TBE is proud to announce the world premier of “Obama’s Cairo Speech: The Musical.”
Act One, which covered the period between the 1991 Gulf War and the waning days of the Bush presidency, can be accessed here. Act Two covers the speech itself, while Act Three will encompass Arab reactions to the speech.
Act Two begins with Obama sitting with his speechwriters. He’s not completely satisfied with their output, so he exhorts them to work harder.
Eric B. & Rakim: “Move the Crowd”
In the next scene, Obama strides purposefully into the stage at Cairo University. After acknowledging the crowd with a couple “simmer down/thank you” hand gestures (arms straight out and palms up and open), he launches into his speech.
حكيم: السلام عليكم
Hakim: “Assalam ‘Alekum”
For those wishing for a translation, the lyrics are translated here.
Obama continues flattering his audience while subtly encouraging the reaction he hopes to receive.
إيهاب توفيق: الله عليك يا سيدي
Ehab Tawfiq: “Allah ‘Alek Ya Sidi”
Again, for those requiring translation, please see here.
Obama then moves into the more substantive policy portion of his speech. Although his next number is an older song, from the mid-90s, many in the audience appreciate it.
Pavement: “Two States”
Then he sings this, about Iran’s nuclear program.
Nena: 99 Luftballons
The musical’s Greek chorus, representing the Arab public, sort of tuned out at that part, despite the furious exhortations of their erstwhile conductors (the collective Arab leadership) to drum up interest in the topic. That might have been because Obama sang only the Iranian version of the song, while ignoring the Israeli version, below.
Nena: “99 Red Balloons”
Of course no Obama speech would be complete without a dose of hope for change. To that end, he dusts off an old chestnut beloved worldwide.
Scorpions: “Wind of Change”