Thursday, 13 June 2013

Weld el 15: Boulicia Kleb

Tunisian rapper Weld el 15 has been sentenced to two years in jail after being found guilty of 'insulting the police' for his music video Boulicia Kleb (The police are dogs).

He was retried after he was found guilty in absentia earlier this year. Weld el 15, whose real name is Ala Yaacoubi, turned himself into police earlier this week after being on the run for several months.

The track denounces police brutality, in a country where freedom of expression is becoming increasingly restricted. Despite the fall of Zine al-Abedine Ben Ali in 2011, it seems that the country's situation in some regards has changed little.

Rap music gives a voice to those who have been marginalised by society, a voice to those who might otherwise be voiceless, saying things that those in authority might not want to hear.

The tragedy is that those in authority didn't enter into debate, and actually address the issue, but simply responded in the most brutal way they knew.

Of course, this kind of action only makes the state look worse, more brutal and frightened by the voice of a young man speaking his mind.

His facebook page said: "So that freedom of expression does not dissapear in Tunisia, so that a new form of censorship does not triumph in Tunisia, we support Weld Kinze, who risks two years in proson for his clip bouliseya kleb in which he denounces police brutality. We remain in solidarity."

A situation like this is a timely reminder that even the most basic freedoms we take for granted are denied to others.

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