Fear of An Arab Planet: 5 Videos & Groups Speaking Truth to Power & Repping Hip Hop to the Fullest

Here’s some hype videos and groups from the Arab world people should be up on. I’m always amazed at how so many groups from around the world use rap as a crucial communications tool to speak truth to power and now in the digital age provide images that let us know how life is in their neck of the woods. Below you have cuts from some of my favorites including Lowkey out of Britian, Narcy out of Montreal / Iraq, Clotaire K out of Lebanan/ France, Salome out of Iran and Dam out of Israel/ Palestine.. There are lots more to peep but we’ll start folks off with this batch..

Lowkey ‘Obama nation’ (Britain)


The Narcicyst P.H.A.T.W.A. (Montreal/Iraq)


Clotaire KLubnan’ (Beruit)


Salome Scream To Let Your Voice Be Heard (Iran)


Lowkey & Faith SFXAlphabet Assassin (Britain)


Dam I was Born Here’ (Israel/Palestine)


Return to Davey D’s Hip hop Corner

Lebanon-Deconstructing the Lies-Hip Hop Speaks

Lebanon-Deconstructing the Lies-Hip Hop Speaks

It’s good to see Hip Hop artists and activists alike taking a stand and offering keen insight into the situation in Lebanon. Last week we heard from Lebanese Rapper Clotaire K who is shown holding the sign.

We also heard from Cali producer Fredwreck who gave an incredible breakdown of the situation. odeo.com/audio/1567601/view

During the Hip Hop Political Convention in Chicago an Amendment was put before the body regarding the Middle East Crisis. Part of what was proposed that the US follow International Law as well as its own laws with regards to how weapons provided to another country (Israel) will and WILL NOT BE used on civilian populations.
Our country’s refusal to call for a ceasefire is unbelievable especially when you keep in mind that many of the same players in Bush’s innercircle who have influence in this conflict including our Vice President Dick Cheney stood proudly and firmly AGAINST the armed struggle waged by the Nelson Mandella’s African National Congress during South Africa’s Apartheid Regime. We should also never forget that Israel’s government during that horrible time, freely sold weapons and gave that wicked white Apartheid Government nuclear capabilities. This was inspite of the worldwide economic boycott and sanctions against South Africa.
This week long time B-girl and activist Mona Ibrahim aka Dragon Lion comes through and kicks the science on this situation. Her background and understanding of this situation is deep. Some of these talk shows need to reach out to Fred, Clotaire and Mona to be a part of those roundtable discussions to offer up fresh new takes on things..
by Mona Ibrahim aka Dragon Lion




monabrownI don’t even know where to begin. So much to say. Though what Israel is
doing is absolutely horrifying, it is by no means surprising. In fact, it
is completely in line with the unjust nature in which Israel has conducted
itself since its colonialist inception. It is completely in line with the
nature of an apartheid imperialist country such as Israel. Let us not
forget Israel’s history of oppression. This is just one of many examples of
that. For those who don’t know or those who need a reminder you can check
this link, www.dying2live.com/did_you_know.htm

And to see a listing of some of the over 70 plus United Nations Security
Council Resolutions violated by Israel, the most UN resolution violations by
any country in the world, you can check this link:

Now on to the media. It is torturous to listen to mainstream American media
as it is so absolutely twisted. I cannot even count the number of times
that I have heard so called “educated” commentators from various political
and social backgrounds insist, “Israel has a right to defend itself.”
Hmmmmm……let us rewind back to the so called beginning of the current
assault on Lebanon. Two Israeli soldiers are kidnapped by Hizballah and
this means Israel has the right to inflict mass punishment upon the entire
country of Lebanon? Hmmm….does not sound very rational to me. In fact,
it is a brazen violation of international law (look up Geneva Convention IV,
Article 33).

