Ibrahim Quashoush (or Kashoush) (w) was a fireman in the Syrian city of Homs.  He was also an influential musician, and in 2010/2011 he became widely known for leading a lively chant against the Alawite regime of Bashar al-Assad.  A video of this chant is available here, filmed in Hama on 27 June, 2011.  It is a vibrant performance that features short verses and a collective chorus.

Read on for more, but be warned, this is not a happy story.

The power of his performance was such that Ibrahim Qashoush was murdered a few days later, on July 3rd.  In order to send an unambiguous message that this was about his chant, and not a random killing, his larynx was theatrically cut out.  I will not link to photos or videos of the ghastly scene, but it is well documented.

His chant lives on though.  Here is a video from Damascus, uploaded two weeks later.  The crowd is led in the chant by a small girl (a recurring feature of Arab chant I will return to in a later post):

The following month saw this spirited version of the chant done in Germany by a German, demonstrating the spread of the chant abroad:

Finally, and somewhat trivially, here is the chant integrated into the sound track of the popular video game FIFA 11:


The regime that is responsible for this killing tried to fight back against the power of the chant with this spine-chilling forced interview in which some poor unfortunate is forced to claim that Ibrahim Qashoush was nothing special.