses

  1. seafoid on June 22, 2013, 2:16 pm

    The competition is called Arab Idol but Mohamed Assaf seems have become
    Habib al Arab.

  2. Taxi on June 22, 2013, 2:37 pm

    Am watching it right now live and for the first time! Very unlike me, I assure you, to even turn the TV on. Oh the things I do for Palestine… sigh… sigh… sigh…

  3. ramzijaber on June 22, 2013, 4:16 pm

    Yes, Mohammed will make us all very proud!! Anxiously awaiting in Beit Lahem, in Al Quds, in Ramallah, in Nablis, in Al Khalil, in Ghaza, in Ariha, in Al Nasra, in Yafa, in Akka, in Amman, in Beirut, in Dimashk, in Baghdad, in Kuwait, in Abu Dhabi, in Riyadh, in Al Kahira……… inshallah!!!! For Palestine.

    • annie on June 22, 2013, 4:23 pm

      i think the elimination is beginning now after the commercial!

    • ramzijaber on June 22, 2013, 4:53 pm


      الف مبروك ىا أخي محمد Alf Mabrook my brother Mohammed. A thousand congratulations!!!!! You brought tears to my eyes. You brought tears to every Palestinian eye!!!!!

      • seafoid on June 22, 2013, 5:05 pm


        Linda Sarsour ‏@lsarsour 3m
        [email protected] didn’t free #Palestine but he used his international platform to humanize the Palestinian people. #arabidol

      • Susan A on June 22, 2013, 5:18 pm

        Yeeeeeeeeeessssssss!!!!!! Assaewnaasaaaaaaaaaaaaaf! Assaaaaaaaaaaaaaaf!
        Thank you so much Annie, and Enaas for the wonderful translations! I’ve been travelling home and just got your (our) Mohammed’s wonderful news!! So so happy for him, for Palestine and for all of us who love him!! It’s always the joyous moments that bring such sweet tears!!!!!

      • Dutch on June 22, 2013, 6:48 pm

        Congratulations Muhammad. Congratulations Ramzi. Congratulations Palestine!

        Palestine lives!


      • ramzijaber on June 23, 2013, 7:07 am

        Thanks Dutch. 1S1P1V.

  4. just on June 22, 2013, 4:28 pm

    All the best to Mohammed and his voice for all time!

    Palestine! 1S1P1V!

  5. seafoid on June 22, 2013, 4:57 pm

    Ma sha Allah

    The bots have spent 65 years attempting to cantonise the Palestinians into 5 castes- Israeli passports, East Jerusalem, West Bank, Gaza and refugees but today they are all back to one nation for this very special win.

  6. Walid on June 22, 2013, 5:02 pm

    Mabrook to PALESTINE.

    Long live Palestine.

  7. German Lefty on June 22, 2013, 5:09 pm

    Great news! Congrats to Mohammed!

  8. seafoid on June 22, 2013, 5:18 pm

    The Next Arab Idol: Palestine’s Boy Wonder and Stereotype Buster
    by Maysoon Zayid

    “Mohammed Assaf is the face of the Palestinians that Netanyahu and friends refuse to admit exists. He is Muslim, but not radical. He is owned neither by Hamas nor Fatah and represents not just Gaza but Palestine as a whole. He humanizes a generation of males who have been reduced to terrorist caricatures. He has parents who obviously love and support him, the antithesis of the fabled Palestinian parents who want their children to die martyrs, and he has fan girls. Arab girls of all ages are in love with Mohammed Assaf and they are not afraid to Tweet it. Nor are they in danger of being “honor”-killed by the men in their families for doing so.

    This boy who grew up in an open-air prison managed to escape and show the world that, just like the rest of humanity, Palestinians have dreams. Assaf’s voice has become the voice of Palestine. Win or lose, he is proof that we do exist and that there ain’t no mountain high enough and ain’t no army strong enough to keep Palestinians from making their dreams a reality—especially when that dream is of being crowned the next Arab Idol.”

