“ISIS Funk” Lyrics:
ISIS is staying and expanding,
So now your passport must be renewed,
Do whatever you have to get your visa to Europe and kiss its ass.
Stop saying revolution, you’d better cover your hair and body.
Your skirt should get longer just like his beard,
Well now we’re out of clothing for your cover, your only option is to hide in the shadow.
Forget your name and your ideals, now we have islamic court,
Antara* is still alive and will take you straight to Baghdad.
We were happy to get rid of the Ba’th mandatory school books, now we’ve got to deal with history books.
Just a while ago we were discussing our revolutionary morals, now we’ve migrated to find ourselves up in Mars.
They cut his head, and his penis.
They stole the gas and Petroleum, they covered cows breasts.
Our revolution seems to be dying, while ISIS is staying and expanding, expanding, expanding,
and your passport won’t be renewed…
*Antara: a famous Arabic pre-Islamic warrior and poet
In some ways, Batool Mohamad is just your average Syrian – and in other ways, she is not. She had just begun her acting career in TV drama when the peaceful protest movement in Syria began in 2011. She felt she had no other choice but to join the protest, the freedom parades, demanding civil liberties side by side with thousands of other. Although she was never imprisoned, her choice to join the revolution did not come without cost. Her activism became a point of friction between her and her family, who did not approve of rebelling against the Syrian government, and she lost any acting opportunities in the government-controlled media. Her career and her family disappeared when she chose to stand up for her freedoms and beliefs.
It goes without saying that being a civil activist inside Syria is dangerous. While some activists have managed to remain in the country, many are just out of options. They can either work with organisations that may conflict with all their principles, or travel to some faraway European country – an option not available for many wanted activist with outdated passports.
After two years of extensive civil activism and protesting inside Syria, Mohamad came to a point where everything was changing around her. Jobless and aimless in Damascus, with all her fellow activists either detained or outside the country, she felt that she needed to do something different. She hit the road to Beirut.
In Beirut, few things changed. She was jobless and broke, but she discovered something that was worth all the trouble of leaving her city: the iPhone Jam app. The app is designed to “turn anyone into a rock star with their own virtual band” – all you have to do is sing into the iPhone microphone and select a style of music. The app lays a backing track for you and voila: your own song. For most people, this app is merely for fun and entertainment, but Mohamad saw in it a world of potential. She started recording songs and publishing them online.
“ISIS Funk” is similar to many of Mohamad’s other songs, which are cynical reflections of a tragic reality. Despite the fact that she has released only a few songs, her most popular songs “I Love Death” and “I’m From Syria” went viral in civil activism circles. “ISIS Funk” is a clever and honest jab at the fundamentalist group. The sharp but absurd lyrics speak accurately of the state of Syrian civil activists, particularly female activists, today. With the rise of ISIS, it has become increasingly clear that the group does a far better job of oppressing the Syrian uprising than the Syrian government, controlling rebel areas where people had sacrificed their lives to see freedom flourish. Now Syrian civil activists are caught in the middle: on one side awaits Assad’s security prisons and possibly death by torture, on the other they’d find Islamic court rulings meting out everything from lashing to death by stoning.
Most recently, Mohamad has moved to Turkey, moving from one city to the other and living with friends. Though her songs don’t fill her pockets with money, she has found the “something different” she was looking for in her vagabond lifestyle.
Check out the rest of Mohamad’s tracks here.