This Land Is Mine

I’ve been avoiding talking about Gaza not because I don’t care, it’s not even compassion fatigue, it’s more same shit, different genocide. I’ve been against Israel’s treatment of Palestinians and Israeli Arabs for decades, but it does seem rather intractable, since as this wonderful video from Nina Paley points out, the land has been killed over for millennia – although not necessarily by the Palestinians as boogie-persons (one of the myths of a state that knows it’s doing wrong: ‘there will be a bloodbath if we cede control’ – well South Africa has managed, and Northern Ireland is doing pretty well. It can be done).

The funny thing is how Nina changes the Exodus Song, which was a scarily pro-Zionist song from the film about the ship Exodus taking Jews to British Controlled Palestine in 1947 – into something far less cuddly.

I am amazed at the British Government’s prevatication* in reaction to it though; no apology for the mess they made, or the Balfour Declaration – although I think people forget that the British didn’t really want to do it either, but were pressured into it by international opinion with blackmail emotive arguments, as people just arrived and settled into new concentration camps (which looked very bad after WW2).

But I really can’t see how bombing one of the most densely packed parts of the world is excusable, especially when there are so many children – a quarter of those killed so far have been children. Not terrorists, children. And then if you point any of this out, you get the strange script kicking in, that using the Z word Zionism is somehow racist or anti-semitic, being anti-Israel is anti-Semitic, the irony being both sides are Semites…the funny thing is also that both sides claim an equal amount of bias in the media. I think there is bias, but it’s pro-Israel…but the zionists say it’s not enough. Very strange.

As pointed out in the video below, it is a kind of brainwashing, I’ve had to pull away from people who are pro-Israel zionists because that enculturation is too strong, they can’t see outside their bubble…the eyes glaze over, brain shuts down when codeword ‘Zionist’ or ‘Palestine’ comes out, or they just devolve to the script they have been taught. I remember one jewish friend genuinely asking why there were Palestinians on the big 2003 anti-war march…he could just not compute that.

This video from Miko Peled gives me hope, though; maybe a democracy will happen one day? Until then, many more people will die, disproportionately the Palestinians. (via Pom Deter, Nina Paley film via Christine Pritchard)

* I was going to refer to ‘bad responses’ this quote via Scriptonite, but wanted to at least be a pretend journalist and link to the original. Couldn’t find any UK Government official saying that phrase.

Turns out that’s not a UK Government quote at all, unless the Anti Defamation League have suddenly become a departmental wing? Very naughty. Wrong attribution and/or lies will not resolve the Israel/Palestinian conflict, nor will mixing in Scottish Independence either – Clegg’s response a day before isn’t that different from the Scottish one? Hate to ‘defend’ UK Government and Cameron and Clegg, but get your facts right! And be very suspicious of quotes on Facebook without citations.

Ubuntu (Water into Wine) and Sick to D(eat)h

I was late getting round to listening to Sage Francis’s last mixtape Sick to D(eat)h released the end of last year, but given the new album is around the corner I thought I should. And I was struck by the song Ubuntu (Water into Wine) because not only does it contain zulu/bantu (ubuntu means “humanity towards others’ or ‘humanness’, it’s not just an OS ;-) it’s actually benefiting a South African children with AIDS charity. Good song and a good cause – and the pictures of him larking around with the kids shows that ‘Big Show’ is actually a big softie ;-)

The rest of the mixtape is pretty good – two Epic Beard Men tracks, and I love ‘Years’ (demo) – better than the album version I think, the acoustic Baby Stays (Live on BBC), High Step Demo and Dark Arts are great, and Origin To Descent and Blue bode well for the new album, being new cuts or outtakes from Copper Gone.