  9. ramzijaber on June 22, 2013, 5:28 pm

    Annie, thank you very much for following this! You’re a Palestinian too!!!! Choukran.

    • annie on June 22, 2013, 5:56 pm

      AAH, i am going crazy Ramzi, i’m so loving this! thank you for saying that….yes, my whole heart feels palestinian right now, it’s just bursting.

  10. kamanja on June 22, 2013, 5:46 pm
    Same song as last nights, a few years back by the look of him.

  11. RudyM on June 22, 2013, 6:01 pm

    I am just very happy! Nobody in “real life” to share it with though.

  12. Maximus Decimus Meridius on June 22, 2013, 6:22 pm

    ”Assaf was granted a position of UNRWA Goodwill Ambassador and according to my sources something similar from the Palestinian Authority.”

    I know you’ve got better things to do right now than read this, but please please please Mohammed do NOT get involved with the PA. Those sell-out Quislings don’t deserve you.

    • annie on June 22, 2013, 6:32 pm

      i watched as they handed him the plaque ..he looked a little stunned. something tells me he’s smarter than getting mixed up w/the PA. let’s hope anyway. they’re probably going to try to use him a as a tool.

      • Maximus Decimus Meridius on June 22, 2013, 6:36 pm

        Definitely – I mean they didn’t waste any time on trying to cash in on Mohammed’s success, did they? Even though it had NOTHING to do with them. Let’s hope he’s too clever to let them use him. He’s way too good for them.

      • MRW on June 22, 2013, 6:43 pm

        annie, Arab Idol now owns a significant portion of his musical output. That’s how these shows work. They will be taking charge of his PR, his records, media appearances, shows, concerts, public statements, etcetera.

        He won’t have time to become a political figure even if he wanted. He is now a global money-maker for the show. You’ll notice how his dress (and shoes!) changed with each successive appearance, all paid for by the producers. They locked him down to a contract from the moment he got his first four Yes’s.

      • annie on June 22, 2013, 7:36 pm

        MRW, have you checked out that bright large glossy palestinian flag he’s wearing on the very top video?

        there’s a strong yearning of the people in the arab world for unity. that’s why they chose him, he’s already a patriotic palestinian and as far as i know..being palestinian is political. they are an occupied people, i don’t think Mohammed Assaf will be forgetting that no matter whose contracts he signs.

      • Dutch on June 22, 2013, 9:46 pm

        You’re right. This Idol-thing is a Dutch concept, hence a lot has been written about it here.

        But As’af doesn’t have to be a political figure in order to become one. Let him do what he does and he’ll have tremendous impact. His nick is ‘The Rocket’. And we’ve just seen the launch.

        Now we should make sure that this star makes it to US tv (‘Tonight we bring you a real Rocket from Gaza’).

      • MRW on June 23, 2013, 12:08 am

        i don’t think Mohammed Assaf will be forgetting that no matter whose contracts he signs.

        Neither do I. I think he’s proved that so far. But I was addressing the issue of him becoming a mouthpiece for the PA, or the Arab Idol people allowing themselves to play second fiddle to johnny-come-lately political parasites who would now want to use him for their own gain. He’s bigger, now, than all of that. You can see his intensity in the video when he was a kid with his teacher, the one where his tightens his fist around the barbed wire at the end of the video and his hands are bloodied as a result. This one is gonna’ be interesting to watch.

      • Enass T on June 24, 2013, 6:07 am

        To be fair, I think the PA granted him a diplomatic status so he could travel freely in the Arab world.
        It’s sad but as a holder of a Palestinian passport with a Gaza residence, he will be refused entry visa to most Arab countries.

        Actually , the Lebanese authority refused to give a visa to Beirut at first so he could join the other Arab Idol contestants.

      • AlGhorear on June 24, 2013, 11:33 am

        I read that the importance of the diplomatic status is that it will allow him to travel to the West Bank.