Lebanon is NOT Hizballah. Hizballah holds power in the South of Lebanon and
yet all of Lebanon is being punished for the actions of Hizballah. Two
Israeli soldiers are kidnapped and that justifies the killing of over 600
Lebanese civilians, many of them children, the destruction of Lebanon’s
civilian infrastructure, and the displacement of half a million Lebanese
people? To say this is brutally disproportionate and horrifically unjust is
a gross understatement. So how can these so called “educated” commentators
justify such blatant, austere injustice?

As Irish Labour Party President and spokesman on foreign affairs Michael D.
Higgins TD states,”The response of Israel, supported by the most powerful
country in the world [the US], is outrageous both in terms of the killing
and injuring of civilians and the destruction of civilian infrastructure,
which is occurring in such fashion as to even make impossible the delivery
of humanitarian relief by the United Nations and its agencies. Such
destruction is something which should not surprise the international
community. Israel has followed this policy for decades in Gaza and the
occupied territories of the West Bank. At the heart of the policy lies the
principle of collective punishment of civilians, the denial of human rights
and the destruction of a way of life. In full knowledge of this, the
European Union has remained silent, refusing to implement the human rights
clauses of its own agreement with Israel despite being called on by the
European Parliament to do so.”

I would like to now take the time to quote Israeli military leaders to
highlight their brash cowboy mentality:
Maj. Gen. Udi Adam, head of Israel’s Northern Command, said, “This affair is
between Israel and the state of Lebanon. Where to attack? Once it is
inside Lebanon, everything is legitimate — not just southern Lebanon, not
just the line of Hizballah posts.” Israel’s chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Dan
Halutz, told Israel’s Channel 10, “If the soldiers are not returned, we will
turn Lebanon’s clock back 20 years.” No further comment on this as their
very own words speak volumes…

I must say now that I personally do not believe that Hizballah is a
terrorist organization; in my eyes they are a legitimate resistance group,
but regardless of whether one believes that Hizballah is a terrorist
organization or not, there is still no justification for the destruction of
an entire country based on one group. What about the right of an oppressed
and occupied people to stand up and defend themselves? Let me say that
again because it seems the mainstream media cannot seem to grasp this very
basic human right–What about the right of an oppressed and
occupied people to stand up and defend themselves?

How many people truly know the origins of Hizballah? Hizballah was formed
in 1982 in response to Israel’s brutal invasions, yes invasions, plural, and
occupation of Lebanon. How quickly people forget. Over 20,000
Lebanese were killed during this occupation. And what about the massacres
at the refugee camps of Sabra and Shatilla for which the Belgian
International Courts sought to prosecute former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel
Sharon for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide as he was the
Israeli Defense Minister at the time of the Sabra/Shatilla massacres in 1982
and largely responsible for the massacres. Yet people want to
throw around the word “terrorism” so selectively. For the most part when
oppressed people (most often people of color) are defending themselves
against colonialist, occupying forces, they are almost always dubbed
“terrorists.” Yet the pernicious actions of an oppressive, colonialist,
occupying force are self defense? Even an idiot can see that this makes
no sense. It really is ridiculous yet sadly many people buy into this
egregious distortion of truth.

Another misconception I would like to address here that has been circulated
in the media is that Hizballah started this and there was no provocation
from Israel. That is the most asinine, unintelligent, overly simplistic
BULLSHIT. Israel’s partial withdrawal from Southern Lebanon in May of 2000
was not the end of its occupation of the region. Israel has continued to
violate Lebanon’s sovereignty long after 2000. Let us not forget that the
Shebaa Farms region is still occupied by Israel and many Lebanese political
prisoners still linger in Israeli jails many of whom have been denied a
trial. To this day, Israel still refuses to provide to Lebanon, through the
UN, a list of the 400,000 landmines Israel planted during its occupation of
the region.

