Aar Maanta Releases a Protest Song About Somalis Detained at Airports

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Disguised as a love song 'Deeqa' and her video highlight the injustice Somali people receive at airports around the globe.

Deeqa is the long awaited single from the UK based Somali singer/songwriter Aar Maanta’s debut album ‘Hiddo iyo Dhaqan’ and is set for general release with the new acoustic version of the song on July 25th 2010.

‘Maanta’ was one of Aar’s most popular earlier singles and he quickly became synonymous with the title of the song so much so that he decided to change his name from simply ‘Aar’ or ‘Lion’ in the Somali language, to his current name ‘Aar Maanta’. Aar began his interest in music to deal with the solitude of living in London without his family when he escaped civil war in Somalia. Although the urban music styles around London have a strong presence in his music, it is the Somali influences which resonate the strongest. This is apparent even in his choice of title for the album, Hiddo iyo Dhaqan literally translating into ‘Custom and Culture’.

The single Deeqa, is written in the traditional Somali poetic form using allegory and alliteration. The word ‘Deeqa’ is not only a popular name for Somali women meaning ‘suffice’, ‘generosity’ or ‘gift’ it was also another name for the now defunct Somalia Airlines. Deeqa is a protest song written to highlight the injustice Somali people receive at airports around the globe. Aar himself was held in custody after he was reported to police by staff at Heathrow airport upon returning from his homeland.

Sadly he is not alone, many people of Somali ethnicity have been given the same, if not worse treatment at airports, some imprisoned and released without charge after weeks or even months in imprisonment. The ‘War on Terror’ and the governments that neglect their duty to citizens are to blame believes Aar as there is no law against going to any Somali region.

The video for the single is based on Aar Maanta’s own experiences at Heathrow airport while he was mistreated on several occasions by police and airport officials. Both the video and the song discuss the issues of identity, citizenship and racism.

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