Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Palestinian-Israeli Rap: Short documentary in French

Palestinian hip-hop has received and continues to receive a great deal of publicity. It will get an even bigger jolt now that Jackie Salloum's documentary Sling Shot Hip Hop has been selected for screening at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival, which opens January 17. This video reportage in French from Daily Motion, however, is not redundant. Even if you don't know French, check it out. Most of the interviews are conducted in English, so you can catch bits of them. Unlike many reports, it attempts to situate Palestinian hip-hop in relationship to the history of Palestine, and in particular, its focus is on Palestinian citizens of Israel. (Unfortunately, the video title uses Israeli state language: "Rap Israelo Arabe.") It starts with a discussion of the apartheid wall ("separation barrier"), shows some footage of a female Palestinian rapper named Rasha, who is great, and of course discusses the most well-known Palestinian rap outfit, Dam. (And it manages to translate the name correctly: in Arabic it means, "lasting" or "persisting" or "eternité" as they translate it in French, "blood" in Hebrew.)

The video introduces some rappers I was not familiar with--Saz, Nazareth Underground, and an Israeli Jewish rapper named Sagol, shown rapping in Amsterdam at an event called Rap for Justice, along with Dam. Sagol observes that Arab/Palestinian and Jewish citizens have a great deal in common, but that Palestinian-Israelis tend to view Jewish-Israelis as soldiers and Jews tend to view Palestinians as terrorists. Adi of Nazareth Underground observes that Israeli Jews regard Arab citizens as Palestinians, whereas the Arabs (outside Israel) regard Palestinian citizens of Israel as "Jews" (i.e., traitors, Israelis, etc.)

Well worth watching.

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