Singing for peace: Mohammed Assaf's song for Gaza an instant YouTube hit
"Lift your head high, it is your weapon," are the opening lyrics of a newly released song, titled 'Raise Your Head High,' sung by a Palestinian singer and 2013 Arab Idol talent competition winner Mohammed Assaf. The song, which was released 17 July, scored almost half a million views on YouTube.
The video clip includes Assaf in the recording studio along series of images of Gaza under attack by Israel for the past 12 days.
Assaf sings "Your son Gaza will not be disgraced, Gaza is calling but who is to hear ... Take my blood and give me freedom, My land is from river to sea ..." in reference to historic Palestine that spread from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea until 1948.
Born in Beit Darras village, 32 kilometres northeast of Gaza, Assaf, who has been singing since childhood, is known to stand for Palestine in his songs. His final number in 2013 Arab Idol competition was his rendition of Ali Al-keffiyeh (Raise Your Keffiyeh), a signature anthem of Palestine's nationalism.
Following his winning of Arab Idol, Assaf became a national hero in his home Palestine where he was named ambassador of culture and arts. As Assaf gained unprecedented popularity in the Arab world and internationally, he was named a goodwill ambassador for peace by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA).
'Raise Your Head High' is sung by Mohammed Assaf to the lyrics of Hend Gouda, with the video directed by Sameh El-Madhoun.
At least 400 Palestinians have been killed in the ongoing Israeli offensive and near 2000 injured.