Music artists from the Middle East and North Africa have banded together for a song in support for Palestine.
Released Tuesday by US record label Empire, Rajieen is an anthem echoing the plight of Palestinians amid the Israel-Gaza war.
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Translated as “returning", the near eight-minute track features 25 Arab artists singing and rapping verses over a dramatic backdrop provided by Jordanian producer Nasir Al Bashir, alongside Egypt’s Marwan Moussa and Amr Shomali.
Those featured include two of the Arab world’s biggest hip-hop stars, Afroto and Marwan Pablo from Egypt, in addition to Jordanian viral sensation Issam Alnajjar, Syrian singer-songwriter Ghaliaa Chaker and Tunisian singer Balti.
An accompanying video was shot in Olive Wood Studios in Jordan and juxtaposes footage of the current destruction in Gaza with historical footage of Palestine.
What's the song about?
Beginning with a haunting piano line and atmospherics, an anguished voice asks: "Have we forgotten that I'm in my land and this is my country? And in my country I am imprisoned?"
Each artist then delivers compact verses detailing Palestine's struggle for independence.
"All we asked for was the freedom to live,” Chaker sings. “But all we got in return was death and displacement. Not even a spoken word is allowed. It’s a prison of borders and silenced expression.”
Afroto adds: “What crime did the murdered child commit? Who dreamt of only a modest future? And what of the child who survived, only to lose their family.”
Jordan's Shroof and Akhras lament the powerlessness of Palestinians bombarded on our television screens.
“Our timer ticks towards death, while everyone watches. But no, it doesn’t matter,” says the former, before Akhras delivers a defiant message: “My voice is life and I stand alone. The world is against me and I don’t fear it. They take my soul, only to claim my soil.”
Alnajjar sings a powerful chorus of resilience.
“But the key to my home remains in my heart and I’m returning with my children in my arms,” he sings. “Even if the whole world stands against me, I am returning. O’my country, I am returning.”
Rajieen hopes to raise awareness of the Palestinian struggle to a new generation with translated English lyrics available on streaming platforms, said a statement by Empire, founded by Palestinian Ghazi Shami.
“Rajieen is a powerful and uncompromising composition that serves as a testament to music's transformative potential to ignite change and capture the world's gaze amid urgent global concerns,” a statement said, adding that all revenue generated by the track will be donated to the Palestine Children's Relief Fund.