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Winter 2012

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Edited by Rayya El Zein

Exploring Popular Literature Series ArteEast is a leading international arts organization presenting work by contemporary artists from the Middle East, North Africa, and the diaspora. Founded in 2003 as a New York based not-for-profit organization, ArteEast supports and promotes artists by raising awareness of their most significant and groundbreaking work and by bringing this work to the widest possible audience. We do this through public events, art exhibitions, film screenings, international touring programs, a dynamic virtual gallery, and a resource-rich website. Partnering with some of the most prestigious cultural institutions around the world — such as The Museum of Modern Art, Tate Modern, and the Sharjah Art Foundation — ArteEast’s film, visual arts, and literary programs reach thousands of new audiences each year. 2

The organization is committed to bringing the highest quality and form of artistic content on multiple platforms. Our innovative use of technology and partnerships to present programs that are highly mobile, rather than bound to a particular physical space, make us one of the most nimble, cutting-edge art organizations today. ArteEast is also consistently providing relevant context so that audiences can fully appreciate the work that is being presented.

hip hop

www.arteeast.org January, 2012. New York.

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from the Editor Media Moments In early December, ABC’s icon of vetted journalism, Barbara Walters, sat down with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on an exclusive episode of Nightline. Assad’s soft-spoken, polite, almost gentle performance in the interview he staged with Walters playing Master of Ceremonies induced mild but notable reactions. There’s a “disconnect” the US State Department declared, between what Assad says and the situation in Syria. Walters herself seemed shocked at his presentable demeanor describing him upon her return from Damascus as “calm,” “soft-spoken,” and “articulate.” She further stressed, during the introduction to the piece, that Assad spoke “very good English” and “answered every question.” Impressive, it seems for an accused Arab dictator. What is overwhelmingly unsettling in Walter’s episode of Nightline is that it assumes certain qualities of chaos, both in Damascus and in the person of the Syrian president, that would stipulate the understandable conditions of civil unrest. Damascus markets are stocked, people shop, “only” the “high-end” stores are feeling the pinch; Assad is polite, he answers her questions, invites her in. Where are the snipers? The rape attempts? The crying children in the shadows? What ABC and Walters cringingly fail to highlight is, in fact the glaring normalcy of the brutality of Assad’s regime. Further, the first US television journalist inside Syria since the nine-month-old uprising began showcased one voice almost exclusively: that of the disconnected president. Walters did not go, though she did send a correspondent to Deraa, the town where protests started in March. There, a bewildered Alex Marquardt wondered why Assad’s promise to go anywhere he wanted (accompanied by an 8-car motorcade) was not kept, or why, when permitted to meander through the streets on his own, no one would talk to him. Without an official at the other end of the mic, and 4

save one brave man’s hushed testimony, ABC’s mics picked up only silence. A journalistic venture designed to shine light on a country in distress instead gave the stage to its president; and the insights we glean are that he doesn’t really seem crazy, at least, not like we thought he’d be. But if a startling lack of imagination with regards to power and human nature, especially vis-à-vis Arab leaders, is one aspect of the problematic Western media coverage, and an almost complete dearth of voices from the actual Arab street is another, these are not the only shortcomings with consequences for understanding a fuller picture of a dynamic Arab world. Earlier in 2011, TIME magazine named Hamada Ben Amor, the Tunisian rapper better known as El Général, one of the top 100 most influential people of the year, singling out his track “Mr President” (“Rais LeBled”) which was critical of Ben Ali’s regime, as an inciting force of the Tunisian Revolution. It is but one example of heightened attention paid to hip hop and rap in the Arab world since the so-called “Arab Spring” began. In July, the BBC asked “Is Hip Hop Driving the Arab Spring?” in an article reminiscent of those in months earlier which debated the role of Facebook and Twitter in the realization of the Egyptian Revolution. Both are facile treatments that should be quickly (and, if necessary, constantly) reassessed. There is a danger in a non-critical focus of Western media on the recent spike, however significant, in Arabic hip hop during a time of political revolution US and European politicians can’t seem to get a grip on. The New York Times and others in the months after Hosni Mubarak’s abdication from the presidency in Egypt attributed significance to Massachusetts-based retired professor Gene Sharp’s pamphlet “From Dictatorship to Democracy” in the political strategies of Egyptian activists, despite the fact that many in Egypt found this claim simply ludicrous if not overtly manipulative. The urge to attribute success

to Sharp’s document stems not entirely from an attempt to “Westernize” the revolution, but to “globalize” it. Sharp’s piece is not an exciting story necessarily because it was written by an American, but because his tract is understood to have had currency in regime changes from Burma to Ukraine since the late 1990s. A similar instinct is at play in the attribution of efficacy to hip hop in the Arab revolutions in 2011. Hip hop, though it sprung from specifically US environs, has become a global phenomenon. These two approaches taken by US and European press illustrate that an old neocolonial danger remains. It may be summed up as such: hip hop is a tool for understanding the rhythm of the revolting Arab street because it is a “Western” and familiar form. That danger, however, has morphed: hip hop is a tool for understanding the rhythm of the revolting Arab street because it is a “global” and therefore significant form. The trap, of course, lies in this notion of “global” that is notorious for substituting simple, sweeping narratives at the expense of the local. And in the ease with which one can replace “Westernized” with “globalized.”

The potential benefit for a responsible critical reading of this material is an understanding of “the Arab street” which consistently evades commercial media, and by extension, popular conception in the “West.” The challenge then, for a responsible look at both the changing Arab street and hip hop on and in it is to strive for a compassionate understanding that places the local within global flows. It lies in an understanding of “contemporary” that is not exclusively “Western” or “Oriental” and an understanding of networks that is not only “global” nor “local.” The potential benefit for a responsible critical reading of this material is an understanding of “the Arab street” which consistently evades commercial media, and by extension, popular conception in the “West.”

It is with this in mind that I am proud to present the following issue of Shahadat. The Winter 2012 issue features the work of 16 MCs or collectives from Egypt, Lebanon, Palestine, and the Arab diaspora in Arabic and English and in English translation. It represents the extensive collaboration of 10 translators. An interactive publication that hosts the music along with its lyrics, it is the first experiment of its kind for ArteEast and, to our knowledge, the first document of its kind on the web. Street Talk It is not just theoretically important that ears outside the Arab world hear and understand the voices of more of those within it. The means of articulation and the words themselves displace the dominant media narrative in substantial, practical ways. In an age of a seemingly infinite “War on Terror” whose main weapons mask aggressive humiliation techniques as “defensive” security, hip hop in Arabic opens a place for an important assertion of dignity by young Arab men who demographically bear the brunt of these expanded security tactics. Assertions of pride and respectability take different forms: from overt political critique, to declarations of identity, to calls to lyrical arms, to provocations of other poets and MCs. One of the most significant things about hip hop in Arabic is that it is projecting images of dignified (articulate, proud, well-read, compassionate, astute, critical) young masculinity to thirsty listeners at home and abroad. But neither is the genre, nor the collection featured here, homogeneous in terms of gender. Young women have, nearly from the beginning of the scene, been a part of the construction of this field. Also particularly noteworthy (not because of their ethnic or religious background, but because of the history of hip hop and rap in the West) is how adamantly young, Arab, male MCs eschew and challenge misogyny in both their content and performances. This should not suggest that hip hop creates an ideal or egalitarian playing field for Arab men and women. Social stigma has made it 5


especially difficult for women to break through cultural stereotypes and dogma (though a handful have, notably Malikah based in Lebanon, Shadia Mansour (featured in the collection), and Abeer alias Sabreena da Witch). I find it safe to presume that when young Arab women break into the genre in greater numbers, or find their own methods to voice political and social critiques, reclamations of dignity, collective and individual, will be at the top of the list of significant effects. The second critically important antidote to mainstream media that these voices provide is the true cornucopia of social grievances they cite and political critiques they offer. The 16 tracks featured here take on variously: the Muslim Brotherhood, greed and corruption, poverty and hunger, inefficacy of NGOs, betrayal of and by fellow Arabs (notably the “brain drain” phenomenon which has seen young Arabs across the region relocate overseas in hopes of greater opportunity), capitalism, sectarianism, and religious extremism, in addition to Western colonialism and the policies of the state of Israel towards Palestinians. The letters they address to the world in each track should make it harder and harder to believe that all Arabs, all Muslims, or all Egyptians, Palestinians, or otherwise are set on the destruction of “the West” at the expense of critical thinking about the local economies and systems of government that have also failed them. Not just the content, but the form of these articulations showcases a way of seeing the world, of processing it, and of asserting oneself in it that young people globally will identify with. This is vitally important as a new generation comes to terms with itself internationally; it will have to decide how much of the old divisions of “us” and “them” it wishes to retain. The work of these artists and their colleagues worldwide has the potential to remind listeners how alike they are and how arbitrary national and ethnic divisions can be. A Bigger Picture 6

It is true that hip hop does not have a long history in the Arab world. It is, however, older than 12 or even 15 months, first taking root in North Africa in the early 1990s and in Palestine several years later, just before the Second Intifada. The largest markets and scenes for hip hop in the Arab world have long been in Morocco, Algeria, and Palestine, and lately in Lebanon. Incidentally, these countries are rarely the focus of recent press which hails an explosion of Arabic hip hop in recent months. Similarly, despite the many creative hypotheses posited in Englishlanguage press about catalysts and influences of the Arab Spring, the very real history of popular resistance in Palestine (ie the Intifadas of the late 1990s and mid 2000s) is hardly ever mentioned as a probable influence of the popular Arab revolutions of this year.