Thus, Hizballah has very legitimate beef with Israel, meaning Israeli
military is fair game considering that it is in fact the Israeli military
facilitating Lebanon’s occupation, violation of human rights etc.
Hizballah’s attack on Israeli soldiers and kidnapping of two of those
soldiers is not a terrorist act as they were attacking military not
civilians–an occupied region kidnapping military from the occupying
force is not a terrorist act–take the time to examine international law if
you don’t believe me. Richard A. Falk, Professor Emeritus of International
Law and Practice at Princeton University and Honorary Vice President of the
the Society of American International Law said in response to Israeli
soldiers being kidnapped by Palestinians in Gaza: “An Israeli
soldier is part of the Israeli military capability, and I think given the
whole context of a belligerent occupation that has not abided by
international law, that has not followed the resolutions of the United
Nations, that has not abided by the Geneva conventions, that this has to be
viewed as an act of war and that it is in the context of what Israel
itself regards as a relationship of war. My best judgment…is that it is
not intrinsically a violation of international law. If he¹s subject to
torture or is executed while in captivity, that would be a violation
of international law. But to capture a soldier is not in itself in
violation of international law in this context.” I believe Falk’s
assessment can be extrapolated to the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers by
Hizballah as Lebanon too has been a victim of Israeli occupation.

So now let’s examine the grotesque double standards perpetuated in
mainstream media. First let me make very clear that I do not advocate the
murder of innocent civilians whether by Hizballah or Israel. Now onto
hypocritical media: Hizballah bombs Israel in response to Israel’s bombing
of Lebanon and kills some innocent Israeli civilians and they are “inhumane
monsters” according to the media yet Israel kills almost 20 times that
number of Lebanese civilians and they are merely asserting their right to
defend themselves against Hizballah, a group that was formed in reaction to
Israel’s occupation and oppression of the Lebanese people. This makes no
damn sense. So why are people believing such flagrant lies spewed by an
ignorant media clearly pushing a very specific agenda.

This same double standard has historically been used by colonialist,
imperialist nations to demonize legitimate resistance movements across the
globe. Remember the Mau Mau’s in Kenya who fought against the malicious
occupation of their land by the British, the FLN in Algeria that fought the
violent French colonization of their land, Nat Turner and the Maroons who
resisted the holocaust of slavery; they too were all dubbed “terrorists”
when they were merely defending their basic human rights of self
determination, sovereignty, and freedom. The same unwarranted label of
“terrorist” has been placed on legitimate resistance groups that fought
colonialist, imperialist powers throughout Africa, Asia, Latin America, and
the Middle East. And look at mainstream media’s portrayal of Northern
Ireland in their struggle against the British occupation–instead of
recognizing their right to resist an occupying force, the mainstream media
dub resistance groups in Northern Ireland as “terrorists.” The list
of such audacious examples of double standards goes on and on…

Israel’s actions against Lebanon are not merely about the two kidnapped
soldiers; the kidnapping of the soldiers was a convenient trigger for them
to proceed with a strategic plan they have had in mind for a long time.
Things are not simplistic. Please take the time to read alternative forms
of media. Educate yourselves. The US and Israel love to bring up
international law when it benefits them but they throw international law out
the window in their own policies towards the rest of the world. This is
deplorable to say the least. As Irish Labour Party President Michael D.
Higgins TD wrote,
“The refusal of the US to agree to talks with Syria, or to an immediate
ceasefire, is reprehensible. Its policy in supporting the continuing loss
of life and destruction of civilian infrastructure in Lebanon by Israel as a
collective punishment of the Lebanese people for having Hizballah in their
midst is such a breach of international law as merits bringing it before the
international courts.”

