Video transcription: Get Out Bashar!

The Syrian revolution is now in its sixth painful year with no sign of a resolution any time soon. Five years ago exactly, the regime’s tanks occupied the city centre of Hama after a month-long siege which claimed the lives of more than 200 civilians. Today’s transcription is the famous revolutionary song Get Out Bashar, sung by thousands in mass protests at the heart of Hama weeks before the tanks rolled in and still popular today.

يلا ارحل يا بشار
yaLLa ir7al yaa bashhaar

Get out, Bashar!

Ir7al is not a normal word in Syria, as is reflected by its MSA imperative form (ir7al instead of r7aal). I think ir7al is a common word in political protests, though, and is probably used in imitation of the Arab Spring protests in Egypt (where protesters called out ir7al yaa 7osni).

يا بشار مالك
yaa bashhaar maalak ménna

Bashar, you’re not one of us

Literally ‘you’re not of us’. Maa-lak, maa-li etc are regional versions of maanak, maani etc meaning ‘you’re not’, ‘I’m not’, etc. The same forms – maal- + suffixes – are used everywhere for ‘you don’t have’ (i.e. the negative of élak).

منا خود ماهر وارحل عننا
khood maaher w-ir7al 3anna

Take Maher and get away from us

Khood is the irregular imperative of 2akhad ‘take’. Some speakers have kho and khi.

Maher al-Asad is Bashar’s brother, a high-ranking military commander in Syria’s armed forces. Maher was closely involved in the suppression of protests during the early period of the Syrian uprising, which is probably why he is specifically mentioned in the song.

هي شرعيتك سقطت عننا
hayy shar3iitak saqTet 3anna

Here’s your legitimacy fallen from us

hayy – ‘here is’

shar3iitak – words in -iyye reduce it to -iit- before suffixes starting with a vowel. So shar3iit-ak, shar3iiti, etc. shar3iyye means ‘legitimacy’.

saqaT 3an is quite a difficult one to come up with an idiomatic translation for, even though the meaning it expresses is pretty clear. It often means something like ‘no longer applies to’ (for example in legal contexts), or ‘no longer has a right to’.

يلا ارحل يا بشار
yaLLa ir7al yaa bashhaar

Get out, Bashar!

يا بشار يا كذاب
yaa bashhaar w yaa kazzaab

Bashar, you liar

مين كاتبلك هالخطاب؟
miin kaatéb-lak hal-khiTaab

Who was it who wrote this speech for you?

kaateb – ‘has written’, the participle of katab. Plus -lak meaning ‘for you’.

The speech in question is probably the speech discussed here, although Asad made a number of infamous speeches around this time (particularly in March 2011 when he first signalled the entrenchment of the regime against protests rather than announcing expected reforms).

الحرية صارت ع الباب
él-7érriyye Saaret 3a-lbaab

Freedom’s at the door!

3a is the normal translation for a certain sense of English ‘at’ that I’m struggling to define but appears in e.g. 3a-shshébbaak ‘at the window’, 3a-l2ishaara ‘at the traffic light’, 3a-lbaab ‘at the door’, 3alma7aTTa ‘at the station’.

SaaretSaar is a very common verb I’ve been planning to write a separate post about for a while. It means ‘become’, but is very, very often used in sentences like this expressing a change of state – freedom’s at the door [now!].

يلا ارحل يا بشار
yaLLa ir7al yaa bashhaar

Get out, Bashar!

يا بشار العيب فيك
yaa bashhaar il3eeb fiik

Bashar, it’s you who should be ashamed

3eeb means ‘shame’ – il3eeb bi- means ‘it’s the fault of’ or ‘the shame is X’s’. 3eeb 3aleek is a stronger version of 7araam 3aleek. In some versions of this song the singer says Tézz fiik, which is approximately ‘screw you’ (Tézz was also mentioned here and here) and is a mild swear word.

وعيب بكل من بحييك
w-3eeb bi kéll mén bi7ayyiik

And everyone who salutes you

Kéll ménmén is a reduced form of miin that sometimes appears with pronouns (méno? Who is he?) or in structures like this, which is the same as the fuSHaa kullu man ‘everyone’.