It is from these subject positions and thousands of others that those outside of the Arab world must also hear, not only from their “disconnected” leaders who happen to speak, like thousands of their constituents, “very good English.” Denying the influences of US rap on hip hop in Arabic or of the Internet (Facebook, Twitter) on the events of the past twelve months is futile. But if a productive dialogue between the Middle East and West is to be created, we must also learn to listen to local histories and to hear regional catalysts. Politics and Aesthetics Shared political concerns hardly confine the range of creative impulses within the genre. The tracks collected in this issue explore a range of thematic considerations as well as aesthetic choices. Most bear implicit if not explicit (and here we see a healthy range) of political critiques. Indeed, the aesthetic choices of rhythm, melody, when appropriate, and beat become political choices in and of themselves. In this collection, we have tried to illustrate a wide gamut of approaches and rhythms. Listeners will undoubtedly note the

distinct sounds of each artist or collaboration and the musical traditions from which they borrow: from funk to electronica and in between. The rhythms and flows vary too, in some places the impact of the political critique comes as much from the aural quality as from the lyrical content. The rhythm of Fareeq el Atrash’s “The Stars are Getting Closer” (“Njoom 3am Te’rab”), for example,

‫الكاس عل الطاولي و منو عم مز مز‬ ‫لتفتل براصي وحس من حالي عم كز كز‬ ‫ كالمي مدروس و ما بزت زت‬,‫عل ورقة‬ ‫بجرب ما عيد حالي متا يق ولو عم نق نق‬ ‫موزع قافي اتي جواز كأن عم فت فت‬ َ with its sustained rhythm of repeated syllables at the ends of phrases and its almost flippant characterizations of a musician’s routine is distinctly different from the defiant declaration of MC Gaza in his piece with Arabian Knightz and Ameer “Hand in Hand” (“Eid fi Eid”)

‫ما في حجة ل ربطي خلبطي حلطي ألوطي ألغير خطي‬ Which is also very different from the imaginative, poetic (and humorous) play on words and political critique in El Rass’s

‎‬‫‫كان احل ريري ما طار وما صار مطار احل ريري‬

Each of the artists featured here manipulates sound and meaning in unique and fiercely creative ways, making of the genre a distinct form of popular poetry. One of the most compelling political components of the genre is how powerful rather simple declarations of preference or identity can be or become. These take on overt incarnations, as in Offendum’s celebratory “Destiny,” H2Z’s figurative “I am Palestinian” (“Ana Falasteeni”) or more subtle declarations of preference as in Ramallah Underground’s “I am trying not to care, but politics pulls at me” in the track “From the Cave” (“Min el Kaheff”). Private processings of a public world linger in nearly all the pieces. It is from these subject positions and thousands

of others that those outside of the Arab world must also hear, not only from their “disconnected” leaders who happen to speak, like thousands of their constituents, “very good English.” The implicit and explicit declarations of identity in Arabic hip hop is perhaps also especially noteworthy because they are immediately noticeable. All the tracks featured here are predominantly in dialect (Egyptian, Lebanese, Syrian, Palestinian), and not in the standard modern or classical Arabic typically broadcast across national borders. Moreover, the political critiques they offer are especially specific, some relying almost entirely on subtext to carry meaning across. The translations alongside them then should make equally useful learning tools for students of Arabic language as those of culture, politics, and art. But if anything comes from hearing and reading these texts simultaneously, it should be a reevaluation of the question of “modernization” or “Westernization” in our contemporary moment. Facile readings from both sides will call these works “Westernizations of Arab culture” or “Orientalizations of Western culture”. In reality they are neither. If they feel modern or more specifically, postmodern (and they undoubtedly are - the articulations of identity mentioned above are almost always manifest as split or double), it is because they were written and are performed in our contemporary moment; not because they encompass more or less of one part of the globe. And if the pieces feel Arab (and they undoubtedly will) it is because they are Arab too. One of the most important but embarrassingly obvious implications then, is that the two are completely conceivable within the same body, within the same text, in the same exact moment. They are not opposite: not a give and take, followed by synthesis. The tracks and the artists are both. Many. Multitude. Concurrently. East and West. After all, what is East? What is West? Rayya El Zein New York

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how to use this Document

table of Contents Editor’s Remarks 4

This issue of Shahadat is an interactive

spread. (Hovering should produce a text box that

experiment and a virtual media work in progress.

says “click to activate.”) A small player will appear

From the Cave | Ramallah Underground

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It is designed for multiple audiences: from the

with which the track can be navigated. Be sure to

Rise, Egyptian | El Deeb + Edd

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aspiring poet and critic, to the classroom, to

open with Adobe Reader, not Apple Preview for

established fans and everything in-between.

interactive functions.

Not Your Prisoner | Arabian Knightz + Shadia Mansour

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Download all the tracks featured in this issue

Flip through the virtual publication in the order

and absorb the various layers of sound, rhythm,

we’ve suggested, or find your favorite track in the

politics, and poetry at your own leisure.

table of contents on the opposite page and click

Destiny | Omar Offendum 46

on the title to be led directly to it.

What Happened Yesterday | Stormtrap 54

Or, download the pdf of this document and listen We appreciate your feedback (and your patience!)

the track, the red button pauses. Click above the

as we experiment with new forms of media while

set of buttons and a small media player will appear

exploring the various incarnations of popular

which allows one to navigate through the track at

literature in the Middle East and North Africa.

you download the pdf of this document. The Note for Mac users: if you are viewing the

I am Palestinian | H2Z 36 Kufeyyeh Arabeyyeh | Shadia Mansour 40

Brass | The Narcicyst 60

as you go. The green button on each page starts

will. These interactive features only function if

Ignite | Boikutt 30

Beirut’s Volcano | El Rass 64 A Letter from Boikutt | Boikutt

70

Hold Me Back If You Can | Katibeh 5

74

Hand in Hand | Arabian Knightz + MC Gaza + Ameer

82

Addiction to Fame | El Deeb + Stormtrap

88

The Stars are Getting Closer | Fareeq el Atrash

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Words | DAM 100

downloaded pdf, the tracks will stop playing at the flip of the page. To reactivate sound, click in the upper left hand corner of each two-page

Further Reading 106 About the Artists 108 About the Translators 111

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‫من الكهف‬

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from the cave ‫ ألنو الناس ملا يجوعو ما بوعودو يفكروا باملقاومة‬،‫بدهم يجوعوا األهالي‬‎ ‫نازل العب باملوت‬‎ ‫بدي اعرف ايش عدد املوت هون‬ ‫مش سامع وال صوت‬‎ ‫اطفي التلفون‬ ‫اسأل ألنو وال حد سائل‬ ‫سواءاً سياسي أو دوبلوماسي‬‎ ‫قاعدين على هالكراسي‬ ‫وبتحدثوا‬ ‫بروحوا بحوطوا رؤوسهم و بتمددو‬‎ ‫والبيوت في لبنان و غزة عم يتهدموا‬ ‫اجا الوقت نرفع بعبوص لكل العالم‬‎ ‫ألنو راح يضلو يحكي وعمرو ما حيعمل‬ ‫فئيش بدنا نضلنا نقنع و نستنا بتمنى‬‎ ‫ من زمان نسييو عنا‬.‫بس عالفاضي‬

They wanna starve our people, because when people are starving they no longer think of leading resistance I am going to play with death I wanna know the death count here I can’t hear a sound Turn off your phone Ask because no one else has Whether politicians or diplomats They’re planted in their seats Chatting They relax, rest their heads While homes in Lebanon and Gaza are leveled The time has come to screw the world Because they’ll keep talking without ever doing anything Why would we keep holding on, waiting, hoping But for nothing. They forgot about us a while ago

Ramallah Underground 10

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‫ساعة بتمسك حالك‬‎ ‫ملا تشوف قدامك‬ ‫اللي قامك واللي شالك‬ ‫مش مستغرب اذا افكار جهنمية عم بدور ببالك‬‎ ‫نازل بتنادي عالدنيا بس الدنيا نامت‬‎ ‫وحتى اذا قامت ما حتسمع كالمك‬ ‫ما حتسمع كالمك‬ ‫هون يوم معاك مية عليك‬‎ ‫حواجز حواليك‬ ‫كلبشات عايديك‬ ‫قولي شو سويت‬‎ ‫مابدي فوت باحليط ياريت‬ ‫بس انا فايت هيك هيك‬‎ ‫حياتي عجل بسكليت‬ ‫وهأل فلت اجلنزير اجا الوقت ادعس بنزين‬‎ ‫ابدا شد ابدا مد حكيي‬‎ ‫لكل النواحي‬ ‫ألنو كلماتي سالحي‬ ‫ ألنو الناس ملا يجوعو ما بوعودو يفكروا باملقاومة‬،‫بدهم يجوعوا األهالي‬

Ramallah Underground 12

‫ عم ميحونا‬:33 22 11 ‫هات لننزل عال مالجئ قبل ما يشوفونا‬ ‫بقصوفونا وين ما روحنا‬‎ ‫بس بحياتهم ما بطحونا‬ ‫صامدون ألخر حلظة لصوار يخكم ايصابونا‬‎

In the moments when you try to get a hold of things When you look in front of you At the one who picked you up and removed you Don’t be surprised if evil thoughts fill your mind You went on calling the world but the world is sleeping And even if it wakes up, it won’t hear your voice It won’t hear your voice Here there’s one day with you and a hundred others against you Barriers around you Handcuffs on your hands Tell me what you did I hope I don’t crash into a wall But I’m crashing anyways My life is more like a bike tire But now we’re off the tracks, time to hit the gas Never pull, never stretch my speech For any reason Because my words are my weapons They wanna starve our people, because when people are starving they no longer think of leading resistance One by one, two by two, three by three: they’re trying to wipe us out Let’s go to the shelters before they see us They shoot us wherever we go But we never give up Steadfast ‘til the last breath when your missiles hit

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‫و رؤساء العرب سابونا‬‎ ‫تركونا و هربوا لعند عدونا‬ ‫ألنو ما قدروا يعدونا‬‎ ‫وعدونا باملستقبل بس شوف لوين جابونا‬ ‫ عالم مبشي دوغري و احنا فجرونا‬‎2007 ‫ بدهم ينسونا‬،‫جوعونا‬ ‫قعدنا سنني نبني و اجو فجأة هيك هدونا‬‎ ‫هددونا و خوفونا‬ ‫بالدميقراطية سممونا‬‎ ‫حتى نعيش حياة طبيعية ما خلونا‬ ‫حطونا عخط النار ونسفونا دمرونا نشفولنا دمنا‬‎ ‫كل هاد و لسا ما خلصونا من همنا‬‎ ‫بحاول اطنش بس السياسة بتشدني‬‎ ‫بقولها افلتي ما بدي‬‎ ‫بتقولي انا جزء من حياتك‬‎ ‫مش حتقدر متشي ضدي‬‎

Ramallah Underground 14

‫بحاول اطنش بس السياسة بتشدني‬‎ ‫بقولها افلتي ما بدي‬‎ ‫بتقولي انا جزء من حياتك‬‎ ‫مش حتقدر متشي ضدي‬‎ ‎

And Arab leaders let us down Abandoned us, fled to our enemies Because they couldn’t infect us with their cowardice They promised the future and look what they got us into 2007: the world’s moving ahead and they blow us up, Starve us, they wanna forget us We spent years building and they came suddenly led us on, Threatened and frightened us Poisoned us with democracy Wouldn’t let us have a normal life They set us right on line of fire, they ruined us, destroyed us, dried up our blood All that and still they couldn’t finish the job I am trying not to care anymore, but politics pulls at me I say, leave me alone She says, I am part of your life You won’t be able to resist me I am trying not to care anymore, but politics pulls at me I say, leave me alone She says, I am part of your life You won’t be able to resist me

