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“ Ma7boub Al-Arab: Yaqoub Shaheen is the 2017 Arab Idol”

My pledge and my oath, my blood is Palestinian.

Yaqoub Shaheen sings this line after he was named winner of the 2017 Arab Idol. The 24 year old from Bethlehem, West Bank becomes the second Palestinian to win Arab Idol; the first being Mohammed Assaf from Gaza.

The winner, alongside fellow Palestinian contestant, Amir Dandan  and Mohammed Assaf, perform popular Palestinian songs about freedom for the land that unites them by blood. Amir Dandan is the second Palestinain contestant from the 1948 city of Majd Al-Kroum. The third contestant was Amar Mohammad  from Yemen. Shaheen, Assaf, and Dandan draped with the Palestinian flag on their shoulders like a cape concluded the victory performance with the popular song “Wein ah Ramallah” (Going to Ramallah).

Thousands of Palestinians in Bethlehem’s Nativity Square gushed in joy Saturday night, as their native son earned the prestigious title of Ma7boub al-Arab. Car honks and traditional songs sang by Shaheen were blasted throughout the night.

In the occupied West Bank and Gaza, thousands of people had filled restaurants and street coffee shops to watch their fellow Palestinians share the Arab Idol stage during the finale. Numerous Palestinians were glued to their television screens, anxious for the outcome.
While the night was a victory for Palestinians, Shaheen, with class, announces that he shares this victory with his fellow Palestinian and Yemeni contestant, as they are all Arab Idols.

“This title is just a name for me because my idols are my compatriots Ammar and Amir. Ammar you’ve raised your country’s name, Yemen, very high and I’m sure they are all proud of you.”

MBC declared that the votes cast for the fourth Arab Idol season were the highest yet. This proved how sizzling the competition was between the three talented contestants.

Shaheen comes from the small Syraic-Christian community. Originally from West Jerusalem, his parents took refuge in Bethlehem in the 1948 war. He won over the Arab world with his charisma, sleek look, and his knack for singing mawwal, a traditional genre of Arab music that laces poetry with sound. Shaheen was praised for his vocals early in the competition.

Your voice should be banned from people because it is intoxicating.” Hassan Shafi lauded Shaheen after a performance.

Regardless of the outcome, Arab Idol has once again acted as platform for uniting gifted, unprivileged Arabs on one stage. It was represented as a space where the underdog has a chance to bring pride to their broken country.

Don’t forget to leave a smile 🙂

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