7ayya y7ayyi is from 7ayaat ‘life’ and probably originally meant ‘wish long life on’. 7ayyaak aLLaah (‘God give you long life’) is a greeting I used to hear a lot from Jordanian taxi drivers.

وع الكرسي ما حنخليك
w 3a-lkérsi maa 7a-nkhalliik

We’re not going to leave you on the throne

kérsi – chair, of course. But here it’s symbolic – the throne.

7a-nkhalliik7a- is more commonly associated with Egyptian than with Levantine, but both exist and are used for the future. Khalla is a very useful word with a number of meanings, including ‘leave’ and ‘allow’.

ويلا ارحل يا بشار
w-yaLLa ir7al yaa bashhaar

Get out, Bashar!

يا بشار حاجه تدور
yaa basshaar 7aaje tduur

Bashar, stop trying to get out of it

7aaje – ‘stop’, ‘enough’, followed either by a subjunctive verb or a maSdar, English style (7aaje shér@b! stop drinking!). Also appears as 7aaj or 7aajt- with pronoun suffixes.

tduur – literally turning. Another version of this line goes 7aaje tliff w-7aaje tduurliff also means ‘turn’, and the two verbs often occur together with a meaning of ‘spinning back and forth’ or ‘turning back and forth’ (or ‘going round and round’).

دمك الفاسد مهدور
dammak él-faased mahduur

Your corrupted blood can be shed freely

Blood which is mahduur is, historically, blood which can be shed with impunity (i.e. without incurring either revenge from the victim’s relatives or having to pay compensation to them). This is one of a few cases where in fuSHa the passive participle is used to mean -able (maqruu2 ‘legible’ is another one).

خطأك مانو مغفور
khaTa2ak maano maghfuur

Your mistake is not forgiven!

Maano is the more common equivalent of maalo.

ويلا ارحل يا بشار
w yaLLa ir7al yaa bashhaar

Get out, Bashar!

يا ماهر يا جبان
yaa maaher yaa jabaan

Maher, you coward

يا عميل الأميركان
yaa 3amiil él-ameerkaan

You agent of the Americans

The usual form for ‘America’ in Syria is not amriika but ameerka. Ameerkaan is of course the plural of the people, whilst its singular is either ameerki or ameerkaani. 3amiil is an agent or often a collaborator.

الشعب السوري ما بينهان
ésh-sha3b és-suuri maa byénhaan

The Syrian people cannot not be disdained!

The passive in Arabic is often used in a way which it is not in English expressing what can or can’t be done: maa byin2akel ‘it’s not edible’, maa binnaam fii ‘it’s not sleep-able in’, maa byinmasha ma3o ‘you can’t get along with him’, maa byin2ara ‘it’s illegible’.

ويلا ارحل يا بشار
w yaLLa ir7al yaa bashhaar

Get out, Bashar!

يا بشار وعد مني
yaa bashhaar wa3@d ménni

Bashar, I swear to you

Whilst ‘a promise from me’ is not a particularly idiomatic in English, wa3@d ménni is quite a common way of saying ‘I promise’.

ما رح تقدر تخلص مني
maa ra7 té2der tékhloS ménni

You won’t be able to get rid of me

khalaS min or khallaS min means ‘finish’, ‘get shot of’, ‘get rid of’ etc. It is often used in the same way as the verb without min, but using min gives it a negative connotation – béddi khalleS diraase means ‘I want to finish studying’, whilst béddi khalleS mn éddiraase means ‘I want to finish [this exhausting, irritating] studying’.

من بعدي ملايين بتغني
mén ba3di malaayiin bétghanni

There are millions singing after me

يلا ارحل يا بشار
yaLLa ir7al yaa bashhaar

Get out, Bashar!

انا قاشوش, وعد مني
2ana 2aashuush, wa3d ménni

I’m Qashoush, this is a promise from me

ما  لح تقدر تخلص مني
maa la7 té2der tékhloS ménni

You won’t be able to get rid of me

la7 is a regional, very Syrian variant of ra7.

من بعدي ملايين بتغني
mén ba3di malaayiin bétghanni

After me millions are singing

يلا ارحل يا بشار
yaLLa ir7al yaa bashhaar

Get out, Bashar!