Translated by Loubna Bilali

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)‫(مصر دامي ًا بتناديك‬ ،‫التورتة رجعت للشعب‬ ‫البورصة وقعت من اللعب‬ :‫الشعار القدمي رجع‬‎ ‫الشرطة في خدمة الشعب‬ ‫ بس النهار ده أفضل‬،‫احلال كان صعب‬‎ ‫احنا نقدر نزرع صحرتنا أخضر‬‎ ‫ فرعون ملعون‬،‫اتخلصنا من حكم هتلر‬‎ ‫ املصري ثاير مدعوم بلغة احلق‬،‫وبحكم تويتر وفيسبوك‬‎ ‫ مش فارقة معاهم إن شاء الله حتى االرض تنشق‬،‫كانوا بيقولولنا أل‬‎ ‫ وطنية‬،‫ سلمية‬،‫ثورتنا ثورة شعبية‬‎ ‫ عدالة اجتماعية‬،‫ الكرامة‬،‫طالبنا با حلرية‬‎ ‫الشعب كان ممسوك بقبضة فوالذية‬‎ ‫شغل مقاولة ومصالح شخصية‬‎ ‫كانوا بيتعاملوا معانا بكل همجية‬‎ ‫يطلعوا عالقنوات الفضائية بتصاريح استفزازية‬‎

e l D e e b + E d d 16

‫قوم يا مصري‬

rise, egyptian

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(Egypt is always calling on you)

The people have regained the pie The stockmarket’s been put out of commission The old slogan is back: Police are in the service of the people. The situation was tough, but today is better We can make our desert green We got rid of Hitler’s rule, a damned pharaoh In the age of Twitter and Facebook the Egyptian walks confidently using the language of righteousness They used to tell us no, they didn’t care, even if God wished the earth to split open Our revolution is a popular, peaceful, national revolution We have demanded freedom, dignity, and social justice The people were controlled with an iron fist Business contacts and personal interests They treated us viciously They appeared on satellite TV channels and issued provocative statements

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‫ بفرحة مليونية‬،‫ فبراير‬11 ‫انتصرنا في‬ ‫ حققنا احلرية‬،‫زغرطتي يا مصر يا بهية‬‎ ‫الثورة بعد ما خلصت؛ هلق بعدا مبلشة‬ ‫لدورنا شكلها وصلت؛ وإنت بعدك بالفرشة‬ ‫ولك قوم وقاف! الحق بسنانك تفرشي‬ ‫ فيك نظامك عم بخزوق‬،‫ولك قوم وقاف! هز‬ ‫ ما فيش ثورة بتخلص في يوم وليلة‬:‫قوم يا مصري‬ ‫دوس على نفسك شوية‬ ‫استحمل شد حيلك‬ ‫ الزم ثورة على الذات‬:‫ما تخافش على عجلة اإلنتاج‬ ‫بكرا أحسن من اللي فات‬

el Deeb + Edd 18

‫ كان ببلد دميقراطي‬،‫ديكتاتوري هاإلنسان‬ ‫ كان مرتاح رأسه فاضي‬،‫عايش فوق الغيم‬ ‫املمنوع إلو مسموح كان ألن صاحبه قاضي‬ ‫مطنش عاملخدرات ليضل شعبه طافي‬ ‫يضحك‬ ّ ‫ ملتهي عم‬،‫تيضل شعبه مسلطن‬ ‫كونه غير واعي‬ ّ ‫فمن السهل فيه‬ ‫ضو أخضر للشرطة‬ ّ ،‫تتحكم‬ ‫عليها ما فيك تتشكى‬ .‫في حال فيك شكك بشكلك بشنغلك‬ :‫تالتني سنة‬ ‫أكتر من أي رئيس بقي‬ ‫ولك كسرسكور اإلستاذ نبيه بري‬ ‫ أنا التعتير إبني‬،‫مبصر بيقولوا معليه‬ ‫عم شوف شو في أكل من مبارح بقي ألعطيه لقمة‬

We won on February 11, the joy of millions Ululate oh Egypt, oh Bahia; we have achieved freedom

The revolution is not over yet; it has just begun Looks like it’s our turn now; and you’re still in bed C’mon get up! You’ll brush your teeth later C’mon get up! Move, your regime is screwing you Rise up, oh Egyptian: No revolution finishes in a night and a day Bear with it a little Have endurance and tolerance Don’t be afraid of the cycle of production: there should be a revolution against oneself Tomorrow is better than the past

The man was a dictator, in a democratic country Living on clouds, he was comfortable and carefree What is prohibited was permitted for him, because he was friends with a judge He turned a blind eye to drugs, so that his people would remain unaware So that his people would remain high, busy laughing Because they are unconscious It is easy to control them, the police have a green light You couldn’t report them If they are suspicious of you, of the way you look, they would hang you. Thirty years: He ruled more than any other president He even broke the record of Mr. Nabih Berri [longstanding Lebanese head of parliament] In Egypt, they say it’s ok, misfortune is my son I will check what is left over from yesterday, to feed it

19


‫ملني بشكي؟‬ ‫حالتي متل هاملاليني مرتة‬ ‫ولك قوم ننزل عساحة التحرير دغري‬ ‫ سجلنا رحيل حسني‬2 ‫ شهر‬11‫ب‬ ...‫اللي قضى كل هالسنني يشتغل عميل ضدي‬ ‫ثورة بعد ما خلصت؛ هلق بعدا مبلشة‬ ‫لدورنا شكلها وصلت؛ وإنت بعدك بالفرشة‬ ‫ولك قوم وقاف! الحق بسنانك تفرشي‬ ‫ فيك نظامك عم بخزوق‬،‫ولك قوم وقاف! إذ‬ ‫ ما فيش ثورة بتخلص في يوم وليلة‬:‫قوم يا مصري‬ ‫دوس على نفسك شوية‬ ‫استحمل شد حيلك‬ ‫ما تخافش على عجلة اإلنتاج‬ ‫الزم ثورة على الذات‬ ‫بكرا أحسن من اللي فات‬ ‫أنا مدني‬ ‫ّبلوح بقلمي كأنه علمي‬ ‫من عرقي بروي عملي كأنه عطشي‬ ‫البركة ببلدي العربي‬ ‫إني فيني كون عفوي‬ ‫فيني قوم ثور‬ ‫إذا بس كان مسموم بدني‬ ‫حلريتي بالتعبير‬ ‫ما في حدود حتدني‬ ‫ بوسط بيروت‬،‫بتشوفني بساحة التحرير‬ ‫مش كرمال السما ترجع زرقا‬ ‫إلسقاط النظام اللي احلرية سلبنا‬

e l D e e b + E d d 20

To whom will I complain? My situation, like that of millions, is bad C’mon let’s go straight to Tahrir Square On February 11 we witnessed the departure of Hosni Who has been working as an agent all these years against me…

The revolution is not over yet; it has just begun Looks like it’s our turn now; and you’re still in bed C’mon get up! You’ll brush your teeth later C’mon get up! Move, your regime is screwing you Rise up, oh Egyptian: No revolution finishes in a night and a day Bear with it a little Have endurance and tolerance Don’t be afraid of the cycle of production There should be a revolution against oneself Tomorrow is better than the past

I am a civilian I wave my pen as if it is my flag I water my work with my sweat, as if it’s my thirst What’s good about my Arab country Is that I can be spontaneous I can rise up and revolt When I’m angry For my freedom of expression There are no limitations You see me in Tahrir Square and in downtown Beirut But not for the sky to become blue again [in reference to the slogan of the Lebanese Future Movement] But to topple the regime that has taken away freedom

21


‫فترة إنتقالية‬ ‫فقرة إعالنية‬ ‫شاي وكليوبترا‬ ‫وشوش صفرا سهرانة‬ ‫عالنشرة اإلخبارية‬ ‫ركلة جزائية‬ ‫واجلمهور مستني الهدف‬ ‫كل يوم في الصحف‬ ‫نقرا نبأ عن كلب نهب البلد‬ ‫رجع الذهب‬ ّ ‫أوقف عندك‬ ‫مش إنت بردو اللي كنت مسؤول عن إعالم بلد؟‬ ‫تصاريح كاذبة كالم عجب‬ ‫عدا والتاريخ إنكتب‬ ّ ‫الصعب‬ ‫أوعى تفتكر الشعب تعب‬ ‫الثورة بعد ما خلصت؛ هلق بعدا مبلشة‬ ‫لدورنا شكلها وصلت؛ وإنت بعدك بالفرشة‬ ‫ولك قوم وقاف! الحق بسنانك تفرشي‬ ‫ فيك نظامك عم بخزوق‬،‫ولك قوم وقاف! إذ‬ ‫ ما فيش ثورة بتخلص في يوم وليلة‬:‫قوم يا مصري‬ ‫دوس على نفسك شوية‬ ‫استحمل شد حيلك‬ ‫ما تخافش على عجلة اإلنتاج‬ ‫الزم ثورة على الذات‬ ‫بكرا أحسن من اللي فات‬

e l D e e b + E d d 22

A transitional period A commercial break Tea and Cleopatra Yellow faces staying up at night To follow the newscast A penalty The audience is waiting for the goal Every day in newspapers We read news about a dog that has looted the country Stop, return the gold Weren’t you in charge of the country’s media? False statements, odd expressions The hard part is over and history has been written Don’t think that the people are exhausted

The revolution is not over yet; it has just begun Looks like it’s our turn now; and you’re still in bed C’mon get up! You’ll brush your teeth later C’mon get up! Move, your regime is screwing you Rise up, oh Egyptian: No revolution finishes in a night and a day Bear with it a little Have endurance and tolerance Don’t be afraid of the cycle of production There should be a revolution against oneself Tomorrow is better than the past.

Translated by Farah El Rew ai ssati

23


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This track contains verses that were originally written in English.

‫ فن هتكلم عن‬ ‫بلسان فاكريني انو مافيهوش‬‎ ‫كل حلم اترسم من غضبهم اتدفن‬‎ ‫اتقسم احتاط باأللم منلفكر فاملرحلة السمعيه‬‎  ‫واحللول اللى تنقذ عناوين جانبيه‬‎ ‫ارهابية من عيون معنية باستقاللية‬‎ ‫بعد حروب عاملية محمية متدارية‬‎ ‫منسية مرمية على اكتاف مش مرضية‬‎  ‫مستخبية بطريقة اتكالية عاالراضى العربية‬‎ ‫بسلبية مرئية انتهازية‬‎ ‫وراء االعالم االسالمية بباينوا النيه‬‎ ‫احتيالية عنادية سيكوباتية‬‎  ‫سرية انانية استراتيجية ضد االنسانية‬‎ ‫و بعد املسايسة متابعة من قاعة املشاهدة‬‎ ‫لكل عربى بيتزل مستانى مساعدة‬‎

‫السجني‬

prisoner

They presume the tongue has no art so I will speak About every dream that was drawn from their anger and got buried It got divided, surrounded by pain And the solutions that might work are sidelined and smeared as terrorist From eyes that are interested in independence After world wars protected and hidden Forgotten and thrown on unsatisfied shoulders  Concealed with consent in Arab lands With obvious opportunism Beneath Islamic publicity, intentions show through Fraudulent, stubborn, psychopathic A secret selfish strategy against mankind And after politics we keep tabs on things from the screening room For every Arab who gets humiliated I am waiting for help

Arabian Knightz + Shadia Mans o u r 24

25


‫ماخالص كسروا بنا كلمة مسانده‬‎ ‫و من عقولنا اخدوا الورق اللى يكسب فى اللعبة‬‎ ‎ ‫أنا عايز بلد حرة من الظلم‬ ‫عايز بلد حرة من القهر‬‎ ‫عايز بلد حرة من الشر‬ ‎ ‫عايز أرضي وأرض العرب‬‎   ‫العرب العرب العرب‬‎

But it’s over, they shattered for us the word “solidarity“   And from our minds they took the cards that win the game

I want a country free of tyranny I want a country free of oppression I want a country free of evil I want my land and the land of Arabs Arabs Arabs Arabs

Destructive destruction destroying my district Anti-Christ running in, spreading evil wisdom I’m destroying the oppressors in Arabic settlements Known for blowing up beats and governments My peeps die in their cribs while y’all close your eyes Two of y’all are kidnapped you call it a terrorist crime The media Is backing up Murderous propaganda While we fight eternally like immortal high landers Al Durrah, Sheikh Yassin, the pains unseen Forging your own stories for the blind to see Want to draw your own opinions bout the bombs we face? What’s your opinion if you’re enslaved and your mom is raped? It’s too easy to speak when you’re far from the heat To the White House I creep and yes I’m armed to the teeth

Arabian Knightz + Shadia Mansour 26

With a mic and a pen and a pad here’s your evidence: “Weapons of Mass Destruction,” Mr President!   

