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May. 1st, 2005 @ 01:04 am O.G.s in the promised land
Possibly in reaction to the Oberlin Zionists exhibit upstairs, Students for a Free Palestine has set up a little diorama in Mudd A-Level about Arab-Israelis who fight racism with hip-hop. There's a CD player and a set of earbuds duct-taped to the diorama, through which you can hear the Hebrew and Arabic versions of the song "Born Here" by Arab-Israeli rap group D.A.M. (download here) The song makes the case that Arabs born in Israel are every bit as Israeli as Jews born in Israel, and should be treated as such.

As someone who's had a significant interest in rap for only about a year or so (and as someone who knows no Arabic and maybe two words of Hebrew), I'm not qualified to judge how D.A.M. compares in skill or talent to their American counterparts, but in terms of emotion and lyrical power (there's a translation on the site) these guys could give Snoop Dogg or Eminem a run for their money. While the song promotes a desire for peace and harmony between Arab and Jew Israelis, the song is certainly not sanitized--the anger and frustration the musicians feel about the complete absence of such peace and harmony is palpable, and there are references to the bulldozers and the bombings and the other instruments of ethnic violence that have been so characteristic of news from this region for so many years. Considering that the ghettos of the Middle East make the ghettos of New York look like the North Kansas Planned Community for Wusses and Elderly Persons, this isn't that much of a surprise. Oppression? Racism? Adversity? Survival against impossible odds? Israel/Palestine is the 'hood, no matter who you're fighting, no matter which side you're on. And it's great to see people turning these things into music instead of violence.
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