The authoritarian regime led by the Egyptian President and former Chief of Staff Abd al-Fattah al-Sisi has been subject to massive criticism for several years. With an estimated 60,000 political prisoners, it is likely to be one of the most repressive governments the country on the Nile has ever had. The human rights situation in Egypt is particularly criticized by Washington, which has supported Cairo for decades, especially in the military sector. The Sisi regime has now reacted to the increasingly louder American objections and two weeks ago launched a human rights campaign without precedent for the country, at least in terms of what it was advocating.
The initiator is the state's Permanent High Commission for Human Rights - it was created in November 2018 as a result of international pressure.
The grandly announced venture is accompanied by a hundred-page strategy paper that provides the coordinates for the next five years.
It does speak of the need to establish a “human rights culture” in Egypt, as well as pluralism and diversity.
However, only a short section is specifically devoted to the right to free culture, in which it says: “The freedom of artistic and literary creation is guaranteed.
The state undertakes to promote art and literature and to support cultural workers. "
"If you leave me, I'll drink alcohol (and smoke) hashish"
However, the gap between state rhetoric and social reality is particularly evident in the area of popular music. One of the consequences of the Arab Spring in Egypt was the gradual establishment of an alternative music scene, which has its origins in the poorer areas of the big cities, especially those in Cairo. The musicians are young men who are known as "Mahraganat singers".
Mahraganat means festivities or festivals in the colloquial Egyptian language. This is also the name of weddings and street parties, where the careers of young musicians often begin. Her slang song lyrics are popular not only because of their cheek and directness, but also because they shake social taboos and often address relationships between the sexes - from flirting to premarital sex. There are also references to drug and alcohol consumption. The music style of this scene is influenced by western music genres and trends such as R&B, rap and techno. But the festival singers remain largely true to the tradition of local folk music, which they, however, use modern instruments such as synthesizers,reinterpret it with significantly faster rhythms and shrill stage performances. In this male domain, women are the exception on the stage - the musicians occasionally appear in the company of well-known Egyptian pop singers, which contributes to increasing the popularity of all those involved.Keywords: egypt, art freedom, freedom, extent, abd al-fattah al-sisi, country, lips, regime, strategy paper, music scene, washington, singers, reality, state rhetoric, president