27


‫أنا عايز بلد حرة من الظلم‬ ‫عايز بلد حرة من القهر‬‎ ‫عايز بلد حرة من الشر‬ ‎ ‫عايز أرضي وأرض العرب‬‎   ‫العرب العرب العرب‬‎

I want a country free of tyranny I want a country free of oppression I want a country free of evil I want my land and the land of Arabs Arabs Arabs Arabs

They’re dropping bombs over Baghdad Libnan, Afghan, Palestinians, Bin Laden, Saddam Listen, Islam is all about the peace, man But wars up in these streets, man Got me loosin’ sleep, damn Mr. Politician, I got a little question: How come you are eating and all your peoples isn’t? I am on a mission to break up out of this prison If you’re with me share my vision Let’s start by saving the children

‫إحنا منمشي بالكرامة والثقة بالنفس‬ ‫معصنا قوانينكم بالثبوت بالدم‬‎ ّ ‫لو إن ضميركم بتريحكم‬‎ ‫بتتكلموا من ورا الفرد‬‎ ‫قلّلي مني ما عم ينام بالليل عنجد؟‬‎ ‫بنكبر عيالنا‬ ّ ‫ع بني انتو بتبنوا حواجز إحن‬‎ ‫وبنظلنا نزيد العدد‬‎ ‫إحن السبب ليش ما بتسترجوا تغمضوا عني‬‎  ‫في فرق كبير بني مقاوم ومقررين‬‎

Arabian Knightz + Shadia Mansour 28

We walk with dignity and confidence in ourselves We crushed your laws with our steadfastness and blood If your conscience was giving you peace, You wouldn’t be communicating from behind a gun Tell me who’s the one not getting sleep at night? While you build your checkpoints, we raise the kids Our numbers will keep increasing We are the reason you don’t dare to blink There is a big difference between a man of resistance and decision makers

Translated by Nizar Ghanem + Shadia Mansour

29


= ‫النظام العاملي اجلديد‬ ‫احلاسة السادسة‬ ‫و بدهم يردوا يعلموك النشيد‬ ‫نار شديد بس كله نسبي‬ ‫جينا و نسينا‬ ‫أخبار فورية بتنهضم و بتمشينا‬ ‫إللي فينا مكفينا‬ ‫رايح عغزة بالسفينة‬

boikutt 30

‫ولع‬

ignite

>

‫و ما يأتي قبل؟ الفكر أم الفعل؟‬ ‫ملجرد الذكر لشخص مبنج قلب نكد وزعل‬ ‫و طلب السعر‬ ‫مش حنبيع‬ ‫ملا بتشتي بتشتي عاجلميع‬ ‫و زمن أول حتول‬ ‫و مش قادرين نتجول فا مش حنضيع‬ ‫شيء مريع‬

The new world order The sixth sense

And they want to teach you the anthem anew Heavy fire but it’s all relative We came and forgot Instant news digested and keeps us moving We’ve had enough Going to Gaza by boat What comes first? Thought or action? The mere question to a numb person makes him grumpy and upset And asking for the price We won’t sell When it rains, it rains over everybody The old times have changed We are under house arrest, so we won’t get lost It’s a horrible thing

31


‫مرات بتفهم النبرة غلط‬ ‫بس هلئ فهمني منيح‬ ‫ بدون تلقيح‬،‫جريح‬ ‫تصريح صريح بدون تلميح‬ ‫فظيع‬ ‫كيف خلونا نطيع‬ ‫بوقت تشييع جثمان الضاض‬ ‫ ثورة الثروة قيد التصنيع‬..‫مضاض لإلنتفاض‬ ‫فيع‬ ‫بوجه عقود بقبضة من حديد‬ ‫من هون لقرية بال متديد‬ ‫بدون مانروح لبعيد‬ ‫جتميد روؤس أموال و نووية‬ ‫مصلحة أول مستفيد‬ ‫بتدوب بشعلة من سيدي بوزيد‬ ‫شوف اكمن دكتاتور منقلع‬..‫ولع‬ ‫شوف اكمن دكتاتور منقلع‬..‫ولع‬ ‫ولع شوف اكمن دكتاتور منقلع‬ ‫صوت الثورة بكل مكان و عم منسمع‬

boikutt 32

‫من حكام لنواب‬ ‫و ال استثني احدا منكم‬ ‫ما بيهمكم‬ ‫حلد ما الهتافات تتوجه إلكم إتهزكم‬ ‫أفهمكم‬ ‫ تارك الشارع بإستعداد‬،‫اإلستبداد‬

Sometimes you misunderstand a tone But now you understand me correctly Wounded, without vaccination A blatant statement without any hinting Unbelievable How they made us obey At the funeral of the corpse of the [quintessential Arabic letter] Ddad Counter revolution: the revolution of wealth is in process Rise In the face of decades under an iron fist From here to a village without extension Without going too far Freezing of capital and nuclear war heads The interest of the primary beneficiary Melts with a flame from Sidibouzid Ignite...see how many dictators we’ll uproot Ignite...see how many dictators we’ll uproot Ignite...see how many dictators we’ll uproot The sound of revolution is everywhere, we make it heard From leaders to parliamentarians I do not exclude any of you But you don’t care Until chants are directed at you and shake you Let me explain Tyranny leaves the street prepared

33


‫من املزارع بوسط البالد‬ ‫فعل مضارع للرماد‬ ‫فا إنصرف زاي فلوس الدولة إللي طريقها إنحرف‬ .‫ و إنصبت بجيوب هالطرف من شوفرية الشرف‬،‫وإنعرف‬ ،‫حتية خاصة ألسود ميدان التحرير‬ ،‫لتعديل دستور التعتير‬ ‫إن صح التعبير‬ ‫عندي نظر األطرش‬ ‫و سمع األعمى‬ ‫عايشني حياة و مكلبشني باخلوف بنفس الوقت فا قللي شو املعنى‬ ‫تاريخ شجعنا‬ ‫الوضع الراهن منعنا‬ ‫ناس بتمر و بتسمعنا‬ ‫ فجاوب‬...‫ جتارب‬...‫بدون جتاوب‬ ‫يا ضدنا يا معنا‬ ‫إرفع قبضة الصمود فوق في الهوا ثابتة‬ ‫إنتفاضة أولى و ثانية بس الثالثة نابتة‬ ‫أطراف كابتة‬ ‫بس قد ما يحاولوا ميحوا ويحطوا الناس كاتبة‬ ‫بالتفاصيل و كامتة‬

boikutt 34

‫ولع… شوف اكمن دكتاتور منقلع‬ ‫ولع… شوف اكمن دكتاتور منقلع‬ ‫ شوف اكمن دكتاتور منقلع‬...‫ولع‬ ‫صوت الثورة بكل مكان و عم منسمع‬ ‫ولع… شوف اكمن دكتاتور منقلع‬ ‫و صفهم عالدور واحد واحد…و شنع‬

From the farmers in the center Changing present tense to ashes So vanish like the state’s money whose road has deviated It is known that it ended up in the pockets of the corrupt, who claim to be clean A special salute to the lions of Tahrir Square For amending the constitution of misfortune If that can be said. I have the sight of the deaf And the hearing of the blind Leading a life while chained by fear at the same time so tell me what’s the point History encouraged us The current situation prevented us People pass by and hear us Without any response -- testing -- so answer You’re either with us or against us Raise the fist of resistance up in the air A first and second Intifada, but the third is sprouting Oppressive groups No matter how hard they try to erase and replace, people have written In details and know by heart Ignite...see how many dictators we’ll uproot Ignite...see how many dictators we’ll uproot Ignite...see how many dictators we’ll uproot The sound of revolution is everywhere, we make it heard Ignite...see how many dictators we’ll uproot Line them up in turn one after the other... and defame them.

Translated by Farah El Rew ai ssati

35


‫انا فلسطيني‬

i am palestinian

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‫ولك انا ابن عكا وبن يافا و طولكرم‬ ‫انا ابن كل شبر من البحر للنهر‬ ‫االرض الي حملت موسى مرمي واملسيح انا‬ ‫املقابر يلي فاضت من كتر التوابيت‬ ‫انا اخليمة بيت التنك واحلصيرة والكانون‬ ‫والبيوت املسروقة والدم املهدور‬ ‫انا الهوى يالي حامل الغضب والبكا‬ ‫والطرقات يلي بتغرق مع كل نقطة الشتا‬ ‫انا رصاصة من املجاهد عم تعبر حلدود‬ ‫انا حزام من القنابل مشتاق لليهود‬ ‫لطفل على باب املستشفى عم بيموت‬ ‫انا الجئ ممنوع من العمل مكروه‬ ‫انا اين املخيم يلي عاطل عن العمل‬ ‫سيجارة احلشيش يلي بتمحي شوية الم‬

I’m the son of Acre, Jaffa, and Tulkarem I’m the son of every inch from the river to the sea I’m the land that carried Moses, Mary and the Christ I’m the cemeteries that overflow with coffins I’m the tent, the tin house, the mat, and the stove The stolen houses and the wasted blood I’m the wind that bears anger and tears The roads that drown in a single drop of rain I am a bullet that crosses borders I’m a grenade against Zionists A child that dies waiting outside the hospital I’m a hated refugee who’s prohibited from working I’m the son of the camps, always unemployed The hash cigarettes that ease the pain

H 2Z 36

37


‫حيطان هالبيت يلي بكره رح ينردم‬ ‫انا االحمر واالسود واالخضر من هالعلم‬ ‫ من دموع الاطفال‬،‫من دم االبطال‬ ‫من اجلحيم التشرد واجلوء واالنكسار‬ ‫من ظلم االحتالل‬ ‫من حلم االستقالل‬ ‫من ارض الزيتون‬ ‫والصليب والهالل‬

