A revolution not televised: Lebanese mock censorship of famous patriotic song during army celebration

A revolution not televised: Lebanese mock censorship of famous patriotic song during army celebration
Lebanese social media users have reacted with outrage and ridicule as the 'revolutionary' lyrics of a well-known patriotic song were censored on Army Day amid a continuing economic crisis.
2 min read
02 August, 2020
Lebanon celebrates its Army Day on August 1st [Getty Archive]
Lebanese social media users have reacted with a mixture of anger and ridicule to the apparent censorship of the lyrics of a patriotic song during a televised celebration of Lebanese Army Day, which was celebrated on Saturday, August 1.

The festivities featured a choir singing the song "Ya Beirut" by famous Lebanese soprano Majida Al-Rumi. However, one line from the song was removed.

The original lyrics contained the words "revolution is born from the womb of sorrows" but this was replaced with a chorus of "la la la la la" during the festivities.

Beginning in September 2019, Lebanon saw huge protests against government corruption and the ruling elite as public debt spiralled out of control.

The country is now in the midst of a serious economic crisis and poverty and unemployment have increased as the Lebanese pound has plummeted in value.

Read more: Lebanon's oligarchs crashed the economy, now they're making the people pay

Social media users were quick to accuse the government of censoring Rumi's well-known lyrics.

Television presenter Rania Barghout tweeted angrily at the Lebanese government: "Were you scared of the words of a song? This la la la of yours was much louder than a festival that could have passed without incident but #A_revolution_is_born_from_the_womb_of_sorrows and you can't hide behind the army for long because they will turn against you soon."

The Arabic-language hashtag #A_revolution_is_born_from_the_womb_of_sorrows quickly trended on Twitter, with social media users accompanying it with pictures of huge protests in Lebanon which took place this year and last.

On the occasion of Lebanese Army Day, President Michel Aoun, who has been a frequent target of the protests, met with army commander General Joseph Aoun (no relation) and said: "Lebanon is today facing one of the fiercest wars ever, against more than one enemy, including rampant corruption, those who play with the livelihoods of citizens, those who attack the national currency, and those who start rumours to spread despair."

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