    • gingershot on June 22, 2013, 7:22 pm

      ‘…but please please please Mohammed do NOT get involved with the PA. Those sell-out Quislings don’t deserve you’

      Very well said

      • kalithea on June 22, 2013, 9:32 pm

        Seconded AGAIN.

    • kalithea on June 22, 2013, 9:33 pm

      Great comment!

    • just on June 23, 2013, 4:05 am

      “Up to now Assaf has been wary of becoming a pawn in the hands of the Palestinian Authority leaders – who supported him from the start – against the Gaza government. Still, the Assaf phenomenon draws the limits of Hamas effort to discipline the population. In direct contrast to its miniscule artistic merits, Arab Idol demonstrated just how much the Palestinians are longing for a national hero, whose name and actions are associated with happiness, success and life, not pain, suffering and mourning. ”

      • ritzl on June 23, 2013, 11:59 am

        @just Haas is pretty condescending and detachedly clinical in that piece. Not one of her finer efforts. I wonder if Israelis of all stripes aren’t feeling a bit jealous and peckish about this. Or maybe if any Israeli truly understands the depth of the collective Palestinian soul and what the words ‘yearning to be free’ actually mean in practice.

        Heh, next year those “miniscule artistic merits” will be as Israeli as couscous (i.e. maftool).

  13. just on June 22, 2013, 6:29 pm

    Oh, thank you God.

    The time for the justice for the Palestinian people and their struggle has finally come to fruition.

    With one golden voice. Thank you Mohammed Assaf and your precious family of millions. No Zionist can deny that talent that has risen out of imposed despair.

  14. Cliff on June 22, 2013, 6:32 pm

    Wonderful news!!

  15. MRW on June 22, 2013, 6:37 pm

    This is so terrific!

  16. just on June 22, 2013, 6:53 pm

    Mohammed Assaf has a great gift– I doubt that he will allow himself to be ‘used’.

    I’ll always be thankful for his talent, his music, and his personhood.

  17. MRW on June 22, 2013, 6:55 pm

    He’s the Palestinian Elvis. Elvis, in the 50s, was the breakthrough idol/icon who pierced every culture in the world and spread the appeal of American culture to a new generation in a non-political, non-coercive way through good looks and song.

    • seafoid on June 23, 2013, 3:12 am

      I bet he won’t be allowed to sing in East Jerusalem, Jaffa or Nazareth .
      The way the bots deal with Zochrot is a sign of how fragile the ur memes of Zionism are.

    • Inanna on June 24, 2013, 1:24 am

      Except unlike Elvis this music is Assaf’s cultural heritage – he’s not taking the music of a minority and making it digestible to white culture.

  18. MRW on June 22, 2013, 6:57 pm

    I feel sorry for everyone who had to compete with him.

    • Walid on June 23, 2013, 4:52 am

      ” I feel sorry for everyone who had to compete with him.” (MRW)

      Don’t, be, MRW; most of the 26 other contestants are actually very good singers as was demonstrated in the final medley that included them and they will surely go on with good careers of their own. A few succeeded in scorring political statements like the contestants from Iraq and Syria and the Kurdish young lady, Perwas, for Kurdistan al-Iraq. It was great to see how happy all the contestants were with Assaf’s win, even the finalists that we saw waving the Palestinian flag.

      My only doubt of him losing from the first time I saw him was that the Zionists would get to the Americans to apply pressure on the Saudi royals that own the program to play with the final results to make Assaf lose. Having all 4 judges led by Ragheb Alama, a staunch Arab nationalist, hinting every week since 2 months about the oppression of the Palestinians and that Assaf was going to win probably prevented that from happening.

      • kamanja on June 23, 2013, 12:22 pm

        Nobody on this earth could have prevented him from winning. Both the other finalists were really fine singers but Assaf was simply way out there in front from the get-go not because he’s Palestinian, not because he’s good-looking but because he’s a truly exceptional singer. Ragheb Alama and company heard that when he auditioned. You immediately remember and recognize his voice, even with your eyes shut. Singers like that don’t grow on trees.