H 2Z 38

‫انا حافظ احلواجز بكل بالد العالم‬ ‫من النادر انو بيوم يعتبروني بني ادم‬ ‫انا سنني االعتقال انا غرف التعذيب‬ ‫الوجع والصريخ واجلروح الي ما بطيب‬ ‫انا شعب ما انهزم بس عمرو ما انتصر‬ ‫انا اكبر ارهابي الني حامل حجر‬ ‫اسير طول عمرو رافض انو بيوم ميوت‬ ‫بس معاهدة سالم بتنفي اني موجود‬ ‫انا القدس بيت حلم ومخيم جنني‬ ‫االدان واجلراس الهالل والصليب‬ ‫املدافن واملدارس وكنسية املسيح‬ ‫الشوارع القدمية والبيت العتيق‬ ‫انا ركوة الشاي و سندويشة الفالفل‬ ‫الكرم والبخل واالخالق واملهازل‬ ‫الكذب والصدق واخليانة والصمود‬ ‫انا فلسطيني حلتى اموت‬

The walls of the house that I hate that’s about to get demolished I am the red and black and green in this flag From the blood of heroes, from the tears of children From the hell of homelessness and broken refugees From the oppression of the occupation From the dream of independence I’m from the land of the olives, The cross and crescent I know all the checkpoints in all countries of the world It is where they consider me a human being I’m years of capture, I’m the torture chambers The pain and the screams and the wounds that never heal I was never defeated but never had a victory I’m the biggest terrorist because I carry a stone A prisoner who spends his whole life refusing to die But a peace treaty forgets that I’m alive I’m Jerusalem, Bethlehem, and Jenin refugee camp The call to prayer, the bells, the crescent and the cross The old cemeteries, schools and church of Christ The old streets and the ancient house I’m the tea cup and the falafel sandwich Generosity and greed, morality and farce Lies and betrayal and honesty and persistence I am Palestinian until I die

Translated by the artist 39


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‫صباح اخلير با والد عمومنا‬ ‫شرفونا‬ ّ ّ ‫تفضلوا‬ ‫نضيفكم؟ دم عربي ولاّ دموع من عيوننا؟‬ ّ ‫بتحبوا‬ ّ ‫شو‬ ‫تأملوا نستقبلن‬ ّ ‫بعتقد هيك‬ ‫هيك تع ّقدوا ملّا تدركوا على غلطتهن‬ ‫لكوفية‬ ّ ‫من هيك لبسنا ا‬ ‫البيضة وا ّلسودة‬ ‫صاروا كالب الزمان يلبسوها كموضة‬ ‫تفننوا فيا‬ ّ ‫مهما‬ ‫غيروا بلونا‬ ّ ‫مهما‬ ‫عربية‬ ّ ّ‫عربية بتضلا‬ ّ ‫كوفية‬ ّ ‫حطتنا ّبدن ياها‬ ّ ‫ثقافتنا ّبدن ياها‬

Shadia Mansour 40

‫لكوفية عر ّبية‬ ‫ا‬ ّ

kufeyyeh arabeyyeh Good morning cousins

Come in and honor us with your presence

What would you like us to serve you, Arab blood or tears from our eyes? I think that’s how they hoped we would recieve them

That’s why they got tangled up when they tripped up on their own mistake That’s why we wore the kufeyyeh The black and white one Dogs of the past started to wear it as a fashion statement However they change it, Whatever colour they make it The Kufeyyeh is Arab, and will always be Arab. Our scarf, they want it Our intellect, they want it

with M 1 of Dead Prez 41


‫كرامتنا ّبدن ياها‬ ‫كل شي إلنا ّبدن ياه‬ ‫ نسمحلن ال‬،‫ما رح نسكتلن‬ ‫خصن فيا‬ ّ ‫البقلن يسرقوا شغلة مش إلهن ما‬

‫بيق ّلدونا باللبس‬ ‫كل هاألرض بيكفيهنش‬ ‫طمعانني عالقدس‬ ‫إعرفوا كيف تكونوا بشر‬ ‫لكوفية‬ ّ ‫قبل ما تلبسوا ا‬ ‫جينا نذ ّكرن مني إحنا‬ ‫حطتنا‬ ّ ‫وغصب ًا من عن أبوهم هاي‬ ‫من هيك لبسنا الكوفية‬ ‫وطنية‬ ّ ‫ألنها‬ ‫عربية‬ ّ ‫لكوفية‬ ّ ‫لكوفية ا‬ ّ ‫ا‬ ‫لكوفية‬ ّ ‫من هيك لبسنا ا‬ ‫األساسية‬ ‫هويّتنا‬ ّ ‫عربية‬ ّ ‫لكوفية‬ ّ ‫لكوفية ا‬ ّ ‫ا‬ ‫لكوفية‬ ّ ‫يلاّ ع ّلي ا‬ ‫لكوفية‬ ّ ‫علّولي ها‬ ‫عربية‬ ّ ‫لكوفية‬ ّ ‫لكوفية ا‬ ّ ‫ا‬ ‫علّوها لبالد الشام‬ ‫عربية‬ ّ ّ‫ بتضلا‬،‫عربية‬ ّ ‫كوفية‬ ّ

Shadia Mansour 42

‫ما في بعد متل الشعب العربي‬ ‫فرجوني أيّة ّأمة بالدنيا أكثر مأثّرة؟‬ ‫ نحنا مهد احلضارة‬،‫الصورة واضحة‬

Our dignity, they want it Everything that’s ours, they want it We will not be silent, will not allow it It suits them to steal something that ain’t theirs They imitate our style As if all this land weren’t not enough, Thirsting after Jerusalem Know how to be human Before you wear our scarf We came to remind them who we are And like it or not, it’s our right. That’s why we wore the kufeyyeh Because it is nationalistic The kufeyyeh is Arab That’s why we wore the kufeyyeh Because it is our original identity The kufeyyeh is Arab Come on, raise your kufeyyehs Raise that kufeyyeh The kufeyyeh is Arab Raise it up for bilad e’sham [Greater Syria, the wider Arab world] The kufeyyeh is Arab, and will always be Arab There are no others like the Arab people Show me one region in the world that is more influencial The picture is clear, we are the origins of civilization

with M 1 of Dead Prez 43


‫تاريخنا وتراثنا الشاهد على وجودنا‬ ‫من هيك لبست التوب الفلسطيني‬ ‫ جبل النار إلى رام الله‬،‫ جنني‬،‫من حيفا‬ ‫لكوفية‬ ّ ‫خليني شوف ا‬ ‫البيضة واحلمرا‬ ‫خلينا نعلّيها لفوق با ّلسما‬

Shadia Mansour 44

‫أنا شادية العرب‬ ‫لساني بِغز غزبلساني ب ِهز َهز‬ ‫كلمات احلرب‬ ‫سجل أنا شادية منصور‬ ّ ‫واحلطة هويّتي‬ ّ ‫من يوم ما خلقت‬ ‫سيدي والشعب مسؤو ّليتي‬ ‫لكن تربّيت بني الشرق وبني الغرب‬ ‫بني لغتني‬ ‫بني بخيل بني فقير‬ ‫شفت احلياة من اجلهتني‬ ‫لكوفية‬ ّ ‫بس ع ّلمتني ا‬ ‫كيف ما لبستوني‬ ‫وين ما شلحتوني‬ ‫فلسطينية‬ ‫بضلّني عأصولي‬ ّ

with M 1 of Dead Prez

Our history, traditions, and customs bear witness to our existence That’s why I wear the Palestinian dress From Haifa, Jenin, Jabal El Naar, to Ramallah Let me see the kufeyyeh The red and white one Let’s raise it up to the sky I am the singer of the Arabs Like an earthquake, I shake the ground My words are war Record this: I am Shadia Mansour And this scarf is my I.D From the day I was born, the people have been my responsibility Look, I was raised between the East and the West Between two languages Between the rich and the poor I’ve seen life from both sides. However, the kufeyyeh has taught me: However you wear me, Wherever you leave me I stay true to my origin, Palestinian.

Translated by t he ar tist wi t h Farah El Rew ai ssati

45


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‫مصيري‬

destiny

This track contains verses that were originally written in English.

You are my (Destiny)

It’s hard livin’ in the West - when I know the East got the best of me (Destiny) Could be lookin’ in my eyes - but you’ll never really see the rest of me (Destiny) Can you hear me maseeri [my destiny]? Bi-lingual’s what I’m blessed to be

‫حمامة سالم‬ ‫افتحي أجنحتكي و طيري‬

Omar Offendum 46

‫ وين؟‬- ‫وين الوعي‬ ‫امشوا معي هني‬ ‫وادي بني اجلبلني‬ ‫عني حب للطرفني‬ ‫أمهاتنا حبت ذاتنا‬ ‫بس مو عاجبهن مسباتنا‬ ‫هذا احلكي بني اخواتنا‬ ‫زين العرب واألمريكان‬

(Destiny) Dove of Peace Spread your wings & fly

Consciousness? What consciousness - where is it? Take a walk with me Here, in this valley between two “mountains” Where the source of love for both “sides” can be found Our mothers like us But don’t like our foul language So let’s keep this between the siblings The best of Arabs & Americans

47


Omar Offendum 48

‫وألله يرحم كل أمواتنا‬ ‫أغاني‬ ‫'مثل 'املهامتة‬ ‫ العني بالعني‬:‫إذا قلنا‬ ‫ما صفى عندنا عيون بالشام‬ ‫بالد الشام‬ ‫من فلسطني إلى جبال لبنان‬ ‫قبل ما اخترعوا احلدود‬ ‫من اإلسكندرون إلى كردستان‬ ‫فهمان؟‬ ‫جنجس خان ما خان قد ما خانونا أوالد العم‬ ‫بس دمنا دمهم‬ ‫ بنو ذمنبهم‬- ‫بني أدم‬ ‫ شلنا همهم‬- ‫على أكتافنا‬ ‫ليه؟‬ ‫الله بيعلم‬ ‫بس ليك هذا الفتيش والبسكليت‬ ‫ مسدس‬١٠٠٬٠٠٠٬٠٠٠ ‫احسنلك من‬ ‫تعرف ليه؟‬ ‫ألن مو عاجبهم بسمتك‬ ‫بس إبتسم برسمتك‬ ‫عربي ومثقف‬ ٌ ٌ ‫شاب‬ ‫أعطيهم ختمتك‬ ‫وإذا لسة مو راضني‬ )‫ذكرهم بكالم ' إيليية (أبي ماضي‬ »‫«نسي الطني ساع ًة أنه طني‬ ‫وهذه هي القضاء والقدر يا حبيبي‬

