Although highly unknown beyond the Free Syria movement, an often-forgotten cause, Ibrahim Qashoush was a popular singer during the beginning of the Syrian Revolution. He soon became one of the countless victims of the Assad regime’s brutality. 

Qashoush was widely credited as the author of a popular anti-Assad song, Yalla Erhal Ya Bashar (Come on Bashar, leave!), directed at the despised Assad regime and his Arab Socialist Ba’ath party. 

(English Lyrics Provided by Memri)

His song gained popularity at protests in the center of Hama, Syria. It was spread via social media as a revolutionary chant for the entire Syrian uprising. Every demonstration and countless social media posts quoted the lyrics of his catchy chant, but consequences would soon follow. 

Yalla Erhal Ya Bashar surged in popularity throughout late June 2011, but on July 3, Ibrahim was found dead with his throat cut and vocal cords detached, an act likely intended to intimidate future artists from coordinating musical efforts to protest the Assad regime. 

Further detail on his murder was documented by the Violations Documentation Center in Syria (WARNING: Graphic images included on the webpage)

To this day, no one knows exactly who killed Ibrahim Qashoush, and accounts of his young life remain limited and disputed. However, it is extremely likely he was killed on behalf of the regime. 

The killing of Ibrahim Qashoush was not the end of the story for the Assad regime. Subsequently, a song created by pro-Assad Syrian artist Rami Kazour, titled God, Syria, and Bashar, was released on digital media platforms

This song emphasized the false image of the Syrian people’s unity behind dictator Bashar Al-Assad, as well as other Syrian nationalistic elements, all in support of a regime responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths

The war of musical arts is an extension of the ongoing conflict between the Assad regime and the rebellion. Indeed, the pro-regime song is almost identical to Yalla Erhal Ya Bashar by Ibrahim Qashoush, whether in beat, melody, lyrical length, and other factors. All of this is likely in order to mock the slain rebel artist; once again illustrating the lengths that Assad’s henchmen will go to serve his interests.

Across the globe, where knowledge of both the Arabic language and the ongoing situation in Syria is limited, the pro-Assad song has become popularized simply due to its beat and the supposedly comedic nature of its link to the Syrian dictator. 

However, it is important to note that what this song lacks in originality is surpassed by the brutal history of the Syrian Civil War and the unfortunate life of a freedom-seeking individual, Ibrahim Qashoush. 

With the massive popularity of this song (the most popular clip has over 9.2 million views), it’s important to not allow the Assad regime to whitewash its crimes and overcome rightful scrutiny by the international community. 

Media warfare is part of the plot today: examples from ongoing conflicts in the Middle East and Eastern Europe prove that point firmly. As for the Assad regime, it’s time to face the music, hopefully sooner rather than later. 

To listen to either song to get a comparison for yourself please see the following links: 

Come on Bashar, Leave: Ibrahim Qashoush Link 2

God, Syria and Bashar: Rami Kazour

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