A senior journalist and an art critic, Pierre Abi Saab who writes for an Arabic newspaper Al-Akhbar wrote, “The security establishment in Lebanon, no doubt, has qualifications and benefits that we may or may not know about. But it, at least, has one weakness which comes as quite a surprise in a democratic system, and that weakness is about their policy in dealing with freedom of thought, creativity and expression.
And the case of Zeid Hamdan represents a model for this abyss policy which does harm to everyone without exception, because of old habits, customs and mentalities that date back to the days of the French mandate and even the Ottoman Empire.”
With nearly 2,116 social media mentions of Zeid Hamdan since yesterday, the buzz is expected to grow at the rate of 70-80 mentions per hour on various social media networks. The first tweet about his arrest was posted at 2:42 pm (UAE local time) on 27th July, Wednesday. SocialEyez monitored the social media buzz about Zeid Hamdan globally and found that nearly 67% of the total buzz came from Lebanon alone.
Many social media users speculate that the escalating pressure due to social media buzz that was rapidly spreading within the regional social media networks was a major contributing factor behind Zeid Hamdan’s release.
The Daily Star, which is a leading Lebanese newspaper, said that “Hamdan’s arrest was ordered following a request from Interior Minister Marwan Charbel, according to judicial sources, after Lebanon’s General Security viewed the video of the song, created in 2010, and determined that it caused offense to the president.”
The Facebook group “Free Opinion, Free Speech, Mobilize NOW to Free Zeid Hamdan” shared an opinion stating, “Zeid Hamdan has been released, and this is great news, we are all happy about that! However what happened remains unacceptable, we cannot live, think, work, create… under the threat of being arrested anytime for no legal reason. We should defend our private freedoms. It is unacceptable to continue dealing with these situations again and again… and then return to silence… we should mobilize to defend the artistic freedom and freedoms of thought and speech…”
577 tweets with the hashtag #freezeid were posted on Twitter in a span of 2 hours (from 3 pm – 5pm UAE local time) after Zeid Hamdan’s arrest on Wednesday 27th July 2011.
Facebook pages created by supporters of Zeid Hamdan, saw a quick increase in the volume of buzz and also the number of likes. The page “Free Zeid Hamdan from Jail” had over 433 comments posted on the page. Total likes for the posts published on the page were 741.
Share of Voice – by Media Type
64% of the total buzz about Zeid Hamdan on social media came from Micro-blogging websites like Twitter and Google buzz. 31% of the total buzz about the subject was monitored on social networking websites like Facebook and YouTube.
62% of the total buzz about Zeid Hamdan on social media was in English language, followed by 27% of the total buzz in Arabic language and 11% in French language.
Social Media Conversations (Samples)
- “Arrest of zeid hamdan is ridiculous! the song is over year old. did they just wake up and decided to get offended? Pathetic”
- “Zeid Hamdan has been released in Lebanon I can’t believe that he was arrested for a song that popular from a year ago !!”
- “The role of art & music isn’t to flatter the fragile egos of insecure public figures.” http://t.co/SqJXPJy #freezeid
- “Arresting Zeid Hamdan will make people aggressive against you President @sleimanmichel. Be brave & give ur order 2 #freezeid”
- “Zeid Hamdan of @soapKills is now in Prison after his song “General Suleiman” This is an unaccepted act from Lebanese authorities” #FreeZeid
- “Zeid is free. Still revolting that they detained him in the first place #freezeid We need an investigation why he was detained in 1st”
- “The “General Sleiman” song/video have been online since august 2010. Why making a big deal out of it now a year later?” #freezeid
- “So President Suleiman has slow internet too, since it took him a whole year to finish downloading the Youtube video?” #FreeZeid #Lebanon
- “Absolute farce that Zeid Hamdan was detained for few hours in #Lebanon yesterday for his song General Suleiman”
- “Zeid Hamdan probably wanted some FREE publicity. That’s why he was detained & set free in a couple of hours.its all fake” #lebanon #justsaying
- “Popular musician briefly detained for defaming president: Zeid Hamdan, 35, singer, composer and produce…” http://lat.ms/qc7DTY
- “Lebanese musician arrested over song: Zeid Hamdan accused of defaming president.” http://t.co/26JVkwA #lebanon #freezeid
- “Lebanese musician Zeid Hamdan briefly detained for a video criticizing the President: shocking attack on freedom of speech in Lebanon.”
- “Lebanese artist Zeid Hamdan is in prison now because of this song” http://t.co/kMY13w0 #FreeZeid #Lebanon
Hamdan is a veteran of Lebanon’s independent music scene. With Yasmin Hamdan he co-founded the Lebanese trip-hop band Soap Kills in 1997 and, in 2005, the Franco-Lebanese Brit-pop band The New Government.
He wrote “General Suleiman” in 2008. In the lyrics of the song, inspired by Sleiman’s election to the presidency, Hamdan urges the president to rid the country of militias, warlords and corruption.
An incongruously up-beat number that cleverly mingles a paean to the present president of the Lebanese republic with a snappy reggae beat, it went viral in cyberspace, thanks to an amusing music video directed by Gigi Roccati.
This Buzz Report monitors trends and themes that recently buzzed on various social media platforms. The search was conducted on all social media platforms in Arabic, English & French. The focus of the research was on global social media conversations and social media trends reflect the sentiment towards Zeid Hamdan’s arrest. For more details write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Report compiled by the SocialEyez Content Development Team