Friday, August 14, 2009

Al Khouf

This is a Moroccan hip hop song about fear. Released in 2006. Brilliant. Bigg, the singer, has since been playing songs about gang rivalries and showing videos of him driving around in fancy cars. But this song still shows what hip hop can offer. Thanks to my husband for the translation :)

FEAR Refrain: Noooo more FEAR Your heads up free Moroccans and say no more fear!
Throw your hands up those who have no fear in their hearts!
I’m afraid of the cop, I’m afraid of the municipality and I’m afraid of those who have money.
You are afraid of everything but you have no fear from Allah.

There is someone who fears a cop.
There is someone who is afraid of the municipality.
There is someone who fears “lamqdam” (assistant of the local governor).
And there is someone who has immunity.
There are those among you who are afraid of me.
There are those among you who are afraid about me.
There are those who were arrested unjustly.
There are those who bombed themselves.
There are those who represent a party.
There are those represent themselves.
There are those who just act in front of the people.
There are those who clean their molars (refers to rich people who clean their teeth after having a big a meal).
There are those who have stolen the money of remote towns.
There are those who denied that they have robbed public money.
There are those who curse girls in their CDs, and forgot that they themselves insult God.
There are those who follow my words.
There are those who are worried about me because of what I say.
There are those who died in front of my eyes.
There are those who killed and got away with it.
There are those who govern unjustly because they belong to the elite.
There are those who govern unjustly and their friends have been oppressed in the media.
There are those who gain a billion and can’t give away one Dirham.
There are those who make one Dirham that gives them a headache.
There are those steal public funds and they sound like beggars.
There is the journalist who writes in ' Telquel' and was arrested. (Telquel is a progressive Moroccan magazine that has been struggling against censorship laws in Morocco)
Brother journalist, we are with you.

Refrain: Fearrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr
There are those who are afraid of a cop.
There are those who are afraid of the municipality.
There are those who shake in front of them.
There are those who curse God.
There are those who understand their circumstances.
There are those who feel their concerns.
There is the taxi driver who smokes cigar in front of them.
There are those who were arrested.
There are those whose minds are clean and those whose minds are dirty.
There are those like me, holding on to a microphone.

All young men don’t vote on the day of elections.
Everyone steals their money. Everyone steals our money.
And gossip is circulating around.
Someone has slaughtered a bull. (During elections season, rich candidates throw lavish parties and invite those are eligible to vote).
Someone has slaughtered a cow.
What about those who have slaughtered us???????? Ohhhhh ohhhhh this year there is no money to create more jobs.
Ohhhhh ohhhhh you have stolen the money of this country.

Take my first finger, the second too, the third is up and you know where the fourth is.
If we follow what they say, they are going to close our mouths.
They are going to close your mouths.
Development, development, human development...half of the wealth is for you and the other half is for me.
Underground hip-hop until death.
I love my country.
Are you ashamed of sharing wealth and power?
I don’t want you to be afraid since you have done nothing wrong.
Fear has been planted within us by our grandfathers and it grows up within us.
We must stop being afraid.
We have to stop being slaves of money.
I’m a Moroccan with hot blood in my veins.
I’m ready to kill all those who steal our money.

2006 my brother, the sun goes down...goes down in death. We don’t need those who don’t wish good for us.
Hey! brother, a real Moroccan is with you.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Press TV

I wonder if one can disown the Left of one’s own country?…uh, but wait a second, I am an American and there is no Left from which to disown myself. Ouch.

You may be wondering if decades ago they were killed off and imprisoned and tortured as they were in Morocco, Argentina, Indonesia…hmm…not exactly. Months ago, at around the time of the US presidential elections, I tried to explain to a Moroccan friend why the elections were an extravaganza, a spectacular show, with Obama a mere character of the showmasters. And he asked me, “But where is the Left?” I stumbled, in Arabic and in dismay. Ah, well, you see, uh, there really isn’t a democratic system and people have two options and not really and the corporate media is dominant and people want to believe their nation isn’t racist and there is trauma and demonization of Bush and, well, uh…

And for a moment I felt so alone.

When we found Press TV on our tely, I was intrigued. Another picking from the measly English news channels BBC, Aljazeera, CNN. When my mind is strained from trying to comprehend OTV and Mehwar and other 3mmeya-based channels, I turn to see what is being fed that day in the mainstream. Moving on quickly enough I then stop on Press TV.

One of the first programs I watched on Press TV was a brilliant documentary on peasants struggling against landlords and for land reform in the Philippines. I later found there are programs run by George Galloway, Yvonne Ridley and Tariq Ramadan, all personalities with whom I am familiar.

I was even more intrigued when we discovered that the channel was Iranian and funded by the Iranian government. And even more intriguing that it is mired in controversy! Press TV has been criticized for being anti-semitic, biased, a handler for the Iranian government. The list goes on.

And quickly enough I have grown bored. Maybe that is because when I turn to watch it more often than not I happen to turn to the program “The American Dream” (by timing not interest, of course). And the Americans on this program and most of the other news/social commentary programs I have seen seem to be, well, if not straight from the mainstream, then the non-left Left.

To illustrate this point, a week or so ago the show was devoted to the current US imperial wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The discussion being devoted mostly to the military logistics of the war. One of the guest call-ins, a publisher, presented herself as a peace activist, against both wars, and said with exacerbation something like, “The Afghanistan War is going to be Obama’s Vietnam. And that is really sad for Obama.”

Huh, say it again? You are sad about the war for Obama’s sake? How about being outraged about a war that has killed thousands, has disrupted the lives of thousands, disturbed thousands of villages, violently carved out an eco-landscape, destabilized a region – and will continue to do so?

About a week ago on another program based in Beirut (perhaps “Middle East Today”), the program was devoted to Palestine-Israel under the Obama administration and the guest speaker was an American journalist based in Beirut. The guest speaker acknowledged that any improvement in relations, any steps toward a two-state solution, look bleak. The Israeli government under Netanyahu is not going to make the concessions it needs to. The Press TV correspondent asks him about the Obama Administration. The American journalist responds that the administration perhaps made a mistake by focusing on Israeli settlements in the occupied territories as this issue is not that important to Israelis. (And on and on.) But really given how much Obama has on his hands, he is doing what he can. You know, he really has his hands full –

yeah, and we know of what.