P.L.O. Style – [Political Undertones in Pop-Culture continued…]


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Hip-Hop is always vilified. Guns, crime, jewelry, flamboyance, extreme rhetoric, vulgarity.

Malcolm X once said that governments often oppress people and then chastise them when they express their discontent or attempt a revolution.

It is always easy to rationalize hate of the oppressed, especially for the privileged classes who don’t understand what it means to have nothing, to be hated, and to have their voice suppressed.

The culture of the caucasian community likes to apply harsh & strict values on society, meanwhile, their societal representatives are often caught in scandals in which they are indulging in hypocritical activities.

These ‘strict values’ emanate from a sort of, Disney-esque fairy tale conceptualization of reality, in which man is an innocent child being ‘corrupted’ by cultures like hip-hop. Now don’t get me wrong, I love the Lion King. My point is not to criticize Disney, but on the contrary, the misconstruing of such fairy-tale enterprises which often establish, engrain & enforce social constructs.

The irony is that the reality is quite the opposite.

Hip-Hop was born out of the corruption of social representatives, from politics to big business. Drawing influence from the ideologies of fanaticism, white supremacy & the Jim Crow culture became a form of institutionalized disenfranchisement which perpetuates almost permanently a state of destitute poverty.

Meanwhile the “white man”, the “Donald Sterlings” of America do whatever it takes behind closed doors to secure their fortunes, which are ironically usually made off the backs of non-whites.

The system of disenfranchisement and racism in America is closely linked to its view of the rest of the world. The late Edward Said, a prominent Palestinian intellectual, labeled this self-righteous dogma of the ‘white man’ as Orientalism, which he argued, revealed a long-standing tradition of Western Civilization’s oversimplification of Eastern (or non-Western) culture.  its tools of invasion and oppression abroad, from the Middle East, to Africa, to South America, to the Far East. This ideological bigotry formed much of the cultural foundations of the Occident, or the West, which was essentially used as a justification of the enslavement and exploitation of the Orient. It was responsible for the trans-atlantic slave trade, and the modern system of disenfranchisement of African-Americans in the US.

That is why perhaps the majority of the anti-supremacist collective uprisings which arose in the 19th and 20th centuries occurred in South America, Asia, the Middle East & Africa. And all the while the propaganda and military systems have been at work in the West. Fox News is our Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi’s propaganda artist.

In their collaborative album, Distant Relatives, legendary MC Nas & Reggae godson Damien Marley express these grievances thoroughly. The following is one of the tracks off the album, “Road to Zion”, with undertones that capture the the trials of modern man, the modern Black man, in a turbulent world.

Let it also be known that just like any genre of music or medium of art can be exploited for the sake of political interests, so too can hip-hop. Since the deaths of giants B.I.G. & Pac, hip-hop’s mainstream has been left largely devoid of even the most remote references to oppression & black consciousness. Among the leaders of movement in today’s America are Kanye West & Jay-Z, whose albums never fall short of addressing personal & social grievances.

As an Arab-American, I would like to express that the modern struggle for freedom is shared by most minorities. I once heard a prominent figure within the African-American community suggest, “the Muslim is the new (black man)”. With Islamophobia and anti-Arab sentiment at its peak, not to mention the deprivation of the Palestinians at its worst condition, it is more than necessary for me to underline the importance of the role played by the cultures of the Middle East in contributing to hip-hop & the initiative for genuine art & freedom. Thanks to OkayPlayer, I came across Here is a track by another legendary MC, none other than Method Man of the Wu, titled P.L.O. Style, which surfaced at a time when the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict reached heights of unprecedented contention.

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Winston Shorts (prod. KRIKOS)


AMERICA TODAY


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The supreme court decision has the media in a frenzy echoing that the democratic system is less of a democracy due to campaign finance-budget leeway. (more further down)

In other news…it turns out Glenn Beck has had enough. Wait what?

Apparently, President Obama is no longer tolerable; he must be impeached.

I thought Glenn Beck always wanted Obama impeached. 

Okay so Obama is arming rebels in Syria. As the story goes, these guys are struggling for freedom against a tyrannical regime – meanwhile forces are trying to infiltrate; namely the al qaedas, the al nusras, and other terrorist buddies.  

The less sensationalist narrative goes like this: the rebels – ALTOGETHER – are immoral in their struggle against the ‘only secular and stable force in the middle east in the last 50 years’ known as the Ba’athist government led by President Assad. In this narrative, the secularism in Syria is being threatened by a force of fundamentalism from within encouraged, incited and largely supported by forces from without. 

Starkly contrary to the previous narrative, is it not? 

The question is which is true? Who is doing what and why, and for what reason? Obama is awfully sympathetic to the Saudis; but then again – his sympathy for the Israelis is seemingly rocky. The Middle East is a hotbed for violence and social injustice but there is a finite root – a definite cause to all this which supersedes the conventional Hollywood narrative that portrays Arabs as uncivilized tribal creatures that cause their own misery. This perception is largely propagated by the Right-wingers in most countries – coupled with their Islamo-phobia – to justify military escapades abroad in these countries like Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Egypt & Bahrain where the people seem helpless in the face of internationally sustained tyrants.

Arabs are among the world’s cases of colonialism (not to downplay any others) – but the reality is quite true. The establishment of a religious, theocratic state called Israel in 1948, and the funding of various cults, groups and individuals like Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood, create the backdrop for instability, tension and illusory conflict, pinning arabs against each other instead of uniting them in a nationalist initiative. 

The Middle East is clouded. Mixed perceptions and propaganda do not help to clear the air, but at the end of the day, it looks to me like the Saudis, the Israelis, the Jordanian Kingdom, the Gulf altogether and all these political entities’ various fundamentalistic satellites in Lebanon, Afghanistan, North Africa, are altogether the cause of social injustice in the Middle East, using dogma to rule, religion to dominate, and money to silence. Their legitimacy? Wahhabiism, imperialism, zionism, conservatism, vanity, etc.

