Blessed be thy Hand (Grenade)

As Hitler on the cover of TIME magazine, this song is featured here, not for its merits, but for its utter notoriety, after having dominated Egypt’s airwaves and street-bashers since late July 2013.

I lend voice to an exquisite satirist who wrote about this piece of trash-art.

‘bless your hands’ is an expression Egyptians use in the context of relaying gratitude to people who cook food for them. The words, like the melody, address the listener’s stomach. The lyrics aren’t so different from most songs written for the army in the past, telling us how it is amazing, fearless, heroic, scary but at the same time tender, country-loving, etc. The lyrics of course don’t forget to mention “Mina” (the only Christian living in Egypt, whose name is the only Christian name to be mentioned in any song that makes the effort to deal with citizenship). There is also a verse of coded personal complements addressed at General Sisi’s self, flirting with his political virility, militaristic manhood, physical hardness, and things of that sort.

Two botoxed artists open the song shock-and-awe style: Ihab Tawfiq sweeps the field with his armor-ripping voice, crying out something about the year 73, followed by long-range artillery. Then words are launched from Hakeem’s throat like less-than-accurate mortars. Ghada Ragab, who I had a hard time identifying in the video as her features have changed a lot and she now looks like wannabe-posh moms in Carrefour, was in charge of the first air strike. Leaving behind her famous dignity and the memory everybody had of her as the delicate girl sitting on a chair singing classic Mohamed Abdel Wahab songs, which was seen back then as a revolution in oriental singing traditions, she stands in front of a camera making suspicious facial expressions. Her sharp voice cracks the skies like the F-16s that America didn’t give Egypt yet.

More strikes come after that led by monsters of the type of Souma and Bousy—I tried really hard to figure out what non-sexual role either of them could be playing in the song, but I failed. Surprises come afterwards. Hisham Abbas, reportedly accused of fraud a couple of months ago. Khalid Aggag—you’ll never forget the way he screams “SHOULDERS”. Kamel himself. Even his brother, who adds a sudden miserably funereal depth to the song. Aggag’s brother or son (nobody knows) also appears. And there is a 3D simulation of “singer” Samir al-Iskandarany. It’s so convincing you might not notice it’s a simulation.”

The tackiness of the song, we could go on debating for hours. But I am not the one to criticize art or taste; to each his own. But the fact that appreciating the song has become a yardstick for patriotism is pathetically absurd.

As absurd perhaps as the divinely blessed handgrenade which Python fans will remember all too well.

…And Saint Attila raised the hand grenade up on high, saying, “O LORD, bless this Thy hand grenade that with it Thou mayest blow Thine enemies to tiny bits, in Thy mercy.” And the LORD did grin and the people did feast…..


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