Democracy Now! is an award-winning organization that began as a syndicated radio show. They’ve reported on a variety of major issues, and has been graced by major personalities, including Bill Clinton. Recently, they reported on something that has become a bit of an internet celebrity. Skip ahead to the 49 min mark on the below audio file to check out the interview with DAM.[audio:http://media.switchpod.com/users/democracynow/ftp/dn2008-0515-1.mp3]
DAM, which stands for Da Arabian MCs (and also means things in both Arabic (eternity) and Hebrew (blood)) have been using hip hop to try and convey the turmoil they feel and deal with. It’s a good way to try to communicate the disenfranchisement and the suffering of the Palestinian people.
All three members of this group are Israeli Arabs, which is even more confusing. Those who aren’t familiar may want to read below. I’ve copied a bit of the transcript of the interview because, as always, it’s usually better to hear things directly from the source:
AMY GOODMAN: For people who aren’t familiar with what it means to be a Palestinian within Israel, to be an Israeli Arab versus a Palestinian in the Occupied Territories, could you explain the difference?
TAMER NAFAR: I’d say for the Palestinians it means like the first step of return, because we still are a signature, Palestinian signature, you know, as a culture, still inside of Palestine. For the Israelis—and I’m quoting the Parliament of Israel, the government of Israel—we are considered a “cancer.” This is how they call us, a cancer, because we are a demographic bomb for them, like we are Arabs inside of Israel, and we are a threat, us being natural and having babies. Small, cute babies are called demographic bomb and demographic threat for the majority of having—for the Jewish majority.
For a more neutral take, Israeli Arabs are citizens of the state of Israel and live within its borders. They are not subject to the same treatment that Palestinians receive, but are not necessarily considered “equal” to their Israeli Jewish counterparts.
DAM is on tour all over North America and apparently just performed in Toronto. So check your local alternative weekly, or do a quick google search to see if they’re touring in an area near you.
Here’s a track just to get a taste: “Bade Salammahmood feat. Shadia”[audio:http://cache03-music01.myspacecdn.com/20/std_cc389844baad050ceddac671eb5ac2b0.mp3]