Human Rights

The Unlikely Soundtrack to a Revolution in the Birthplace of the Arab Spring

Part 1 in a 3-part series on the elections in Tunisia.Part 2: Tunisia's Women Demand Equal RightsPart 3: Tunisia's Politics: Finally Free to Chat TUNIS— By the time Tunisian President Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali fled office on January 14, 2011, after 24 years in power, even the country’s music had become polluted by autocracy. To survive, artists had to go along with the status quo; to prosper, they often had to participate in it, playing gigs for the regime or its supporters. Those who wished to remain independent—let alone to criticize—went either abroad or underground. Even when freedom came, the artists who had long called for it remained hidden.

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