Here’s a video of Turkish protesters singing a song from ‘Les Miserables’

June 12, 2013

Don't ask me how they got a piano into Taksim Square, but this video shows a group of young demonstrators in the Istanbul protest center singing "Do You Hear the People Sing?" The song, from the 1980 musical adaption of the 1862 French novel "Les Miserables," tells the story of French protesters rising up against the rule of King Louis Philippe I. The novel and musical culminate in the 1832 June Rebellion against the king, which failed.

The song is known for such revolutionary lyrics as, "It is the music of the people, who will not be slaves again."

It's a nice sentiment, but the Istanbul protesters, many of them liberal, secular and young, are a minority in Turkey, where Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan still enjoys broadly popular support. Singing an English-language song from a French novel does not seem like the sort of thing that might endear more conservative-minded Turkish bystanders to the protest movement.

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Max Fisher · June 12, 2013