        Seems he’s also smart. The Guardian’s Harriet Sherwood posted his statement.

        “”A revolution is not just the one carrying the rifle, it is the paintbrush of an artist, the scalpel of a surgeon, the axe of the farmer,” he said. “Everyone struggles for their cause in the way they see fit. Today I represent Palestine and today I am fighting for a cause through my art and the message I send out.””

        And for the mauvaises langues, yes, people celebrated in Jaffa and Nazareth too. Even the Times of Israel had a good, highly emotional article on him today.

        “This is the place to note that beyond his personal-national story, Assaf has a rare voice, sweeping and powerful. A Palestinian friend of mine told me that Assaf reminds him of [Israeli singer] Zohar Argov. I must disagree. Assaf’s voice is even better than the “king’s.”

      • Sumud on June 23, 2013, 1:33 pm

        Don’t, be, MRW; most of the 26 other contestants are actually very good singers as was demonstrated in the final medley that included them and they will surely go on with good careers of their own.

        True, true, I watch the whole clip and then watched the first few minutes again, the 4 solos at the beginning all staggeringly good.

  19. justicewillprevail on June 22, 2013, 7:17 pm


    ” I want to thank the Palestinian people who have struggled for over 60 years.. I want to thank these amazing brave people who despite everything manage to live through.”

    So simple, so beautiful.

  20. Kate on June 22, 2013, 7:18 pm

    Thank you Annie and Enass, you’ve done a wonderful job on this story!

    • annie on June 22, 2013, 7:32 pm

      hi kate, and we owe allison a big thanks too. we just added her photos from the streets of Ramallah celebrating and they are amazing. and huge thanks to rawan for being right there for us and providing a translation of his acceptance speech for us within seconds.

      and i can’t emphasize how much people’s tweets, comments, emails and instagrams made this post what it is. it was truly a group effort.

  21. kalithea on June 22, 2013, 9:43 pm

    Now that he’s put Gaza on the map; I hope he remembers to keep doing so by giving a shout-out to Gaza every time he sings.

    Gazans needed this – they needed to be lifted up from the yoke of misery Israel has imposed on them. They needed their pride and dignity restored. This is beautiful.

    Palestinians needed this to remind them they are ONE people. Now unite and get rid of Israel’s sub-contractor — the Palestinian Authority!

  22. kayq on June 22, 2013, 9:50 pm

    Absolutely magical that a young boy from Gaza can unite a whole nation.
    Allah y3teek al 3fya ya Mohammad and thank you Annie!

    • annie on June 22, 2013, 10:38 pm

      magical indeed kayq. and to think i first discovered him on your twitter feed.


      i’ve been a slave to his charisma and brilliance/talent ever since.

      thank you

      • kayq on June 23, 2013, 5:27 am

        Absolutely welcome!

  23. RudyM on June 22, 2013, 10:53 pm

    This may be a really stupid question but do you think he will get any commercial network TV coverage in the U.S.?

  24. Sibiriak on June 23, 2013, 12:04 am

    Wow! Fantastic! Thanks so much Annie for all your reporting on this….I’ve been listening to him daily. Love him!

  25. thankgodimatheist on June 23, 2013, 1:53 am

    And Abdel Halim smiled in his grave.

    • seafoid on June 23, 2013, 3:10 am

      One of the other finalists was from Egypt and sang an Abdel Halim song and someone on twitter said it made her cry to think of the state Egypt is in now compared to when Abdel Halim was singing.

      • thankgodimatheist on June 23, 2013, 5:39 am

        Painful comparison to make, Seafoid. A mouse to a mountain, Morsi to Nasser. Another planet.

      • Walid on June 23, 2013, 5:47 am

        “… the state Egypt is in now compared to when Abdel Halim was singing.”