And may God have mercy on all our dead Songs I sing Like the Mahatma [the line above and the line below are linked through the sound of the name and the figure of Mahatama Ghandi] If we say ‘an eye for an eye’ There wont be any eyes left in Sham [Damascus] Bilad al-Sham [Greater Syria, the wider Arab world] From Palestine to the mountains of Lebanon Before they made up these borders From Iskandaroon to Kurdistan Understand? Genghis Khan never deceived us quite like our “paternal cousins” [khan also means “deceive” in Arabic] But our blood is their blood Children of Adam -- who built their sins Upon our shoulders -- we carried their burden Why? God knows But listen, this little firecracker & bicycle Are better for you than 100 million guns Wanna know why? Because they dont like seeing you smile But smile you will - in your human being A young, cultured Arab male Give them your stamp of approval And if they still don’t accept you Then remind them of the words of Elliye [Abi-Madhee, a Lebanese poet whose poem begins with:] “How soon a piece of dirt can forget that all he really is, is just dirt” [i.e. we are all from this earth & will come back to it, so there is no logic in viewing yourself as better than someone else] And that my friend is our destiny

49


You are my (Destiny) It’s hard livin’ in the West - when I know the East got the best of me (Destiny) Could be lookin’ in my eyes - but you’ll never really see the rest of me (Destiny) Can you hear me maseeri [my destiny]? Bi-lingual’s what I’m blessed to be (Destiny)

‫حمامة سالم‬ ‫افتحي أجنحتكي و طيري‬ I write right to left You write left to right Metaphor of a foreigner’s plight

Make it easier to borrow The aesthetics you bite Like all the Arabic loanwords From Spaniards & Morros

Stereo & a mic

The Karma of Inquisition

The burial of a white Imperial at his height’s A Turkish Rapper’s Delight Semetic etiquette might Just have you rollin your “R’s” Poetic & light And grab a hold of your sorrows To relieve your tomorrows

50

Spread your wings & fly

Dressed to type

Scenario of a fight

Omar Offendum

Dove of Peace

Visions of horror So who’s the explorer? Really was it Columbus? Muhammad al-Idrisi or Alfaragnus ? Throw a Hobson Jobson While you figure it out I’m gonna start with a cipher That’s a siffir [zero] - no doubt See you might not have learned to live with me But sure as hell can’t without

You are my

51


(Destiny) It’s hard livin’ in the West - when I know the East got the best of me (Destiny) Could be lookin’ in my eyes - but you’ll never really see the rest of me (Destiny) Can you hear me maseeri [my destiny]? Bi-lingual’s what I’m blessed to be (Destiny)

‫حمامة سالم‬ ‫افتحي أجنحتكي و طيري‬ See arab [Arabs] shootin at each other From Iraq to Falasteen [Palastine] Syria to Libnan [Lebanon] Algeria to Sudan Pedagogy of the oppressed, tricklin’ down Conquerin’ through divisions And sadly this isn’t the first time

Bitched out by the West Press get a big shout From the people gettin’ rich out of this (bout) Now what’s this really all about Land, money, or power? It was the colonizer’s fault But now it’s really just ours Leavin’ a sour tase in our mouths

No fuss, no fight? Yeah right, young blood

Like generational slave names

AK’s cheaper than a book

Whenever speakin’ out

Crooked leaders in a hook

Out-spoken leaders gettin’ taken out

Missles gettin’ dished out

52

Spread your wings & fly

One land, one love, one chance, one blood

Gettin’ fished out

Omar Offendum

Dove of Peace

Quicker than belligerent drunks in a bar We a far cry from livin’ as one.

Translated by t he ar tist

53


‫زي ما صار مبارح‬

what happened yesterday

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‫زي ما صار مبارح صار اليوم‬ ‫اطف التلفزيون امسك مايكروفون‬ ‫زي ما صار مبارح صار اليوم‬ ‫اطف التلفزيون امسك مايكروفون‬ ‫زي ما صار مبارح صار اليوم‬ ‫اطف التلفزيون امسك مايكروفون‬ ‫زي ما صار مبارح صار اليوم‬ ‫اطف التلفزيون امسك مايكروفون‬ ‫النه الوقت عم يسبق‬ ‫بقلك خي سالم بس اصبر‬ ‫بدك تستني هاي اخلطط بعمرها ما تضبط‬ ‫بيدفعلك قد ما بدك عشان تسكت‬ ‫واذا بتفتح متك طخة وحده وبعد بتسقط‬

What happened yesterday happens today, switch off your TV and grab a microphone What happened yesterday happens today, switch off your TV and grab a microphone What happened yesterday happens today, switch off your TV and grab a microphone What happened yesterday happens today, switch off your TV and grab a microphone Because time is racing, He keeps telling you peace is coming, just be patient You want to wait? these plans never succeed He’ll pay you as much as you want to keep you quiet And if you open your mouth, one shot will silence you

stormtrap 54

55


‫اركض اركض‬ ‫وخليك راكض‬ ‫واذا بتفتح متك رح يقلك خليك ساكت‬ ‫رح يقلك انساك من هاملشاكل‬ ‫حوشوا هالشواك وضبوا شناتكم واشتروا التذاكر‬ ‫ففكر شوي وما تكنش أهبل‬ ‫وين ما تروح في الدنيا رح تتبهدل‬ ‫مش شايف قدامي عم بسمع أصوات بيسألني‬ ‫ليش لسه عايش هون روح عيش محل تاني‬ ‫بدي احك بس الكلمات مش طالعة من لساني‬ ‫عنصرية هونن عنصرية هناك‬ ‫عنصرية كل ما اطلع برا الشباك‬ ‫شيطان بيعمل حاله مالك‬ ‫بس هو بالواقع بدو يعيش بالك‬ ‫جدار بيمثل عقلية ناس بدهاش تعيش معاك‬ ‫زي ما صار مبارح صار اليوم‬ ‫اطف التلفزيون امسك مايكروفون‬

stormtrap 56

‫ مبثل فكرة‬،‫ما مبثل شخص او اشخاص‬ ‫اسم احلرية حاملينه‬ ‫من بلد ما فيه حياة عادية‬ ‫سواءا ضد االحتالل أو ضد العنصرية‬ ‫أصواتكم وينايي؟‬ ‫خلوها تنسمع وتطلع نتائج ايجابية‬ ‫فكمل كتابة او تسجيل‬ ‫وصدقني شغلك مش رايح عالفاضي‬ ‫عشان الشي الوحيد اللي رح يروح هو احن‬ ‫اذا منضلنا علقانني فاملاضي‬

Run, run, Keep running And if you decide to speak, he’ll tell you just stay silent He’ll tell you forget these problems, Save up some money, pack your bags, and buy your tickets Think about it, don’t be a fool Wherever you go you’ll get humiliated I can’t see in front of me, I’m hearing voices asking Why are you still living here? Go live somewhere else I want to respond but the words won’t come out Racism here, racism there Racism each time I look out the window A devil in an angel’s disguise, In reality he wants to live without you The apartheid wall represents the mentality of a people who don’t care to coexist What happened yesterday happens today, switch off your TV and grab a microphone. I dont represent a person or a people, I represent an idea An idea called freedom From a land lacking a normal life Whether you’re struggling against occupation or against racism Where is your voice? Let it be heard to achieve your goals So keep writing and recording Believe me, your work won’t be lost in vain The only thing that’ll disappear is us If we stay stuck in the past

57


‫شو الي حدث؟‬ ‫جينا من حتت األرض‬ ‫هيهة القصة بدة عنا هدف‬ ‫وننشر أصواتنا لكل حدا‬ .‫جيت من حتت أرض رام الله‬ ‫ما ح وقف اكتب كلمات وال مرة‬ ‫عندي طاقة الزم أطلعها كل يوم وكل ساعة‬ ‫فاو انبنى مع الوقت ولسة عم بيطور تصور‬ ‫تصورفاو انبنى مع الوقت ولسة عم بيطور تصور‬ ‫زي ما صار مبارح صار اليوم‬ ‫اطف التلفزيون امسك مايكروفون‬ ‫زي ما صار مبارح صار اليوم‬ ‫اطف التلفزيون امسك مايكروفون‬

stormtrap 58

What happened? We came from underground, The story begins, we have an objective To spread our voices to everyone I came from the ruins of Ramallah and I won’t ever stop writing words I have energy that I must release every day, every hour A flow that’s been built and is still developing, imagine Imagine, a flow that’s been built and is still developing. What happened yesterday happens today, Switch off your TV and grab a microphone. What happened yesterday happens today, Switch off your TV and grab a microphone.

Translated by the artist

59


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This track was originally written in English.

Wake up the People Don’t doubt it The Maker can see you Right now You want to get out and see doe So clouded Sell out to be dope Right now

brass No click like an untapped phone dial Oh wow I felt the same homie Don’t shelter pain only Then it came slowly Never let the frame hold me (down) Picture life for the love though People tend to look the other way like Columbo We deceived by the law just to love doe

I see you plagued by your own doubt Can’t step the game up Like a snake when it rolled down Staircase of a lone child No bricks lain in a cold house Where you sold out

the Narcicyst 60

All alone on an old couch

Guess they took all the worth out to numb folks And make a severed plan Out of bitter man What you want a medal man? Huh? Do you really think you’re better than? Then? All you really need is a long look, Two sixteens and a strong hook like

61


Wake up the People Don’t doubt it The Maker can see you Right now You want to get out and see doe So clouded Sell out to be dope Right now Break! Hip hop like a fresh pelvis You’re gonna regret this shit, like a dead Elvis Busy wishing you could live less selfish Crabs in a bucket, duckin’ these dead shellfish Industry got a brother feeling helpless With an ill chorus and ride, you’re more in the tide When a flow can’t keep me above the water

Let a wave carry me out and push me farther now. Internal, Inferno, ten journals written, but I’m still not sure though Do I really want to tour to jump hurdles? To be heard? So-I-Can-Feel-Like-This Man, there’s something that I might miss-Naw, I’ve been bluffin’ Life’s backwards like Ben Buttons’ I’m in love with the stage fright on a strange night Feels good to get the words on a page right. Wake up the People Don’t doubt it The Maker can see you Right now You want to get out and see doe So clouded Sell out to be dope Right now

the Narcicyst 62

63


‫بركان بيروت‬

beirut’s volcano

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‬‫مبارح شفت بلمنام بيروت عمتغرق حتت رماد بركان‬ ‎‬‫‫فحموا الناس بس ال «سكاي بار» كان بعده ولعان‬ ‎‬‫‫بيروت ثبتت حبة الثورة اللي فينا نبتت‬ ‎‬‫‫ملا أحبطت نفوسنا من اجلمود‬ ‎‬‫‫فينا بيروت حتركت‬ ‎‬‫‫عدم دمارنا وعدم حرية خيارنا‬ ّ ‎‬‫تعمرت‬ ّ ‫‫بيوت بيروت‬ ‎‬‫‫سكرنا عجفاف دموعنا جفوننا عليها تسكرت فتخمرت‬ ‎‬‫‫إذا بطلت تطير قدرك عألرض مقهور‬ ‎‬‫‫إذا وقفت تكسير بتصير جزء من الديكور‬

