Friday, March 28, 2014

Cultures of Resistance: Hip Hop’s Place in Palestinian Resistance

Note: This is an essay I wrote a while back for the May 2012 "Cultures of Resistance" academic workshop at the University of Exeter. Many thanks to Dr. Sophie Richter-Devroe, Polly Withers, and their colleagues at Exeter for inviting me. I've updated my essay a bit and posted it here for you to enjoy.
 What is the Palestinian Hip-Hop Community?
The Palestinian hip-hop community encompasses Palestinian artists from Israel, the West Bank, Gaza, surrounding countries and the worldwide Palestinian diaspora. While marginalization, dislocation, and occupation form the thematic core of Palestinian hip-hop, Palestine’s leading rappers cast their gaze much further. To them, any successful Palestinian resistance must also fight the wider social, economic, and political systems that keep the Israeli occupation and the Middle East's status quo in place. They call for resistance against their own leaders and identify Palestine's struggle with the Arab peoples’ uprisings against their own governments. Revolutionary rappers throughout the Middle East and the world, in turn, are associating their fights against their own societies' social injustices with the Palestinian cause – a process that Palestinian hip-hop artists encourage and amplify.