'General Suleiman' Song Lands Musician in Jail


Lebanese vocalist and musician Zeid Hamdan was briefly detained on Wednesday for slander over a song posted on YouTube in which he urges President Michel Suleiman to "go home."

"General prosecutor Saeed Mirza ordered Zeid Hamdan detained for a song posted more than 18 months ago," Zeid’s lawyer Nizar Saghiyyeh told Agence France Presse.

"This is shocking," he added. "This case concerning the reputation of the president suddenly erupts while in the entire region you have heads of state being brought down and the people calling on them to leave.

"It is surreal in Lebanon to have this taking place."

Zeid was released late Wednesday, Saghiyyeh said.

He said the prosecutor must now decide whether to file formal charges against his 35-year-old client. Slandering the president in Lebanon carries a maximum prison sentence of two years.

The rebel artist was interrogated by the authorities for the first time on July 20 and another time on July 21, Saghiyyeh said earlier in a statement.

The lawyer called on the Lebanese public opinion to “take a stance in defense of public freedoms in Lebanon.”

Earlier in the day, Zeid wrote on his Facebook wall that he was arrested Wednesday morning on charges of "defamation".

"Dear friends, I am now in the prison of the police station of the palace of justice in Beirut because of my song 'General Soleiman'. They are prosecuting me for defammation of President Soleiman. I dont know, until when I am staying in prison. Please mobilize!" Zeid wrote on his wall.

In the song, entitled "General Suleiman", Zeid's band criticizes the warlords and corrupt politicians in the country: "All the militia man GO HOME Corrupted politician GO HOME, To Weapon dealer say GO HOME, To trouble maker say GO HOME, Foreign intelligence GO HOME, Neighbor influence GO HOME,... General Suleiman, U're a miracle man, Gene gene general , GO HOME !"

The song's video was uploaded to YouTube in August 2010.

Zeid's production company Eka3 issued a statement denouncing his detention as a bid to trample on freedom of expression in the country.

"It's hilarious really," a company official said, requesting anonymity. "Here you have all these revolutions going on in the Arab world and we have this in Lebanon."

Zeid was one half of Soapkills, the seminal electro-Arabic fusion act whose other half Yasmine Hamdan was the voice of an entire generation of post-civil war youth in Beirut.

A veteran on the independent music scene in Beirut, Zeid has a mystique about him within the Lebanese cultural milieu.

He is currently the vocalist of "Zeid and the Wings".

In 2010 three young men were arrested and charged with defaming Suleiman after they criticized the president on the social networking website Facebook.

No charges were brought against them and they were released after 11 days.

Comments 42
Thumb Marc over 8 years

Actually if they did arrest him, that will give the song and the singer major publicity. I would have never known about it if it wasn't for this.... Sort of a good tune regardless of the content

Thumb canaanite over 8 years

This is terrible news!

You can't repress freedom of expression and the song was not at all bad against Sleiman.

Mr President, you are already marginalized in power, and head a Government led by Hezbollah. You seem to be undertaking their repressive ways too!

Mr President, you risk losing whats left of your remaining support base amongst M14 Christians!

Thumb canaanite over 8 years

General Suleiman.... Go Home!

Default-user-icon NadimK (Guest) over 8 years

President Suleiman's undemocratic decisions embarrass Lebanese both at home and abroad. He is promoting a culture of fear and censorship. Shame on him!

Thumb bashir over 8 years

So this was uploaded on YouTube in August 2010, 11 months ago and was arrested only now? That doesn't make sense.

And he was able to access his facebook account from prison to update his status to 'arrested'?! This seems like a hoax or a badly reported story.

Thumb ithinkthere14iam over 8 years

This is such a clear violation of freedom of speech, which this bum is supposed ti protect. Go home!

Default-user-icon Le Phenicien (Guest) over 8 years

Very Well done and bravo the general security . This so called African singer , should stay in Jail , and should be an example for others that are tempted to insult the President and the Presidency .

There are laws in Lebanon , they should be respected . Hariri era is over , Lebanon is no longer a Jungle .

Default-user-icon Rotten Logic (Guest) over 8 years

Le Phenicien !

Under your rotten logic, Aoun et les 40 voleurs should all end up in jail for a coupe of lifetimes for having insulted the president so many times !

And don't you lecture people on respecting laws when all March 8 does is piss on every single law of this country !

Le Phenicien ... go home !

Default-user-icon Chi Fekhem (Guest) over 8 years

LOL @ Rotten Logic!
Can U imagine someone calling himself a human being and talking about laws in Lebanon and respecting them while the parties he supports all they do is assault the laws each and every day by attacking police patrols and media personel and on and on and on... Really Le Phenicien You are More Stup|d than anyone can imagine! But Hey! Who am I to judge You... You dont need judgment anyway! Look who U follow with Your political opinions! SAD!

