Palestinian hiphop

by tobybee

I just got off the phone from a friend, Crystal, who is writing her PhD on Australian Indigenous music as resistance. Her work is pretty great – I love it for the way it challenges me to rethink ways in which resistance works. Coming from Holocaust historiography, where resistance is so predominantly thought of as militant, violent Uprisings, and not participating in such actions is made to indicate weakness, I’ve kind of become a bit wary about overly admiring resistance efforts. But Crystal looks at the ways in which music which is made by Indigenous people, for Indigenous people, is resistance, in that it’s about keeping politics and ideas going for the people themselves. And by keeping their own politics/cultures etc alive, they are resisting a state that tries to destroy them.

Anyway, so awhile ago I lent Slingshot Hip hop to her. I thought she’d love it. As they explain,
“Slingshot Hip Hop braids together the stories of young Palestinians living in Gaza, the West Bank and inside Israel as they discover Hip Hop and employ it as a tool to surmount divisions imposed by occupation and poverty. From internal checkpoints and Separation Walls to gender norms and generational differences, this is the story of young people crossing the borders that separate them.”

It’s a pretty amazing, inspiring, maddening, challenging and exciting film. If you haven’t seen it I can’t recommend enough that you should go see it. And what was great was that it took Crystal ages to get around to watching it, but she has, and she loved it. And she’s told all her friends to watch it, and they’re going out now and reading up on Palestinians. Hearing that certainly gave my afternoon a much needed energy boost.

Which brings us to Ramallah Underground, a Palestinian hiphop group who are performing as part of the Melbourne International Arts Festival on October 23rd. If you’re free, you should definitely go.

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