لا حوار ولا نقاش
laa 7iwaar w laa niqaash

No discussion, no debate

This is a fuSHaa structure (the ~laa of categorical negation~, look it up kids) with two fuSHaa words (which are basically synonyms). It’s a common feature of protest chants.

مع هالشلة  الأوباش
ma3 ha-sh-shéllet él-2awbaash

With this gang of swine

shélle means something like ‘gang’ or ‘band’ – it’s an informal word for a collection of people, and is often used to refer to your friends (jiib ésh-shélle kélla ‘bring the whole gang’, ween ésh-shélle ‘where’s the gang?’). 2awbaash is ‘trashy people’ (the plural of wabash). They form an iDaafa structure.

The ha-sh- at the beginning is exactly what it looks like – ha- ‘this’ plus definite article. This is weird, of course, because normally (and certainly in MSA) an al- cannot come at the beginning of an iDaafa – in fact only the last term of iDaafa can take definiteness marking. This is also the case in Syrian in general, except when we want to attach a ‘this’. Since ha- cannot attach to nouns unless a definite article is also there, a definite article has to appear here too. It’s quite possible that the whole thing has been reanalysed as a separate prefix hal- which just happens to assimilate like the definite article – it’s often written separately as هال.

ويا بشار ويا غشاش
w yaa basshaar w yaa ghasshaash
Bashar, you cheat

يلا ارحل يا بشار
yaLLa ir7al yaa bashhaar

Bashar, get out!

هادا صوتي عم بينادي
haada Sooti 3am binaadi

This is my voice calling out

يلا روح تريك بلادي
yaLLa ruu7 @treek @blaadi

Come on, go, leave my country alone

treek – the imperative of tarak yétrek ‘to leave’. The long vowel (as opposed to itrik, or whatever) is a feature of Syrian and Lebanese; Palestinian and Jordanian have a more MSA-shaped imperative.

يلا كذبك صاير عادي
yaLLa kézbak Saayer 3aadi

Come on, we’re used to your lies

Literally ‘your lying has become usual’. Saayer here is the participle of Saar ‘has become’.

يلا ارحل يا بشار
yaLLa ir7al yaa bashhaar

Get out, Bashar!

بدنا نشيلو لبشار بهمتنا القوية
béddna nshiilo la-bashhaar bi-hémmétna l2awiyye

With our strong resolve we’ll get rid of Bashar!

Béddna here doesn’t mean ‘we want to’ but rather ‘we’re going to’, ‘we will’. Shaal yshiil means ‘pick up’ or ‘take up’. It’s also used, for example, for removing a battery from a phone or film from a camera – probably the intended meaning here. The -o la- here seems unnecessary (why not just say nshiil bashhaar), but is a pretty common structure we’ve seen elsewhere and here helps to keep the meter.

سوريا بدها حرية سوريا بدها حرية
suuriyya bédda 7érriyye, suuriyya bédda 7érriyye

Syria wants freedom! Syria wants freedom!

طالبنا بالحرية, سمونا ارهابية
Taalabna bi-l7érriyye, sammuuna érhaabiyye

We demanded freedom, they called us terrorists

Taalab b- is obviously related to Talab and means ‘demand’.

érhaabiyye – the plural you’re probably used to is irhaabiyyiin, but in Levantine dialects lots of nouns – especially ones with a nisba ending – are pluralised with -a/-e.

سوريا بدها حرية سوريا بدها حرية
suuriyya bédda 7érriyye, suuriyya bédda 7érriyye

Syria wants freedom! Syria wants freedom!

حيو شباب الرستن والشباب الحموية
7ayyo shabaab ér-rastan w-ésh-shabaab él-7amwiyye

Up with the youth of Rastan and the Hamawi youth

7ayyo – maybe etymologically from the verb 7ayya (‘salute!’) or from the CA verb حي ‘live’, as in ‘long live’, but now it always takes the same ending. It’s an expression of support, encouragement or celebration – perhaps ‘up with’ or ‘hurray’ in English depending on context.

7amwiyye – the plural of 7amwi, a person from Hama. This has the –e plural too, as you can see.