        Egyptians like most Arabs are obsessed with meaningless nostalgic things and times. The music of Abdel Halim was supposedly the fuel that kept Tahrir Square warm during the last uprising and the comparison she is making is with the goody goody make-believe world of Egyptian movies. Times back then were as miserable as they are now but simply less colored with religion.

      • seafoid on June 23, 2013, 7:25 am


        Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be. But the facts are the facts. Egypt had half or even less of its current population in the 60s. It was not the world’s largest importer of wheat and could still feed itself. The music of that time is a marker – the culture looked outward. There were higher values than scoring 95% hijab.

      • seafoid on June 23, 2013, 8:44 am

        This is a very good description of the state of Egypt in the era of neoliberalism

      • annie on June 23, 2013, 11:13 am

        seafoid, this reminds me…i am not sure if you have watched the incredible video above of the 27 contestants all singing from les miserables. if not by all means watch it. but in my description i added a video embed of what i think is an egyptian rendition of the opera and although i cannot understand arabic i think there’s decent chance the lyrics and opera have been staged to reflect the current political situation in egypt.

        i intercepted this video quite my chance on twitter last week and was so impressed i watched it twice, so naturally i thought about that when the whole cast was singing from the opera.

        just reminded me of your link.

      • Walid on June 23, 2013, 9:36 pm

        “… It was not the world’s largest importer of wheat and could still feed itself. ”

        A long but very informative MR article, seafoid, thanks. It wasn’t the world’s largest importer of wheat because it couldn’t afford to be and the food it had was thanks to wheat subsidies; they had food riots in the 60s and 70s. Neoliberalism was about softening them up for the globalization vultures to move in and help the military consolidate its control. Musically, Um Kulthum’s monthly radio concerts kept them doped-up and relatively docile. The MR article mentioned the 26-year unchanged minimum wage and the 50 hours or so work week. Now more people have cell phones and internet but nothing has substantially changed for the people except for the increased dosage of religion.

      • seafoid on June 24, 2013, 1:27 am

        Egypt probably can’t support its current population long term, Walid. And it’s not going to stop at 85m.

        The military control maybe 30% of the economy. Very weak civil institutions and the economy is also very weak.

        It is all part of the regional picture where Israeli militarism drives the institutional response in the neighbouring countries. Lebanon is the only one where the army isn’t centre stage and that’s just because of the religious makeup of the country.

        Syria is a mess as well- far too long being looted by officers in the name of national security. Look at it now.

        I always think Iran and Egypt are similar – started off in the same place in the 1880s – 2 grandes nations with a history of imperial interference – had charismatic leaders in the 50s, got bitchslapped , playing around with Islam – but I think long term Iran is on a far better path. You don’t see decent films coming out of Egypt, for example. There probably is the makings of a civil society to take over from the religious in Iran eventually. There was nothing in Egypt in 2011.

        And it’s all tied up with the global power system. Egypt had very little room to manoeuvre, really. It’s a lakhbatah gaamidah.

        That is also what I think listening to Abdel Halim…

        “We ansak,
        So I forget you,
        watareeny bansa gafak.
        And I forget all your pain.
        Wa ashtak le azaby maak.
        And I start longing for it again.
        We alaky demooi fakrak,
        And I find my tears remember you.
        Warga tany.
        So I return to you. ”

        All the young women who would have listened to that song are probably in hijab now. Victims of history.

    • Walid on June 23, 2013, 5:01 am

      “And Abdel Halim smiled in his grave.” TGIA

      With a huge grin on my face, I’m wondering what Golda did in her grave:

      There were no such thing as Palestinians. When was there an independent Palestinian people with a Palestinian state? It was either southern Syria before the First World War, and then it was a Palestine including Jordan. It was not as though there was a Palestinian people in Palestine considering itself as a Palestinian people and we came and threw them out and took their country away from them. They did not exist.

      As quoted in Sunday Times (15 June 1969), also in The Washington Post (16 June 1969)

      • seafoid on June 23, 2013, 8:40 am

        “There were no such thing as Palestinians”

        Well there is now! But what a crock of Zionist [email protected] to say something like that. Who are the bots to determine the fate of any people?

