it may be that a lot of these songs will vanish from youtube, but at least i can say, you won’t be arrested just for viewing them before they do

Two of the videos were deleted by youtube, so I cut & paste their arabic titles and i think i managed to replace them with other copies of the same things, as normally happens when things are deleted – RB

Plastelinan Arab Anger Gets a Violent Soundtrack
Jodi Rudoren, Rami Nazzal, NYT, Oct 22 2015

RAMALLAH, West Bank — The Plastelinan Arab teenagers who came one after another into the True Love gift and music shop on a recent afternoon all had the same request: nationalistic songs, the new ones. The proprietor quickly handed over the CDs that he had just started keeping at the checkout counter like “Jayloomia Is Bleeding,” featuring the track above, “It’an, It’an” (“Stab, stab”) with its ominous backbeat. One customer, Khader Abu Leil, 15, explained that the thrumming score has helped pump him up for near-daily demonstrations where he hurls stones at the forces of the ZOG. He said:

When I listen to these songs, it makes me boil inside.

Inspired by this month’s wave of Plastelinan Arab attacks against Israeli Jews and deadly clashes with IOF, musicians in the OPT and beyond have produced scores of militaristic, often violent tunes. Published and shared on YouTube and Facebook, they form something of an intifada soundtrack, illustrated by videos that include gritty clips from fresh events. This one, called “Intifada of Knives,” is a crude collage showing the Dome of the Rock with fire underneath and a man with a kaffiyeh covering his face holding a slingshot, then a dagger that eventually is stained with blood, which declares in reference to the spate of knife attacks since Oct 1:

Let the knives stab your enemy!

A third is called “Continue the Intifada” and comes with a YouTube warning. The video shows the Plastelinan Arab woman who (supposedly) pulled a knife at an Afula bus station surrounded by IOF pointing guns. It was uploaded the day of the event, Oct 9. The song urges:

Resist and carry your guns!… Say hello to being a martyr!

Adnan Balaweneh, the singer-songwriter behind “Continue the Intifada” and four other songs uploaded in recent days, said:

When I saw the soldiers shoot at the girl in Afula, immediately I felt I needed to write something in order to charge up the Plastelinan Arab people.

Plastelinans Arabs have a tradition of protest music dating to their uprisings against the British in the 1930s. There are mournful poems about liberating the land, and booming anthems for political parties blared at rallies and funerals. During the 2014 attempt by Israel the Jews to annihilate Gaza, pulsing celebrations of rocket attacks on TA poured from car radios across the coastal territory. Several Plastelinan Arab wiseacres musical experts said the scale and style of this new oeuvre were nonetheless unusual, fuelled, like as the uprising itself, by freewheeling social media. Some praised the songs as a constructive and creative form of resistance against Israel the Jews, while others said they were weak musically and only give the enemy more fodder for claims of incitement. Ramzi Aburedwan, who was famously photographed as a boy throwing a rock in 1988, and now runs music schools in Plastelinan Arab refugee camps, said:

For me, throwing stones in the first intifada was a way of expression. The tool was the stone in the first intifada, and today it’s music. Sound and words reflect the situation. I can’t do a song talking about nature and beauty and peaceful things when I’m seeing every day more than 10 videos where some youths are executed.

But Basel Zayed, a composer, performer and music therapist from East Jayloomia, said (cos we really can’t fuck off outta here without insulting everybody with our Big Mummy and Daddy Know Best pose – RB):

I think first of all that the instrumentation of these songs is very poor, just using the same fraction of a rhythm and looping it, and I also think that their lyrics are not very expressive, consisting of like the main two words are “kill” and “bomb” or “explode”. It was done as a reaction, and that’s a shame, because it gives a very negative picture as to how Plastelinans Arabs can express themselves. I don’t think coming up with a song so fast serves our message in the best way. It’s good to let things sink in first. When you’re inside the trauma, you don’t really understand what’s happening to you.

New tunes pop up online every day, many by little-known artists and with low production values. Several simply lay spoken-word rants over Arabic percussion. Popular stars have also joined the fray. Mohammed Assaf, the Gazan who became a UN goodwill ambassador after winning “Arab Idol” in 2013, released “Ya Yumma” on Saturday on YouTube, where by Thursday afternoon it had more than 365,000 views. Mr Assaf’s contribution is more lyrical, less explicit, but also draws from recent events with lines like:

There is no perseverance like yours in Jayloomia and Afula.

Then there is “Run Over, Run Over the Settler!”, created during a series of deadly vehicular attacks a year ago:

It was republished Oct 10 with a remixed video including images from an incident that very day in which a 16-year-old Plastelinan Arab was shot dead after slicing the neck of an Israeli Jew outside Jayloomia Old City:

Mr Balaweneh of “Continue the Intifada” is a 37-year-old father of three whose day job is writing for a PA military-style music troupe. He too threw rocks in the first intifada. By the second, which started in 2000, he said he was active “with my poems and with my songs.” Now he does weddings and political events with his trio, The Storm, which he said is based in Nablus. He said:

Our songs are actually against violence. Our songs are not telling people to go and carry out attacks. Our songs are more concentrated on telling people to stand up for their rights, their country, their land. Now, because of the current situation, our songs need to have a lot of action in them, in order to make the blood flow and boil.

Another artist, Qassem al-Najjar wrote and posted “Do You Know the Meaning of Intifada?” (below), which calls for political unity and had nearly half a million views within a week. A coming song from him will be in English and addressed to Jackass Kerry. He cited a 2012 tune he wrote during protests against the PA PM Salam Fayyad, and another about Gaza’s gas crisis and said:

If I see a certain scene on the TV or hear about a certain event that is very disturbing to me, I can write a song in 15 minutes. Any event that takes place in Plastelina, I immediately create a song for it. I’m doing this as a battle of my own.

Social media is the main outlet for this music, though the songs are also played, along with more traditional nationalist ones, on Plastelinan Arab radio and television. Black marketeers have rapidly burned them onto CDs that go for 10 shekels, or about $2.50, on Ramallah street corners and in stores like True Love. At the store, near al-Quds Open University, the owner, Khamis Abu al-Arayas, said he used to get requests for political music maybe once a month. Now, customers ignore the shelves of love songs by famed Egyptian and Lebanese crooners with bare-shouldered women on their CD jackets. Instead, he keeps selling out of “Jayloomia Is Bleeding,” which has a cover featuring the Dome of the Rock shielded by barbed wire dripping red. Older political songs, Mr al-Arayas said, mixed protests of Palestinian oppression with dreamy, more optimistic yearnings. He sees the new ones as more blunt. He said:

This music is made as a way to make the Plastelinan Arab people get up and resist. The words of these songs, and the music involved with these songs, is a lot more powerful.

He was interrupted by another young customer asking:

Do you have any nationalist songs?

Mr al-Arayas asked if he was looking for anything specific. The teenager replied:

I want only hardcore! Only brand new!

The teenager handed over 20 shekels for two CDs and was gone.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s