But of course the US and Israeli governments, as proven by their history,
think and act as if they are above international law. And the world is
sitting idly by and allowing it. No more…WE MUST ACT…

To read all of Michael D. Higgins TD article,”Is this the Beginning of the
End of International Law?” click here: www.medialens.org/board/

In Solidarity and Struggle,

Mona Ibrahim

Straight Outta Beirut-Hip Hop in Full Effect w/ Clotaire K

Listen to our Interview w/ Clotaire K on Breakdown FM:

Breakdown FM-ClotaireK-05

Clotaire K

For most of us the city of Beirut has an interesting connection to Hip Hop in the sense that it often mentioned in rap songs as a way to describe toughness or indicate how violent prone a particular neighborhood is..¦What’€™s so crazy is that hardly any of the rappers in the US who raise up the name of Beirut have ever traveled there and have very little knowledge of the people or its Hip Hop scene. Sadly, most don’€™t even know what country Beirut is in-which is Lebanon for those who don’€™t know.

Recently I got a chance to visit Lebanon and get the 4-11 on the politics that have come to shape this country and its music scene. First, let me say this, Beirut is an incredibly beautiful city. Before I came there I thought it was gonna be nothing but bombed out buildings and folks running around in fatigues ready to bring the drama. There are definitely those areas. And yes, you do see soldiers in the streets carrying machine guns, but other then that, the place is on fire. It’s not what you think.

At the height of Beirut’€™s infamous wars less then 5% of the city was impacted. Since those dark days, everything has been pretty much rebuilt. The nightlife is off the hook with clubs getting packed around 3am and closing at 7 the next morning. Everybody is dressed with all the latest styles and are amazingly beautiful especially the women. And as I was told prior to arriving, that once I set foot in Beirut, I would not want to leave. That prediction was right. Beirut is easily the Miami Beach or Los Angles of the Middle East-Nuff said.

We sat down with well known local rapper Clotaire K who gave us the breakdown of Beirut’s burgeoning Hip Hop scene. Clotaire K has made major inroads with a slamming album called ‘Lebanese’€™ which has a lot politically charged lyrics rapped over boomin’€™ beats.

He noted that he a long with many other middle east rappers have a love for old school Hip Hop from the US, but Southern France is where he spent most of his days. It is also Hip Hop’€™s epicenter in that part of the world. Clotaire who spits many of his rhymes in French felt it was vitally important to also include music and references reflecting his native Lebanon. The mixture is music that will not only make your head bob, but also let anyone who thinks Hip Hop begins and ends in New York or in the US, that it’€™s a new day and time.

Clotaire K explained that most people in Lebanon are influenced by mainstream US culture which is imported via TV and videos. Hence rappers like Eminem have huge following amongst the general public. During our interview Clotaire pointed out the irony of Eminem mentioning Beirut in his raps followed by gun shots, yet for all his tough talk has not set foot in the country. Clotaire K noted that if he showed up he would get lots of love from the people.

Clotaire K also spoke about touring and how he’€™s focused a lot of his efforts in countries throughout South America, Africa and the Middle East. When I last spoke to Clotaire K he had just embarked on a two week tour throughout Egypt. He noted that it was a shame that more US artists have not blessed these places with their presence and while he understand it’s not always easy to touch down in far off lands, US rap artists have left an impression of being paranoid.

Clotaire also noted that for many, Hip Hop is seen as truthful expression that is easily accessible and has allowed people to make important political statements in an overtly politicized region. With regards to him, he says that he was influenced by Public Enemy and has great love for Bay Area rapper Paris who he feels has never been given his full props.

During our interview Clotaire K gives a full rundown about the very tricky and volatile political situation that involves Syria, Palestine and of course Israel. He notes that since the city has been rebuilt, there has been huge separation between rich and poor and that while Lebanon has evolved to this trendy destination spot for the rich and famous, the stark reality is that 95% of the population is poor. Gentrification out of the downtown area seems to be the order of the day and that these are the types of conditions that lead to conflict as well as anger being reflected in the music.

You can holler at Clotaire K by visiting his website http://www.clotairek.com/ or drop him an email at clotairek@clotairek.com

Below are links to our Breakdown FM intv on YouTube

Lastly.. when I met Clotaire K I was apart of the Freemuse Music conference on censorship.. in october 2005… Below is a link to the report they issued on their findings from that year..