        Soon we’ll be able to say “there is no such thing as secular Israelis”

        Am Israel haredi chai.

  26. ritzl on June 23, 2013, 2:15 am

    Yay! and Yay again!!

  27. gamal on June 23, 2013, 2:58 am

    from where i am the youtube video that were previously up now show an invalid url message

  28. Taxi on June 23, 2013, 3:35 am

    Bravo Mohamad! Viva Palestina!

    But bajeebuss! Did the producers milk the announcement or what – the show was like two or three hours long! I must say I got bored listening to all that group singing and the guy dressed in black singing like a hundred solo songs (am exaggerating here but he sang so many songs you’d have thunk show was designed for him especially!) – it took sooooo long before we got a chance to see Mohamad singing before the final announcement.


    But WHAT A GREAT VICTORY not just for Palestine, but for the soul of the Arab nations as a whole.

    And this morning, Mohamad’s win was top story on yahoonews where I’d say 70% of comments were by nasty diabolical zionists purposefully invading the festive mood and basically linking Mohamad’s Palestinain celebration with Palestinians celebrating 9/11 attacks. Can you effing believe the evil that proudly resides in these people’s hearts?!!!! Hateful scummy hasbara internet army intent, en mass, on crapping on Palestine’s parade.

    We’ll see in the end who ends up singing and laughing last! No it won’t be the criminal zionist invaders of the holy land, wanton thieves of human joy. Nosireebob!

    Palestine lives AND celebrates in your face mister and missus zionist psychos!

    Viva Palestina Musica!

    Viva Mohamad Assaf the beautiful soulful songbird!

    Up yours zionist croakers!

    • just on June 23, 2013, 4:21 am

      It is evil, and the hateful ideology & practice of Zionism with hasbara is collapsing. Mr. Assaf and the Palestinian people will prevail.

      Goodness and truth will always triumph. The brave souls that have endured such unrelenting misery will continue on the path toward freedom and hope.

    • seafoid on June 23, 2013, 8:36 am

      The winners video at the top

      at 1:53 shows the live cams from Beirut, Ramallah, Gaza and Nazareth

      The bot fockers wouldn’t allow them to broadcast from East Jerusalem, no doubt

    • Inanna on June 24, 2013, 2:47 am

      @Taxi – the reason for the response of the bots is jealousy, pure and simple. And their exclusion from the world around them. It reminds them that they stole the land from people like Mohammad Assaf. They may be in the Middle East but they are not of the Middle East. Thus the vitriol.

      • just on June 24, 2013, 9:30 am

        Well said.

  29. just on June 23, 2013, 8:50 am

    I’ve looked @ Wapo and NYT–hardly anything– no coverage.

    Shameful and telling.

  30. gingershot on June 23, 2013, 9:40 am

    Oops – the world just saw a human being who is Palestinian…

    This goes right across the grain of the craven decades long Israeli Lobby/Israeli successful brainwashing of the world such that they wait for the other shoe to drop of appending the word ‘terrorist’ after any utterance of ‘Palestinian’

    What Israel has done to the Palestinian people has been a holocaust for Palestine – and it has been one long complicated, obsessive, generationally tilled Israeli Big Lie

    Not to detract anything from his beautiful voice and what must be the tons of excitement of being a rockstar – Mohammed has detonated a massive bomb against the homicidal Israeli Big Lie and ‘for’ the Palestinian PEOPLE

    • just on June 23, 2013, 1:27 pm

      Agreed– the Big and horrible Lie is exposed.

      The Palestinians’ steadfastness and honor is evident, and for this I am grateful.

    • seafoid on June 24, 2013, 1:13 am

      He humanizes a generation of males who have been reduced to terrorist caricatures. He has parents who obviously love and support him, the antithesis of the fabled Palestinian parents who want their children to die martyrs, and he has fan girls. Arab girls of all ages are in love with Mohammed Assaf and they are not afraid to Tweet it. Nor are they in danger of being “honor”-killed by the men in their families for doing so.

