This post (below) is from Greg Schick, the founder of the site World Hip-Hop Market(dot)com, and it concerns the response to the Syrian revolution by Syrian-Lebanese rapper Eslam Jawaad – whose debut album ‘Mammoth Tusk’ I wrote about for Menassat(dot)com, World Hip-Hop Market, UMen and that was republished here on Beats and Breath in its original form.
Eslam and I have personally been having dialog on the issue as very little credible information has been coming out of Syria. I know that the Syrian government has totally repressed all freedom of speech – arresting dozens of journalists – a practice that, in a lesser form, has been in place in Syria for a long time. A friend of mine, an Algerian journalist Khaled Sid Mohand, was imprisoned by the Syrian authorities from April 9 until two days ago (World Press Freedom Day – oh the symbolism), and he was never a Bashar Al Assad “basher.” So, my questions to Eslam have been along the lines of what is acceptable and what isn’t acceptable about the goings-on in Syria?
My ultimate position is a simple one…to quote NWA: “FUCK THE POLICE!” Of course, the situation is much more nuanced than that, and Eslam has been very active in trying to get people to realize that you can’t believe the hype about the on-going revolution in Syria as presented by the West and their media mouthpieces. On BBC’s ‘World Have Your Say,” I posed the question of whether it was a popular revolution there or not, and whether if, at the end of the day with 74% of the country (Sunni Muslim) being ruled by an Alawi/Alawite minority, it was an appropriate question to be asking if a large percentage of the population are afraid to speak out? I also posed the question on the BBC program of what reporters working in the Arab world – especially Western reporters – were to tell Arab’s on the ground who defend the actions of the Syrian government because they see the state security forces and their strong-arm/brutal tactics as helping to avoid an Iraq-like sectarian civil war/blood bath!?
I still don’t have the answers I want, but the below post is interesting and features a video by Eslam Jawaad that sort of confuses me because I’m not totally sure what he is trying to resolve in the video. As for the Syrian hip-hop response to the revolutions, Eslam wrote in an email to me: “It’s worth mentioning that in Syria the hip-hop movement CHOSE to support bashar. No one is forced to rap about the situation bro. They have the choice to remain silent if they are fearing a whiplash. No one will force you to support so songs coming out are of choice.”
As a friend and colleague that I respect, Eslam is at least providing a different, informed take on the issue of the Syrian revolution and people should take note and join in the debate!
By Greg Schick of World Hip-Hop Market(dot)com
A track inspired by current events in the Middle East and what has been dubbed The Arab Spring. Where Eslam was supportive of the revolutions in other Arab countries, he immediately took a stance against revolution in Syria.
Syria is different than any of the other Arab revolutions as it is the last bastion of resistance to Israeli occupation and American supremacy in the region. Its military agreements with Iran, Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Palestine mean that there is so much at risk if the regime falls. It could signify the end of the resistance, a civil war in Lebanon, a civil war in Syria, and the further alienation of Iran resulting in a military strike against it.
What was a legitimate call for reforms in Syria has been taken advantage of by what Eslam calls dark forces with hidden agendas. Eslam is fully supportive of the will of the people, and of reforms, but is quick to point out that a total regime change pushed by what seems to be a foreign conspiracy against the country, could be catastrophic, even leading to a possible world war III scenario.
Eslam wants the blood of his country folk preserved and an end to violence while maintaining the balance of power in the middle east, and a commitment to the resistance against occupation.
The System Eslam is against, is that of a new world order, and more specifically, the Neo-Con Plan For A New Middle East.