Default-user-icon Le Phenicien (Guest) over 8 years

@ Rotten logic ,

Sorry but GMA nor March 8 have never insulted the President like you pretend or insinuate . That is another lie from you and your march 14 or what ever is left from them .

I can imagine why you call yourself rotten !!

Default-user-icon Fred Smith (Guest) over 8 years

I think he is referring to the other lunatic general who should go home.

Default-user-icon anonym (Guest) over 8 years

art is art weather its music or mohamad charicatures posing naked, its ART and FREEDOM OF SPEECH, this story if its true is unacceptable on every level, even though it doesnt make any sense to me that this man is arrested now and over this song, we'll have to wait and find out, perhaps he was arrested smoking hashish on an open highway and somehow they linked it to this song, or its a mass publicity stunt.

Default-user-icon Rotten Logic (Guest) over 8 years

Shove it le Phenicien ...

Aoun insulted the president and just about everyone who doesn't abide by his rotten logic. This is his only means of dialogue ...

Proof ?


The list is huge if you google it !

Go home Le Phenicien, wash the wax out of your ears so you can hear, rinse your eyes so you can see ! And quit drugs ... so you can think !

Default-user-icon Gebran Sons for Cedar Revolution II in 2013 (Guest) over 8 years

What a weak and pathetic president. Under his watch HizbIran took over Lebanese institutions by force of arms and intimidation ushering the darkest age in Lebanon's history when freedom and democracy are mortally wounded and the achievements of the Cedar Revolution evaporated. This alone should make Suleiman one of the worst presidents Lebanon ever had, a disgrace to the Cedar Revolution, a tool of HizbIran and its useful idiots. Plus, his frequent visits to the butcher of the Syrian Spring makes him a partner of this criminal regime endangering Christian survivability in the region.

Missing mirvete11 over 8 years

No doubt, Aoun wrote the song and passed the Lyrics ......LOL....

Default-user-icon Le Phenicien (Guest) over 8 years

@ Rotten logic ,

As a politician , GMA or any other Lebanese politician , has the right to ask the President political questions like GMA did !

When President Sleiman got involved openly in the elections , GMA reminded him that he was elected as a consensual president , therefor he was not entitled to interfer or to take sides politically in the elections like he did ..

Please in your answer in case you have one , let it be right and not insulting if you dont mind . You dont have to show us that you are a bad loser , we know it .

Thank you .

Default-user-icon Rotten Logic (Guest) over 8 years

@Le Phenicien

Sorry I had no right to use this language.

However, I don't understand your statement. I don't deny the right of Aoun or any lebanese to question things and seek answers.

My only concern was to demonstrate that he and his allies have insulted the president and other politicians publicly in the past on numerous account. I don't see them landing in prison although all lebanese are equal in front of the law. Maybe it's because they are above the law like their allies ?

The only losers my friend are the lebanese people who are governed like sheep by a bunch of thugs and who are brainwashed to death and cannot think for themselves. I'm not March 14 but i'm definitely not supporting March 8 ! Like Zeid Hamdan states so clearly ... they should all go home ... and take their sheep with them !

Default-user-icon MrBrain (Guest) over 8 years

I have to admit I love this song. From the artistic point of view it’s far better than most of the Lebanese video clips…When it comes to content I think Zeid should have picked up a different political topic e.g corruption he would have spared himself this problem because it’s really not necessary..
I hope they release him soon and I hope he target the dirty politicians who are destroying this country

Missing m.seraaly over 8 years

لبنان ذاهب نحو خنق الحريات فيما الناس راجعة !!!!!!!

Default-user-icon Nadim T (Guest) over 8 years

never heard of Zeid Hamdan or the song. whoever decided to arrest him made him very well know now, and he deserves the fame. you can bet i will listen to his songs going forward and attend his concerts
you politicians and prosecutors have no brains nor any sense of humour. wish you would indeed all "go home"

Default-user-icon The Truth (Guest) over 8 years

Good to see that we're adopting the rules of the Syrian dictatorship again.

Default-user-icon Neal G (Guest) over 8 years

i did not see any defamation is this , it is a simple song maybe we should arrest 85 % of the population for voicing their opinion . I'm sure that will show how democratic Lebanon has become under this new majority

Default-user-icon Samuel (Guest) over 8 years

This is a huge slippery slope to dictatorship. Freedom of expression must be respected and anyone who doesn't do so regardless of their political affiliations should be considered an ignoramus.

Missing imad over 8 years

He should be jailed just for making a dumbass stupid song like this

Default-user-icon Eddy (Guest) over 8 years

جحا مش قوي إلا على خالته

Thumb benzona over 8 years

Liberté d'expression au Liban. Nulle; liberté de circuler au Liban. Nulle. C'est un pays rétrograde. J'ai honte d'avoir du sang libanais. Voila qui renforce ma détermination a ne pas venir dépenser mes euros cet été dans mon pays natal. Que les gardes révolutionnaires et leurs alliés locaux comblent le déficit budgétaire avec leur propre argent.

