It may seem crazy what I’m about to say, but listen up, world - the Middle East has been gripped by happy-ness! A new wave of demonstrations has swept across the region, mostly youth-led and occurring in very public places. From the Gulf to North Africa, people are rising up in opposition to negative imagery and pessimistic headlines about civil protests and economic woes. So why is it making us so miserable?
Their message is simple and powerful; it’s amplified through social media; and it’s based on Pharrell Williams ’ irrepressible hit song “Happy”. The videos - which are packed with humor, imperfection, and individuality - prove that there is nothing more contagious than unadulterated joy. They demonstrate that any distance that exists between the West and the Middle East is best travelled in dancing shoes! But incessant overplaying is making us decidedly unhappy - when will all the giddiness please just go away?
Recorded for last year’s animated blockbuster Despicable Me 2, the bouncy beat was nominated for Best Original Song at this year’s Academy Awards. It’s impossible to deny the song’s appeal, even if you’re on the edge of insanity from hearing it so often. What is it that makes this so infectiously fun? Is it the effervescent melody? Is it the joy of watching people dance as goofily as we do? Or is it the straight-up lyrical invite to dive into the group-hug-alicious action, "Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth"?
Anyway you slice it, the unabashedly exuberant “Happy” looks to be the ultimate 2014 crossover record. But the song’s culture-hopping potential has moved beyond the top 40 - it's got toes tapping around the planet.
"This is probably the most I've ever been humbled in my entire life," the rapper (who wrote, produced and sings the tune) told the Los Angeles Times about the world’s reaction to his song, "Because it's something bigger than me, bigger than anything I've ever done."
We’ve selected the best remakes from the Middle East - what better way to see how people everywhere are attracted to lighthearted fun? While the ubiquitous tune dies a too-sloooow death, we take one last look at regional spins. Spin doctors prescribe watching a few in quick succession to possibly kick your Guilty Pleasure addiction!
Jumping on the happiness bandwagon before it reaches its sell-by, here are the corners of the Middle East that were hit by the happiness bug:
- Jordan 
- Saudi Arabia 
- Egypt 
- Kuwait 
- Lebanon 
- Tunisia 
- Algeria 
- Morocco 
- Iran