      This boy who grew up in an open-air prison managed to escape and show the world that, just like the rest of humanity, Palestinians have dreams.

  31. seafoid on June 23, 2013, 9:57 am

    Shin Bet are no doubt studying the feed from Nazareth to find out who was waving a Palestinian flag in Erez Israel, which is simply unforgivable as well as utterly unimaginable in this day and age when over 100% of American politicians have been fed the Kool aid.

  32. American on June 23, 2013, 11:04 am

    What are the chances he could tour the US? Would love to see that happen.
    Assaf, the song bird vr the Isr hasbara…..he could undo with his talent 65 years of Isr propaganda.

    • annie on June 23, 2013, 11:18 am

      he’ll get here, when is the question. wow, i’d love to hear him sing live!

  33. bijou on June 23, 2013, 11:27 am

    Annie here is a video of him singing when he was 11. You can hear the voice is astonishing even then:

    • annie on June 23, 2013, 12:14 pm

      thanks bijou! yes i have seen that video and linked to it in one of my other posts, however unfortunately i was not able to download it off the site it display it, or i would have. i also ran into an interview with assaf in my research where he sings that same song. i believe it was for an interview w/arab idol. i can look for it again.

      here it is:

      it’s got both the past and future of him singing the song. it is a nationalistic song about gaza i think.

  34. Sumud on June 23, 2013, 2:05 pm

    Fairfax press in Australia have covered Assaf’s victory:

    Gaza joy as Palestinian singer wins Arab Idol contest

    …though the article has been buried and is fairly hard to find now even if you are in the ‘World’ section of the paper, despite it being one of the most popular articles of the day. The article itself is unapologetically honest about Israel’s occupation of Palestine which is mentioned no less than 4 times in the one article – good. People need to know.

    Even Murdoch’s broadsheet The Australian – which has been running a particularly vicious campaign against BDS these last few months (as documented @ Antony Loewenstin’s blog) – covered Assaf’s victory, but it’s behind a paywall and I’d sooner eat razor blades than pay to read it or even link to it!

  35. Susan A on June 23, 2013, 2:17 pm

    Hi Annie, I think it’s a national song, circa around 1999, and is linked to the PLO/Fatah, which is why, I think, Hamas don’t like it:
    apparently, people were told not to sing it at weddings, can you believe?!?

  36. seafoid on June 23, 2013, 5:11 pm

    Maysoon Zayid interviewed on Channel 4 news

    She’s wonderful.

  37. crone on June 23, 2013, 7:16 pm

    Annie, thanks for this marvelous coverage… and to the posters here who have added more links, etc. What a marvelous young man, and what a fantastic voice!

    Yes, he will be a VOICE for Palestine….

  38. Inanna on June 24, 2013, 3:03 am

    Thanks Annie, Enass and Rawan, what a fantastic day for Palestine and all the Arab world. I feel that he expresses what is in my heart and soul as an Arab and a Levantine in his voice. I wish him and Palestine every success. Each Palestinian is resisting in his or her own way and we are with you and will support you.

  39. NickJOCW on June 24, 2013, 4:44 am

    Thanks, Annie. Nice work and fun. I see even the Israelis couldn’t resist sending seven sorties to light up the Gaza sky.

  40. kayq on June 24, 2013, 5:32 am

    I just had a thought. Remember that video BDSers made about Alicia keys cancelling her Israel show, and shows the resistance of all the amazing Palestinian women? That had “Girl on Fire” playing as the video’s soundtrack. Assaf is what truly demonstrates that. He is definitely Palestine’s Boy on Fire!

  41. seafoid on June 24, 2013, 8:54 am

    I can’t believe there were so many Israeli Arabs in Nazareth watching the show. Why would they be interested in a Palestinian singer???

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