Fayrouz’s Jerusalem plea: for how long
By Ramadan A. Kader
Any new song by Lebanese icon Fayrouz is a landmark event. She is one of the greatest Arab singers of all time. Her last album was released in 2017. But in recent years, the prima donna, now aged 82, has been out of the public eye. Even though, her voice continues to be captivating for millions of fans around the Arab world.
Last week, Fayrouz, nicknamed the “Moon’s Neighbour” and “The Heaven’s Lyre” staged a well-timed comeback. Her daughter Reem Al Rahbani uploaded a video song by Fayrouz in solidarity with Jerusalem.
The holy city has riveted Arab and global attention since December when US President Donald Trump recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, reversing Washington’s long policy that the status of the city should be settled at the negotiating table.
On May 14, the US opened its embassy in Jerusalem amid a deadly crackdown by Israel on Palestinian protesters.
In her video song, Fayrouz appears clad in black with an image representing Jesus Christ in the background. As she sings in a hymn-like plea, still images of Palestinians brutalised by Israeli forces, flash across the screen, highlighting their decades-long ordeal under occupation.
Impersonating Jerusalem, Fayrouz desperately croons in the video: “Till when God you will keep forgetting me? For ever? Till when will you keep looking away from my face? Till when will my enemy prevail upon me?
“Look at.me. Listen to me, God. Illuminate my eyes lest I should fall into the death sleep. Lest my enemy says ‘I’ve overpowered you’. Those who prosecute me, feel jubilant if I fall. As for me, I rely on your mercy.”
The four-minute video, aptly titled “Till When?” has gone viral online since it was released.
The song comes 50 years after Fayrouz’s iconic song “The Flower of Cities” was released after Israel’s occupation of East Jerusalem in the 1967 war.