RIP Madiba

Sad but inevitable news that Nelson Mandela has died, a great man who I think we won’t see the like for a long while. Even the Onion has a nice (and all too true in the age of Obama and Cameron) tribute. Interesting that the usual criticisms of ‘revolutionary/terrorist/Leninist/Marxist’ are in play – the Tory party would be SO proud. Or even whitewashing the armed struggle of the ANC as ‘peacemaker’ ignoring his revolutionary background.

Yes the ANC were involved in domestic terrorism, targeting infrastructure, not people – something I think Nelson was never happy with…but understandable after atrocities like Sharpeville. (the amount of Saffa white flighters who have taken me to task about ‘His Evil Terrist Past!’ over the years especially after the end of apartheid who didn’t understand the terrorism of the State, well it’s a lot).

But when he came out of prison many expected the whole situation to become a blood bath, yet Mandela became a symbol of someone who had so much to hate for, yet forgave for the sake of the country. His pragmatic approach prevented a civil war, although tribal issues nearly derailed that, his legacy of the ‘Rainbow Nation’ still stands, and did a good job in a completely impossible situation. Rich whites and coloureds thinking it will become the new Zimbabwe, revolutionary anti-capitalists wanting radical change quickly, the poor just wanting water and electricity now, the possibility of outsiders attacking to protect their interests if change happened to quickly….

(I would put up the 70th Birthday Concert footage but it contains an embarrassing Dad-style dancing/singing Lenny Henry at the end, and no-one deserves that)

Always annoys me when people paint revolutionary struggle as something in a void, as if the struggle itself acts in a vacuum. People criticise Lenin and the early Soviet Republic, forgetting that as well as having a rather ambitious 5 Year Plan with a mostly medieval level country that needed industrialisation, they were almost immediately under attack from the British over the Baltic Fleet. Same happened to France when it liberated itself from a monarchy that didn’t care if it’s people were starving in the streets – other countries attacked it trying to protect their interests, create new ones or restore the monarchy. These were the things Mandela was trying to avoid, walk that tightrope. And he did it well. RIP Madiba.

RC 239: Afro-Arab Part One – Cellphones & Icecream

Recently I’ve been checking out what has been called Electro Chaabi (or Cha’abi/Shaaby/Cha3by/mahragan aka ‘festival music’), the new-ish underground hiphop/pop music in Egypt, which led me back to the show I planned after going to Egypt and South Africa in 2011. In fact this music wasn’t new to me, it was all over Egypt blasting from the shops and phone places off a laptop. My queries where to get it or buy it were met with baffled looks and the response ‘mp3!’ and even 2 years later still it’s underground, not played on the local radio and usually performed live or traded in MP3s.

I had to make do with some rather too-shiny and western-style Egyptian pop music, and some local South African house/electro music usually hiked up to silly prices cos I was a tourist. I wasn’t really happy with it, hence not doing the show then.

But when I read the Quietus articles about the scene it also lead me to the Congo via Konono Nº1, Omar Souleyman and back to Sahelsounds who I originally planned to play some of ‘Music from Saharan Cellphones Vol 1‘ back then, but Vol 2 and some other compilations such as Nigerian Bollywood music have been released, and it makes for a much more interesting 2-part show!

So follow me from the Middle East to Africa, the Egypt to Syria, to Nigeria to Mali and South Africa…

Leave Your Camel After The Tone (1:01, 62Mb)

  • Amadou & Mariam – La Réalité
  • ? – Saraa
  • Elbab – Elgedeed4
  • Konono Nº1 – Paradiso
  • D’Banj – Oliver Twist
  • Omar Souleyman – Dazeitlak Dezzelli
  • Mai Dawayya – Ololufemi
  • Hakim – Telefon Zoghayar
  • Amadou & Mariam – Sabali (Vitalic Remix Radio Edit)
  • Soweto Stokvel Septette – Ice Cream and Suckers No 2
  • Sunny Ade & His African Beat – Ja Fun Mi (Instrumental)
  • ? – Friday (from Music from Saharan Cellphones: Volume 2)

(photo was taken just by Tahrir Square, November 2011)

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