Musical Martyrs: 10 Bands Who’ve Suffered for Their Politics

El Général

Back to the present day: you could argue that the most unexpected result of the Arab Spring was a hitherto-unknown Tunisian rapper being named as one of Time‘s Most Influential People of 2011. Hamada Ben Amor — aka El Général — was arrested after the release of “Tunisia Our Country,” a protest song against the government of the now-deposed Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. Much was made of this song catalyzing the protests in Tunisia that began a chain of similar movements across the Arab World, although exactly how accurate this is remains debatable — there’s an interesting article about the role of hip hop, and also the tendency for the Western media to focus on such things, at Al Jazeera. But still, Ben Amor’s imprisonment was exactly the sort of futile gesture beloved of authoritarian governments who have lost touch with their people — and the demise of Ben Ali’s government illustrated what eventually happens to such governments… sooner or later.