Al-Sisi bans two folklore songs which hint at tyranny

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Egypt has banned Ya Balah Zaghloul (Oh, Zaghloul Dates) and Aho Dah Elly Sar (That Is What Happened) songs from the Sayed Darwish play performed at the Balloon Theatre in Cairo, without a reasonable reason. The decision sparked a wave of widespread ridicule on social media. Activists said the ban was due to the popular nickname given to General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi by Egyptians. He is known as Balha (red dates).

Balha in Egypt is used for every person who claims wit and wisdom but does not really possess any of it. Art critic Tariq el-Shennawi commented on what happened as “absurdity.” The well-known art critic emphasised that it had not happened at any point in time that the Egyptian Opera House issued instructions to ban these two songs or others, according to what was stated in his article in Al-Masry Al-Youm.

The lyrics of Ya Balah Zaghloul refer to the leader of the 1919 revolution, Saad Zaghloul Pasha. The great Egyptian composer Sayed Darwish tricked the occupation authorities so that they could say the name Zaghloul, despite the fact that they had banned it. Darwish made a song about one of the best types of Egyptian dates, Zaghloul. Aho Dah Elly Sar focuses on praising Egyptians in general in the face of their occupiers, and these are the paragraphs that the censorship department removed.

Eyewitnesses said that those two songs witnessed warm applause from the audience, which drew the censors’ attention because of their significance to the country’s current political situation.