سوريا بدها حرية سوريا بدها حرية
suuriyya bédda 7érriyye, suuriyya bédda 7érriyye

Syria wants freedom! Syria wants freedom!

مكتوب على علمنا بشار خاين وطننا
maktuub 3ala 3alamna bashhaar khaayen waTanna

It’s written on our flag – Bashar’s betrayed our motherland

maktuub – obviously the passive participle of katab ‘write’. Unlike English we usually don’t need a pronoun with participles or adjectives – an adjective can stand on its own without a subject as long as it’s provided by context. Maktuub ‘it is written’ is a full sentence.

khaayen – the active participle of khaan ykhuun ‘betray’, meaning ‘has betrayed’ or ‘traitor’.

سوريا بدها حرية سوريا بدها حرية
suuriyya bédda 7érriyye, suuriyya bédda 7érriyye

Syria wants freedom! Syria wants freedom!

مكتوب على علمنا مخلوف سارق وطننا
maktuub 3ala 3alamna, makhluuf saare2 waTanna

It’s written on our flag – Makhlouf’s robbed our motherland

saare2 – has stolen, has robbed. sara2 yisro2 can mean both ‘steal [an object]’ and ‘rob [a person]’, so either interpretation – stolen our waTan or stolen from our waTan – is possible. The Makhlouf in question here is Rami Makhlouf , a close relative of the Asads. He’s famous for profiting hugely off corruption in Syria.

سوريا بدها حرية سوريا بدها حرية
suuriyya bédda 7érriyye, suuriyya bédda 7érriyye

Syria wants freedom! Syria wants freedom!

نحنا شباب التغيير متطالبنا شرعية
né7na shabaab ét-taghyiir, maTaalébna shar3iyye

We’re the youth of change, our demands are legitimate

maTaaleb here is ‘demands’ (plural of maTlab). Shar3iyye here is the feminine of shar3i ‘legitimate’, not the noun ‘legitimacy’.

سوريا بدها حرية سوريا بدها حرية
suuriyya bédda 7érriyye, suuriyya bédda 7érriyye

Syria wants freedom! Syria wants freedom!

حاجه تطلع قوانيين قوانينك كذابية
7aaje tTalle3 qawaaniin, qawaaniinak kazzaabiyye

Stop putting out laws, your laws are false

7aaje again. Talla3 here means ‘put out’ (i.e. make new laws). The qawaaniin in question are probably the various long-term legal changes Asad alludes to without promising anything concrete in his 2011 speeches.

سوريا بدها حرية سوريا بدها حرية
suuriyya bédda 7érriyye, suuriyya bédda 7érriyye

Syria wants freedom! Syria wants freedom!

وحاجه تطلع قوانيين شرعيتك منتهية
7aaje tTalle3 qawaaniin, shar3iitak méntehiye

Stop putting out laws, your legitimacy’s run out

This time shar3iyye is ‘legitimacy’ again. Méntehiye is the colloquial pronunciation of the MSA muntahiya, from انتهى intaha.

سوريا بدها حرية سوريا بدها حرية
suuriyya bédda 7érriyye, suuriyya bédda 7érriyye

Syria wants freedom! Syria wants freedom!

لو طيرتو هالقاشوش في متلو الف ومية
law Tayyartu hal-2aashuush fii métlo 2alf w miyye

Even if you get rid of this Qashoush, there’s 1,100 more of him

Tayyar here is equivalent to 2alla3 or Talla3 – get rid of, send him flying. Métlo is obviously ‘like him’.

This line is particularly poignant because Ibrahim Qashoush – the composer of this song – was apparently murdered by the Syrian security forces shortly after the demonstrations.

سوريا بدها حرية سوريا بدها حرية
suuriyya bédda 7érriyye, suuriyya bédda 7érriyye

Syria wants freedom! Syria wants freedom!

لو طيرتو هالقاشوش في متلو الف ومية
law Tayyartu hal-2aashuush fii métlo 2alf w miyye

Even if you get rid of this Qashoush, there’s another 1,100 like him

سوريا بدها حرية سوريا بدها حرية
suuriyya bédda 7érriyye, suuriyya bédda 7érriyye

Syria wants freedom! Syria wants freedom!

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