News Brief

The Egyptian Government Has Arrested 33 People For Raising Rainbow Flags At a Concert

The Egyptian government is currently "leading a crackdown against LGBT people," reports Amnesty International.

The Egyptian government has detained a total of 32 men and one woman in the past four days in what Amnesty International is calling "a campaign against LGBT people."


The arrests come after several people raised rainbow flags during a concert in Cairo last month by Lebanese band Mashrou' Leila, a group which is fronted by an openly gay lead singer.

The flag-raising caused an uproar in the country, and three days later Public Prosecutor Nabil Sadek, launched an investigation into the incident stating that it "incited homosexuality."

Six men who were tied to the flag-raising incident stood trial on Sunday along with 10 other men who were arrested the week before. A verdict is set to be reached on October 29. One woman has been charged with "sexual deviancy."

Egyptian security forces have carried out anal examinations on five men who've been detained, reports Amnesty International.

“In a matter of days the Egyptian security forces have rounded up dozens of people and carried out five anal examinations signalling a sharp escalation in the authorities' efforts to persecute and intimidate members of the LGBTI community following the rainbow flag incident," says Najia Bounaim, North Africa Campaigns Director at Amnesty International.

"This is the worst crackdown against people based on their perceived sexual orientation since the mass arrests of 52 people following a raid on the Queen Boat, a floating nightclub on the Nile, in 2001."

Though homosexuality is not explicitly illegal in the country, but people suspected of being part of the LGBTQ community are often prosecuted under veiled charges such as "debauchery", "immorality" or "blasphemy," reports BBC Africa.

Music

Interview: Ranks ATM Makes ‘Substance Music’

South African hip-hop artist Ranks ATM on his latest EP 'Substance Music', working with Riky Rick and his crew African Trap Movement's new chapter.

Ranks ATM demands to be taken seriously. With every successive release, listeners are bound to pick up on both his personal and artistic growth. His latest EP, Substance Music, released towards the end of 2020, is an honest body of work that sees the artist divulge some aspects of his life while remaining playful and entertaining.

Young2unn, who produced a majority of the project, gave Ranks ATM beats that primarily consist of keys and strings cushioned by atmospheric pads and ethereal vocal samples panned for effect. The music is soulful enough for Ranks to tell his story and gritty enough to maintain his street aesthetic.

On Substance Music, the artist strikes the balance between playful banter and poignant expression of emotions. It's what makes his raps believable in general—he presents himself as a complete human who feels pain at times but also feels himself. Songs such as "Die For Me" and "How Could It Be" are laced with specific details that could have only been extracted from his life experiences, for instance, on the former, he raps, "You cheated on me with a gym freak, you did me dirty."

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