Yet they have the audacity to point at leftist governments such as that of Iran or Syria as the cause of instability in the region. They point at Russia and China as being the leftist-menaces of society – but what about western expansionism? Why the double-standard?

Obama is struggling to initiate even the lightest of leftist reforms in America to address the plight of the poor, the underprivileged, the disenfranchised, the victims of crime, etc. He is still a champion of individual rights, as many leftists are, and while he does support the leftist cause, is still a stern centrist a mon avis, which is in fact exactly why he has been so successful – a great lawyer.

I believe he’s doing his best to uphold the more beautiful tenets of capitalism while brushing off the fundamentalism while he simultaneously works to realign america with the side of justice internationally – as odd and clouded that assertion might be, given recent altercations with Putin in the Ukraine. But overall, I believe Obama is for capitalism and against the anarchy of right-wing pseudo-capitalists. Once the lobbying of these guys is stymied or defeated competitively, if possible, we might see more positive change in this country and abroad. With the Supreme Court ruling against limits on campaign funding, it looks like its going to be a bitter competition till the end. Is that fair? I guess it’s part of the endless struggle for justice in this world. Keep pushing. 

 

References:

http://downtrend.com/brian-carey/glenn-beck-has-had-enough-i-personally-am-calling-to-impeach-the-president/

http://www.businessinsider.com/heres-what-happens-if-you-dont-sign-up-for-obamacare-2013-7

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2014/04/legalized-corruption-and-the-twilight-of-campaign-finance-law/360051/

I would like to educate Middle Easterners on


I would like to educate Middle Easterners on my perspective on global politics and especially the Arab World.

While this is a difficult task for a variety of reasons, I feel it is now a pressing issue that must be addressed, or else we as an Arab people may face further humiliation, indignation, oppression, and eventually, complete elimination.

I do not know exactly why it is so commonplace for Arabs to have a distorted understanding of their own homeland, but I do know that this problem exists and that it has not only caused rivets between fellow Arab brethren — it has allowed for ill-intentioned insiders and outsiders to use it to their advantage. As the age old saying goes: “divide and conquer”.

What seems to be happening in the Middle East is a perfect example of modern colonialism. The brilliance of modern colonialism is that it is easily guised as an effort to “bring nations into the community of civilized nations” by imposing democracy, or I should say pseudo-democracy.

It isn’t much different from history though, for even in the past, individuals and nations together justified invasions and occupations through religion. The Americans wiped out the indians because they were ‘savages’. Europe did the same in Africa and the Middle East, colonizing nations and exploiting their resources.

The problem in the Middle East and in most places that are under pressure from the spheres of influence of bigger nations like the U.S., China, Russia and the European continent, is that it is difficult for nations to be fully democratic because they are easily infiltrated and penetrated by insiders and outsiders trying to exploit resources. Even in modern developed democracies like America, there are forces inside and out constantly seeking to exploit America’s wealth, it’s resources, and its values. Some of these entities include major banks, oil companies, lobbyists like the NRA and AIPAC. If even America faces constant threats to its democracy, to its protection of individual rights as well as its social community, why is it so hard for arabs to understand that a black-and-white transition to arbitrary democracy is irrational, unscientific, and if anything naive.

Before democracies can flourish in countries like Syria, Egypt, etc, there must be an establishment of certain laws, absolute laws, preventing abuses of power, politically, socially, and economically.

But you see the reason why democracy itself does not exist in the Middle East is not because of socialist regimes and baathist regimes that are seeking to usurp power and control economies. In fact, the governments of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf countries are more inclined to do such things under the guise of “Islam”. What better way to convince people that your way of life is right then to equate failure with burning in hell eternally. This is not Islam.

Syria is the way it is precisely because of the West — not because of democracy, not because of capitalism, not because of freedom. Certain actors in the West got big heads and thought they could take advantage of other countries that have not yet reached democratic status.

Ultimately, what I am trying to get at is that Israel is the remnant of colonial ambitions in the Middle East and has perpetuated the lack of genuine democratic development by staging a two year long farce of an Arab Revolution.

If Israel didn’t exist, there would be no apartheid government in the region, and a more stable Middle East could transition to democracy.

But you see the West is too afraid to grant the Arabs the right to self determination. No, if we grant them freedom they might actually make use of their resources and become free, self-sufficient, and dignified. No, we don’t want that says England, says Corporate America. We want Kings and Pseudo-Democracies like Israel (which is really just a colonial satellite guised as a religious entity in order to garner post-holocaust sympathy), that are bent to the West’s will and that will secure economic interests — namely, oil.

So before we begin jumping to conclusions let us understand that all people deserve the right to self-determination, and the only forces in the West that recognize that are the more liberal ones, which is why I am more satisfied with Obama being president than a Mitt Romney or another George W. Bush…

All I can say is that I pray that the Arab people will forgive themselves for getting too cocky and will accept the truth so that we may live a dignified existence, free from occupation, slavery, ignorance, and hypocrisy.

God grant me this wish.

heaven


is in freedom.

deep in the cage


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my heart thumped, I felt weak,
and fell to my knees, awe struck,
that I could preach autonomy,
how fragile I am, without God.

I fear to speak, to say my feelings,
for what they’ll do to spite me,
I cannot help what I am, a frail man,
seeking refuge, in my Lord.

on days like this, I understand,
what brings us men, nearer to Him,
that love between a boy and his mother,
that compassion towards another.

what is that barrier, keeping men,
from returning to their lawful creator,
but a case of anger, a cold arrogance,
a sickness without medicine.