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Dammi Falastini: Removal of Palestinian song from streaming platforms stirs debate

The song ‘Ana Dammi Falastini’ has been removed from major streaming services, with fans questioning why
The singer has widespread support around the world (AFP)

Fans of a popular Palestinian anthem have expressed anger over the removal of the iconic patriotic song from major online streaming platforms. 

The song, “Ana Dammi Falastini’ (My Blood is Palestinian), by Palestinian singer and Arab Idol winner Mohammed Assaf, has been removed from several platforms, including Spotify, Apple Music and Deezer, causing an uproar from fans. 

The singer, who has amassed a large fanbase from around the world, told Al-Araby al-Jadeed, that he was shocked by the decision to remove his song and that he received an email about it.

In a statement given to Middle East Eye, a Spotify spokesperson stated that the decision was not determined by them and that availability of certain songs may vary over time and by country. 

“The removal of some of Mohammed Assaf’s content was not determined by Spotify, but rather by the distributor. We anticipate its return in the near future and apologise for any inconvenience caused,” they said.

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The singer, who is from the besieged Gaza Strip, is represented by the label Platinum Records, which is owned by the Saudi-based entertainment giant MBC.

MEE has reached out to the record label for comment but did not receive an answer by the time of publication. 

The 33-year-old singer is known for his patriotic songs, which are regularly played during weddings and cultural events. 

‘Erasure of Palestinian identity’

Across social media, people have been questioning the reason as to why the song was removed and were quick to come to the singer’s defence. 

Many have taken to the social media sites to demand that the platforms restore the song, while others have stated that they will boycott them altogether.

“You’d better have a solid explanation - apology, or I, and probably many others will cancel subscriptions,” one social media user wrote on Twitter, directed towards Spotify. 

Even though the cause has not been determined, the removal of the song has also led to discussions around censorship of Palestinian voices online.

This is not the first time that there has been controversy over Assaf’s songs.

In 2020, the Dubai-based singer was barred from entering the occupied East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. Israel’s decision to impose an entry ban on the hit singer came  "after the disclosure of video clips, calling for a struggle against Israel,” said Likud party member Avi Dichter.

After his 2013 win in the Arab Idol singing contest, Assaf was then named a goodwill ambassador for peace by the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, while the Palestinian government also named him an ambassador of arts and culture. 

Dichter said that although Israel could not prevent Assaf from entering the occupied West Bank, because he holds a Palestinian citizenship card, Israel was "working with UNRWA to stop Assaf's activities in the organisation".

This article is available in French on Middle East Eye French edition.

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