Arabic Language Blog

Oh Layla, The Situation is Bad! Posted by on Sep 23, 2014 in Arabic Language, Culture

Marhaba! If you are paying attention to news from the Arab world, you would immediately realize the situation across different states is really shaky and uncertain. Well, you’re right this is not new, but still this is by far one of the tensest periods in the modern history of the region on a number of levels. Between ravaging wars, unfinished revolutions, rising levels of poverty, street protests, and regime changes, the situation does not look promising. Hopefully things will become better in the near future. Yes, I am still optimistic. Today, I am sharing a beautiful and powerful song by the Lebanese virtuoso and artist Ziad el Rahbani. I am sure most of you by now know that he’s the son of the great Lady Fairouz. You might be wondering why I’ve decided to choose this song. Well, the answer is straightforward and simple. After months of research and work in the Arab world in several states, many of friends in the U.S. and Canada rushed to ask me about the situation and about any crucial updates from the region. I gazed and paused for a couple of moments, and suddenly Ziad’s song was the only thing that came to mind: ‘The Situation is Bad,’ (الحالة تعبانة) which happens to be the title of Ziad’s song. This song captures my sentiments about what I saw in several states while walking and driving through different streets and capitals. Although the song is meant to be a critique of different Arab societies and specifically the Lebanese one before and during the Lebanese Civil War, it speaks more generally to the dire economic situation in many Arab states. The lack of promising employment opportunities, fair wages, and prospects for career advancement plague many societies, even the richest Arab states. A feeling that most people in Arab societies are expressing: longing for the past when things were better, and critiquing where things have become and are probably going. Nevertheless, I am still and will remain hopeful for a better tomorrow. As always I have added the YouTube video of the song. I have also added the lyrics in Arabic and I have translated them to English so that you can follow with the song.

Ziad el Rahbani | The Situation is Bad

زياد الرحباني | الحالة تعبانة

الحالة تعبانة يا ليلى

The situation is bad oh Layla
خطبة ما فيش

Look likes the engagement is off
انت غنية يا ليلى

You’re rich oh Layla
ونحنا دراويش

And we’re poor (and broke)

انت بوادي ونحنا بوادي

You’re in a world (valley) and we’re in another world (valley)
وكل لحظة بعدنا زيادة

And every moment we’re getting more apart
الارض اللي عندنا بلا سجادة

The floor of our house is without a carpet
وانت معودة تمشي عالريش

And you’re used to walk on feathers

احتاروا فيكي وحيروكي

They confused and messed with your head
ضلوا حتى غيروكي

They kept at it until they changed you
لبسوك تاج ملوكي

They crowned you with a royal crown
ونسيتي اهل الطرابيش

And you forgot those who wear humble hats (poor people)

رزق الله لمن كنت وكنا

Oh God I recall when you and us
نجي لعندك وتجي لعنا

Would go to your house and you would come to ours
تاري اللي عاش حدك وتهنى

For those who lived next to you in happiness
صعبة يرجع وحده يعيش

It’s hard to return to live alone

Stay tuned for upcoming posts.

Have a nice day!!

نهاركم سعيد

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About the Author: jesa

Salam everyone! Born as an American to two originally Arab parents, I have been raised and have spent most of my life in Beirut, Lebanon. I have lived my good times and my bad times in Beirut. I was but a young child when I had to learn to share my toys and food with others as we hid from bombs and fighting during the Lebanese Civil War. I feel my connection to Arabic as both a language and culture is severing and so it is with you, my readers and fellow Arabic lovers, and through you that I wish to reestablish this connection by creating one for you.