Thumb sasi over 8 years

General Suleiman... go to Tehran! you can repress people better there!

Thumb sasi over 8 years

NOW LEBANON just announced that he was released! what a sick nation... wlik kilyom a2raf we a2raf!

Default-user-icon Not my Lebanon (Guest) over 8 years

Normal he got arrested! this is not my Lebanon! why are we surprised?

Default-user-icon MrBrain (Guest) over 8 years

bigdig just for the record : go home means pack and leave, resign , you are fired, get the .....out of here and so on ..So the song has an unnecessary political implication..Arresting him for few hours is okay not a big deal. Still personally I would love to see Haifa apprehended because she and the rest of the so-called artists scumbags are destroying the basic ethical values of the Lebanese…the Wawa effect has brain washed thousands of lovely demoiselles..Haifa or Madame plastique has become a role model for the majority of the Lebanese people….
One more thing for the people who are always criticizing the arrest i can tell u one thing the freedom of expression and opinion doesn't mean breaking the law and crossing the red lines….Watch the news at 8 pm . It’s unbelievable the level of provocation is unprecedented for instance the land dispute in Lassa have been portrayed as the fight between good or evil!!!….seriously the government should put a censorship because the media is compl

Missing future_vision over 8 years

Le Phenicien Go home !!

i cant believe how silly you are still trying argumenting the lost cause of MA

Rotten Logic just shutted you up and thats what you should do. Punto !

Default-user-icon MrBrain (Guest) over 8 years

or instance the land dispute in Lassa have been portrayed as the fight between good or evil!!!….seriously the government should put a censorship because the media is completely biased and irresponsible…

Thumb loveandpeace over 8 years

He got arrested for producing bad music and for saying Suleiman go home? Shouldn't the police be busy looking to arrest the Hariri murder suspects instead? What about the thugs who attack journalists or steel people property? Shouldn't they be arrested? We're definitely in a banana republic and I guess we're all too fat to start a revolution.

Thumb shab over 8 years

Now we need a song against the filthy non-Islamic militia

Default-user-icon Eli in AUs (Guest) over 8 years

This a beautiful and light hearted song; I just listened to it for the first time. I hope that this is not an indication of the policies of the new Government, especially the fact that the song has been out for such a long time. Let's hope taht we are not experiencing the results of a new repressive government in Lebanon while the tyrans in the rest of the arab world are being ousted.

Default-user-icon Heda (Guest) over 8 years

شي غريب منعتبر حالنا ديمقراطيين . هيدي ولاية الفقيه . المهم إنو الغنية صارت مشهورة. يلا إرحل و خود معك الحزب الإلهي

Default-user-icon sacre (Guest) over 8 years

We should not forget that this general (Suleiman) worked under another general: Emile Lahoud who was and still is (together with Karame) the worst political person in the history of Lebanon. Therefore he can only be like his previous master : a Syrian agent.

Default-user-icon Coolmec (Guest) over 8 years

Actually I salute Mr. Zeid Hamdan and I am outraged that the Lebanese authoritites dare\d to arrest this man albeit temporarily. I really think that General Sleimane and all Lebanese politicians heed this singer's advice and leave politics and leave Lebanon. I am sure our country will be a better place to live and we will certainly see more money with the people.
One question for Sleimane? what have you done since you became President???

Default-user-icon Poisonfang (Guest) over 8 years

Well guys, to be able to talk about freedom of speech, you guys need to undertsand the true meaning of it. Freedom of speech = Not harming someone else while giving his opinion. Now for the Video Clip, i watched it and i am all in regarding the Warlords and trouble makers, but let's be realistic....... The weapons are their, even Hassan Nassrallah doesn;t have the power to remove them. In my opinion, we shoudl concentrate on Social Security and wellfare of the people rather then weapons and causes we can;t do anything about. PEACE

Default-user-icon Stavros (Guest) over 8 years

hahaha.. He was arrested for saying GO HOME President in 2008?!? Oh no, the holyness was insulted.. How dare he? Does he not know he is a saint just like the Hibz fighters?

To this i say:
Mr. Presdient Go blow Mo or Hassan, Go Green and Yellow, Go tan in sporting, Go lube the scud, Go peel a banana, Go poop an assad, Go see Aoun about a wallaby, Go suck a duck... any other suggestions for the next song guys?

Default-user-icon Muhamad (Guest) over 8 years

This is a good song with a wrong title, instead of General Suleiman, General Aoun should be the real hero of the song.
General Aoun and Hezboshaitan Hassoona

Default-user-icon a (Guest) over 8 years

ارحل عمول اجرك معقيلء وجر كل عيل ؟؟؟؟؟؟؟؟؟؟؟؟؟؟؟؟؟ مبروك