Saturday, August 02, 2008
Kufiyaspotting #39: Rage Against the Machine
You might imagine that I would have noticed this kufiya earlier. After all, I have had this t-shirt for years. But maybe it's just that I haven't worn it for a long time. Who knows?
The progressive political inclinations of Rage Against the Machine are, of course, very well known. And Rage are one of the few music groups to have mentioned the Palestinian struggle in a positive light. On their song, "Within A Breath," from their terrific third album, The Battle of Los Angeles, Zach de la Rocha sings:
A rising sun looming over Los Angeles
Cause for Raza livin in La La
Is like Gaza on tha dawn of Intifada
Reach for the lessons the masked pass on
And seize the metropolis
It's you it's built on
"The masked" refers first and foremost to the Zapatista rebels, the EZLN, the political movement with which Rage were most identified. But also, given the reference to Gaza, it refers to what are known in Palestine as the "mulaththamin," the "masked men," who confronted the Israeli occupiers with their faces wrapped in kufiyas, so as to evade identification by Israeli security.
Here's a video of them performing the song live in Mexico City in 1999:
Trivia note: RATM guitarist Tom Morello, like Barack Obama, is Kenyan-American.