Yesterday I dreamt Beirut was drowning under volcanic ash The people were turned to charcoal but Sky Bar [a posh Beirut club] was still lit up. Beirut suppressed the seed of the revolution, the one that sprouted When our spirits were foiled from immobility In us Beirut moved. On the blood of our destruction, and the negation of our freedom of choice The houses of Beirut are rebuilt We got drunk on the dryness of our tears, our eyelids closed on them and fermented If you stop flying your destiny on land is distress If you stop breaking, you become part of the decoration

e l R a s s 64

65


‫بحاور بناور باآلخر بواجه التا ‬ج‬ ‎‬‫‫بتوضى بصلي بتوصلني أصوات أنّات احملتاج‬ ‎‬‫بعري العمل من العمل‬ ّ ‫‫تأمل العلم‬ ‎‬‫‫خياري عنار خفيفة دوب املسمار وتستوي األفكار النظيفة‬ ‎‬‫‫عمروا دمروا زمروا تذمروا‬ ّ ‎‬‫‫ربك صبره دربه جربه‬ ‎‬‫‫عقلن خربوا غربوا هربوا‬ ‎‬‫‫وقبلوا بالفن عحيط الشارع‬ ‎‬‫‫عشرط ما يكون في شك بشارع‬ ‎‬‫‫هيدي مش عاصمة ثقافة هيدي حلبة املصارع‬ ‎‬‫‫بيروت ال تعرف في املاضي وال تعرب باملضارع‬ ‎‬‫‫حتول التركيبة خلى العقل اجلامد ّفكر حاله مالك املدينة‬ ‎‬‫‫رقبته طويلة متل مالك احلزين وايده لوزيري‬ ‎‬‫‫اعتبر نفسه أول مني اكتشف هلجزيرة‬ ‎‬‫‫بأجر الفقير شقق بأسعار مدروسة‬ ‎‬‫‫بشكل تضل طموحاته ممعوسة‬ ‎‬‫‫نهبوا األرض من ربعي وصارت احلرب شركة استثمار مبفعول رجعي‬ ‎‬‫‫حتت شعار إعادة اإلعمار‬ ‎‬‫‫لو ما كان خلص دوره وانتهى عقد االيجار‬ ‎‬‫‫كان احلريري ما طار وما صار مطار احلريري‬ ‎‬‫‫عاصمة لبنان بتوازن بني ضريحني‬ ‎‬‫‫واتنيناتن عاغتيالن في عالمة استفهام‬ ‎‬‫‫واحد ّقدس املوت بس لسبب‬

e l R a s s 66

I discuss, I maneuver, ultimately I confront the crown I perform ablutions, I pray, I receive the moaning of the needy The meditation of knowledge strips work from hope My choice is on low fire, melting the nails, and clean thoughts are ripening.   They built, they destroyed, they honked, they complained Your god made him patient, tested him and trained him Their minds: ruined, westernized, chased off They accepted art pissed on back alleys  As long as there is no doubt in the streets This is no capital of culture, it’s a wrestling ring Beirut can’t speak of itself in the past nor conjugate itself in the present.   Transitions and transformations made the closed mind think he owns the city His neck is long like a stork, his fingers long like a politician’s He thinks himself the first who discovered this peninsula He lets the poor rent apartments at prices studied To crush ambitions They stole the land from my cousins And the war became a backward-looking investment Under the slogan of reconstruction If his time wasn’t up and his contract finished Hariri didn’t have to fly and it wouldn’t have become the Hariri airport Lebanon’s capital keeps balance between two shrines And on both assassinations, there is a question mark One sanctifies death but for a reason

67


‎‬‫‫واحد ّقدس احلياة بس بالكذب‬ ‎‬ّ ‫‫واحد بايدو حتّول الذهب‬ ‫سم‬ ‎‬‫تخبى من الذهب بالدم‬ ّ ‫‫وواحد‬ ‎‫‫‬ ‬‫مني الشهيد؟‬ ‎‬‫‫اللي مات حتت صبابيط ثورة عبيد شهيد؟‬ ‎‬‫‫اللي مات فتحول على حملة اعالنات هدفها ترفع الطايفة معدالت التجنيد؟‬ ‬‫ل‬‎ ‫‫قنابل بالبريد وص‬‎‫‫‬ ‬‫سيوف علوريد حصل‬ ‎‬‫‫املوت للبليد صنم‬ ‎‬‫‫الصبر للعنيد حلم‬ ‎‬‫‫تأليه الشهيد ظلم‬ ‎‬،‫ العالج والسم‬،‫‫خليط احلديد والدم‬ ‎‬‫ النوعية والكم‬،‫‫الرفاه والهم‬ ‎‬‫‫الدعارة وورقة التوت‬ ‎‬‫‫مبدينة بيروت علم‬

e l R a s s 68

And one sanctifies life with lies In one’s hand gold turned into poison And the other hid from gold with blood

Who is the martyr? The one who died under the shoes of the oppressed’s uprising is a martyr? Is it he whose death was transformed into an advertising campaign to raise the levels of sectarian enlistment? Bombs came in the mail, Swords to the jugular: true stories Death to the cold is statuette   Patience to the stubborn is a dream Divinity to the martyr is oppression The mixture of steel and blood, the cure and poison Luxury and distress, quality and quantity Prostitution and modesty: The science of the city of Beirut

T r a n s l a t e d b y M o e A l i N a y e l & +A z i z

69


‫رسالة من مقاطعة‬

a letter from boikutt

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‫ة‬‎‫بقرأ في اجلريد‬ ‫زفت شوارع جديدة‬ ‎‫إزالة مطبات و كثير أشياء هيك مفيدة‬ ‎‫أشخاص مستفيدة‬ ‎‫دعم من هون و من هون‬ ‎‫منظمات بس احلرية بعيدة‬ ‎‫مقاطعة مستوطنات تعون الضفة الغربية‬ ‎‫ إدعائية‬،‫ حصرية‬،‫وطنية‬ ‎‫طب و فلسطني التاريخية؟‬ ‎‫مع ألساس كانت القدس عاصمة الثقافة العربية‬ ‎‫بس كلوحكي سياسية للشعب‬ ‎‫إحنا نتحمل الشغل و التعب و الوضع صعب‬

I’m reading in the paper

About roads newly paved Speed bumps removed, and a lot of other useful stuff (yes, very!) Certain inviduals benefit Funding from here and there Organizations are plentiful but freedom is far-fetched Calling for a boycott of settlements around the West Bank Pretentious, exclusive nationalism But what about historical Palestine? I thought Jerusalem was supposed to be the “capital of Arab culture”? But it’s all political speeches for the people We put up with the work and the sweat and it’s rough

boikutt 70

71


‫م‬‎‫يقنعونا إن كلشي متا‬ ‎‫و بقدر أعيش حياة عادية‬ ‎‫زي في األفالم‬ ‎‫ إلخ‬،‫ أربعة‬،‫ ثالثة‬،‫ إثنني‬/‫ واحد‬،‫س‬.‫ب‬.‫على م‬ ‫خ‬‎ّ ‫كن منيح و بتنزل عليك املصاري ز‬ ‎‫نصيحة من أخ ألخ‬ ‎‫خليك مستقل ألن اللعبة إنلعب‬ ‎‫فإبعد عن الفخ‬ ‎‫خليهم يقعدوا يستنوا الدعم ليموتوا‬ ‎‫يلفلفوا داخل اجلدار حلد ما يفوتوا‬ ‎‫ مجددة‬،‫في متاهات مبسافات مش محددة‬ ‎‫مهددة‬ ّ ‫لتوسع التوسع مش‬ ‎‫ احتالل‬،‫إنتهاك‬ ‫ل‬‎ّ ‫بس مش على الك‬ ّ ‫ل‬‎ّ ‫زي الف‬ ّ ‫في ناس في فلسطني هون حياتهم‬ ّ ‫مش عارف شو‬ ‎‫بيفكر‬ ‎‫شكلوا مش داري شي يوم حنروح‬ ّ ‎‫حتسكر‬ ‫هي‬  ‫ك ّل الدكاكني‬ ‎‫سالم‬

boikutt 72

Try to convince me that everything’s fine And that I can lead a normal life Like in the movies On MBC, one, two, three, four, etcetera Be good and money will rain on you Advice from one brother to another: Stay independent because the games are being played So steer clear of the trap Let them wait for foreign aid until they die Spinning in circles within the apartheid wall, until they enter Into unlimited mazes, with unspecified spaces That are renewed to fit settlement expansion, unthreatened Violation, occupation But not for everyone There are people here in Palestine living “the good life” I don’t know what he’s thinking Seems like he doesn’t know one day we’ll be gone And all these shops will close Peace

Translated by the artist with Loubna Bilali

73


‫هديني اذا فيك‬

hold me back if you can

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‫الضغط عالي‬ ‫ جاري احملادثات‬،‫العدو فات‬ ‫صمت دولي‬ ‫كمية الغازى عم تزداد‬ !‫تهجير جديد! مولود جديد‬ ‫تكرر عزو مش تارك ورا شي مفيد غير غراب‬ ‫من كل البيت ما تركو شي إلاّ الباب‬ ‫من االرض ل سما مسافة عاليه‬ ‫إمشي الصحرا وعد ليالي‬ ‫وجنوما‬ ‫كمشوا رئيس دولة بجورة؟‬ ‫حصار‬ ‫تلون الفرات سجون معتقالت‬ ّ ‫باألحمر‬،‫توزيع مخدرات‬ ‫قبلة الوداع مع الصبات‬ ‫ خيانات باألزهر‬،‫تنصت بالشبكة‬

The pressure is high

The enemy has entered, discussions are taking place Global silence The numbers of the occupier are increasing A new expulsion! A newborn child! The perpetuation of an invasion that leaves behind it nothing of any use except for a crow From an entire house they left nothing but the door From the ground to the sky is a long distance Walk the desert and count the nights And its stars They caught a president in a pit? Siege Drug dealing, the Euphrates is stained red, prisons, detention centers A farewell kiss with a shoe Networks wiretapped, betrayals in Al Azhar

katibeh 5 74

75


‫حوار أديان؟‬ ‫الكف تنجس‬ ‫متسح فيه وجك مع كل شروق عالوضوء؟‬ :‫تسمع شرارة فتيل مولوتوف ينادي أصوات تتلبى‬ ‫باإلنفجار‬ ‫هديّني إذا فيك صرت موجود بكل مكان‬ ‫مغبش عامل زي جيش زباتا‬ ّ ّ ‫وجي‬ »‫ «احلرية ل برغوتي‬:‫منصرخ بوجكم‬ ّ ‫ كلماتكو حملت إسمي‬،‫إعالمكو بيعرفني‬ ‫شركاتكو بتهرب ّمني‬ )‫ هديّتي إذا فيك‬،‫(كتيبه خمسه‬ ‫بتالقيني بني والد حفظوا ُغنية املخيمات‬ ‫بنفسية فلاّ ح عمال يزو املديّنة‬ ‫افالم تافهة‬ ‫برنامج تافه‬ ‫بتدور على ُم ّخك بتالقي مش موجود‬ ّ ‫اخلليج يتحكم بإعالم‬ ‫شغالني‬ ّ ‫ سنة بعدن مش‬٦١ ‫هادول حبوب التنومي‬

katibeh 5 76

‫عال‬ ‫مادامك واخد وجهة نظري‬ ‫ع محمل اجلد‬ ‫مسموح لك تستعجب وتظهر إنزعاجك بوجودي‬ ‫ألني صديق لكل املشاهد الغير مرغوبة فيها‬ ‫ومحدش بيختار ��ياتو بالتحديد بحكيلك‬ ِّ ‫هيك منحياها‬ ‫ضغط رصاص وابارود بخلّيكاش حتيد‬ ‫التجارب بتدلّك عطريق‬ ‫هديتي إذا فيك‬ ّ

