Date: November 1, 2017
Time: 3:00 pm  to  5:00 pm

Egyptian musician Ramy Essam and University of Texas professor Samy Ayoub will discuss Middle Eastern politics and the role of art in resistance.

Essam was an aspiring singer from Mansoura, Egypt, when he went to Tahrir Square in Cairo during the Egyptian Revolution of 2011. His songs spread among the young people in the streets and “Irhal,” which called on then president Hosni Mubarak to resign, spread internationally through YouTube, becoming the anthem of the revolution. Essam continued to perform songs of resistance, which led to his arrest, torture, and censorship at the hands of the military government. He eventually was offered safe haven in Sweden, where he lives and continues to write and perform (videos online). Essam was featured in a “60 Minutes” segment on Egypt and describes his experiences in detail in this story in Buzzfeed.

Ayoub teaches in Middle Eastern Studies and Law, specializing in Islamic law and religion in contemporary Muslim societies. He is the author of the forthcoming Law, Empire, and the Sulṭān.

The event is sponsored by the UT School of Journalism, Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice, and Center for Middle Eastern Studies, and the Third Coast Activist Resource Center. For more information, contact Robert Jensen,

Essam will also be performing that evening at the Cactus Café on the UT campus, with doors open at 8 pm and the show at 8:30 pm. Tickets—$15 for general admission and $10 for students—are available online.

Location: Belo Center for New Media, BMC 5.208, 300 W. Dean Keeton, Austin