A dialogue of religions? The hand is tainted And with it you cleanse your face at ablution each sunrise? You hear the sparking of the fuse of a molotov calling, voices respond: Explosion Hold me back if you can, I have become present everywhere My face is concealed like the army of Zapata We shout in your face: “Freedom for Barghouti” Your media knows me, your words have glimpsed my name Your corporations flee from me (Katibe Khamseh, hold me back if you can) You’ll find me among children that have memorized the song “Al Moukhayamat” In the persona of a peasant that is visiting the city Shallow films Shallow programs You look for your mind but you find it is not there The Gulf controls media with its boundaries These sleeping pills, 61 years and they’re still not effective Great As long as you are taking my point of view seriously You’re allowed to be taken aback and to show your irritation Just like you show your irritation at my presence Because I am a friend to all the images that are not desirable This is how we live out these images and no one chooses their life specifically I’ll tell you The pressure of bullets and gunpowder does not allow you to move away Experience will guide you on the road Hold me back if you can

77


‫موقف واحد صريح من صميم روح لشعوب املقاومة ضمير ظهور البشرية‬ ‫السبيل صعب ورا الغضب‬ ‫دعم لكل ُأسالوب محارب‬ ‫منستعد لنحرق نظامك‬ ِّ ،‫منخرب‬ ّ ّ ،‫منجرب‬ ّ ،‫منتدرب‬ ‫عم نحرق نظامك‬ ‫هديتي إذا فيك‬ ّ ‫إطلع منيح‬ ‫مش رح تقدر توخذ كل شي من أول نظرة‬ »‫ «بشرة مش بيضة‬:‫نظرة عامة‬ ‫ مكتوب مولود عنيد بالفطرة‬،‫جبني عريضة‬ ‫فوت بالتقاليد عد التجاعيد‬ ‫لك هاي مش أول ّمرة‬ ‫ حط العلم بغالف‬،‫لغات ودراسات‬ ‫مش رح تقدر تفهم ليه بعد في بارود ع الكتاف‬ ‫لون األرض ولون الليل بيعطيك ا ّلبني و السواد‬ ‫بوعدك مش لوحدي رح أضل عد رماد ال‬ ‫ال اللعبة اجلديدة وال والدنا ع اللعبة جداد‬ ‫بكفيش إنفلونزا الصقور صار في إنفلونزا اخلنازير‬ ‫موسم مرض جديد لرئيس مب ِّثل ع نفوس ومريض بهدوء البيض‬

katibeh 5 78

‫هديتي إذا فيك‬ ّ

A single honest stance from the bottom of the soul for the people of the resistance, the conscience that exposes humanity

The path is difficult when following anger A support for every style of battle We train, we strive, we disrupt, we prepare to burn your system We are burning your system Hold me back if you can Look closely You won’t be able to see it all at first sight An overview: “complexion that is not white” A broad forehead, written: born stubborn by nature Look at the traditions and count the wrinkles This is not the first time Languages and scholarship, put education under wraps You won’t be able to understand why there is still gunpowder on shoulders The color of earth and the color of night gives you brown and blackness I promise you that I will not be alone to count the ashes, no This game to us is not new, and nor are our children new to the game As if the influenza of eagles was not enough, now there’s the influenza of pigs The season of a new disease for a president acting for a public and sick with the calmness of white people Hold me back if you can

79


‫اإلحتالل ّنكه البشر بنكهة املجاري‬ ‫بالسالم حوار أديان‬ ‫بإقرار ملكية ّكذابة‬ ‫بتشويه تاريخ وسرقة حضارات‬ ‫!ولك أه‬ ‫ الدجلة والفرات‬،‫ إفريقيا‬،‫فلسطني‬ ‫إجتاه البشرية لإلضمحالل سرطان بشري بعضها‬ ‫الشتا ميسح اخلطايا واآلثار‬ ‫بتتخبى وبتتغطى بنفس كل سفارة سميك الستار‬ ّ ‫وليش‬ ‫لساتني باكل الضربة ورا الضره ورا الضربة‬ ‫لرجفة‬ ّ ‫وحتى ما أفعل وأساوي تكمشني ا‬ ‫بدل ما أضرب فيك بضرب بحالي‬ ‫بوعدكش حضلني كامش حالي حفلتها‬ ‫حفلتها‬ ‫هديني إذا فيك‬ ّ ‫هديني إذا فيك‬ ّ ‫هديني إذا فيك‬ ّ

katibeh 5 80

The occupation has seasoned humanity with the flavor of sewers With peace, with dialogue of religions With the declaration of false ownership With the distortion of history and the theft of civilizations Oh yes Palestine, Africa, the Tigris and Euphrates Humanity is leading to reduction, a human cancer bites it Exile wipes clean the sins and the traces And why are you hiding and seeking cover when all the embassies are already well concealed I am still taking one beating after another And so that I don’t take action and do something, shudders grip my body Instead of beating you I beat myself I can’t promise you that I can keep myself restrained I’m gonna let go Hold me back if you can Hold me back if you can Hold me back if you can

Translated by Rima Najdi and Faysal Bibi

81


‫ايد في ايد‬

hand in hand

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‫طول عمر الشعب املصري مع بعض أحلك الظروف‬ ‫بص وفر في التاريخ وانت ياما هاتشوف‬ ‫الدين ده ليا وليك‬ ‫وفيا وفيك‬ ‫حاجة روحانية بتخليك حتس اللي بيك‬ ‫ايد في ايد‬ ‫نبني فيها من جديد‬ ‫مصر زعلت علي حاصل وسطنا‬ ‫مش مفيد‬ ‫بعد ثورة وبعد عيد‬ ‫فتنة تقتل حلم واتتحقق لنا‬ ‫واحد اتنني‬ ‫الذكري بتعيش اكتر من عمر االنسان‬ ‫بصمتنا تغييرنا جوة وبرة امليدان‬ ‫مش هانضيع نصر ثورتنا بفتنة نشئت بينا‬

The Egyptian people have always stuck together Through the worst times, look at history And see how often we’ve been there for each other That whole idea of religion Is for you and for me something spiritual that makes you feel what’s inside you Hand in hand We build Egypt up again Egypt is angry at what’s happening between us It’s not helpful After the revolution, after the celebration Sectarian strife is killing the dream we fulfilled One, two The memory lasts more than a lifetime Our mark is our change in and outside Tahrir Square We won’t give up the victory of our revolution in exchange for sectarian strife between us

A r a b i a n K n i g h t s + MC G a z a + A m e e r 82

83


‫بلدنا محتجانا ايدنا واحدة ضد احملنة‬ ‫تفرق ايه معاك ديانتي ملا ربك هو ربي‬ ‫اصلك هو اصلي‬ ‫ارضك هي ارضي‬ ‫ملا اتقال لي اكتت فيول فتنة انا قولت غلط‬ ‫علشان الفتنة مفتعلة في بلدنا وكان وراها غرض‬ ‫فالفرد افترض‬ ‫فبفرض السياسة األمر اختلط‬ ‫فالزم يبقي املصل سياسي من اصل املرض‬ ‫وهالل‬  ‫العسس واحلرس مافرقوش صليب‬ ‫وكنا كلنا واحد وراء االقفال‬ ‫دم الشهيد شاهد‬ ‫ياما بالفتنة انكسرنا‬ ‫وحدتنا بصوت واحد وضد الظلم انتصرنا‬ ‫وديني هو ديني صلة بيني وبني ربي‬ ‫هارفع علمي وارفع راسي فوق‬ ‫انا مصري‬ ‫ايد في ايد‬ ‫نبني فيها من جديد‬ ‫مصر زعلت علي حاصل وسطنا‬ ‫مش مفيد‬ ‫بعد ثورة وبعد عيد‬ ‫فتنة تقتل حلم واتتحقق لنا‬ ‫خلو حمامة السالم من الطيور املنقرضة‬ ‫علشان تبقي القلوب مبتعدة منقسمه سهل تتسم‬ ‫فكرين مناعة و قوة أم الدنيا بالطمع مرتبطة‬ ‫نسر املصريني ليس له دين احنا بنحميها بالدم‬ ‫العنف بذوره بتكتر عاوز يوصل واحلروب حتصل‬

Our country needs us all together against the hard times What difference does my religion make to you when your god is my god? Your origin is mine? Your land is my land? When they told me about sectarian strife, I said that’s wrong Because it’s been planted in our country and behind it is some purpose Makes one think something’s going on By playing politics everything’s gotten mixed up The antidote has to be political just like the poison itself The military doesn’t distinguish between cross and crescent We’re all held together behind bars The blood of the martyrs bears witness To how much we’ve been broken by sectarianism Through our unity we triumphed with one voice over injustice And my religion is my own: a rapport between me and God I’ll raise my flag and my head up I’m Egyptian Hand in hand We build Egypt up again Egypt is angry at what’s happening between us It’s not helpful After the revolution, after the victory Sectarian strife is killing the dream we fulfilled They drove the dove of peace to extinction To keep hearts apart and divided; it’s easy to poison them Do they really think the resilience and strength of Egypt is connected to greed? The Egyptian eagle has no religion; we protect it with our blood The roots of violence are increasing, want to gain control, to start wars,

A r a b i a n K n i g h t s + MC G a z a + A m e e r 84

85


‫للعاقيدة يكسر وألعضاء املشاعر تتشال تصتأصل‬ ‫على كالم ربهم اتكبرو فعملو قدر واتقدر‬ ‫وقته مستنينه ليه خططوا مضمون الرسائل اتغير‬ ‫الن الهدف هو تدمير قعدة الوحده‬ ‫وقتل كل قائد يقود الناس بره احملنه‬ ‫ ميحي أوصول عليها كبرنا‬،‫فيبقي سهل يزيحنا‬ ‫وكل واحد علي حداه يقول أنا محدش يقول احنا‬ ‫فاببطء بحرص بص بعقل بحذر شوف‬ ‫قبل ما يخلوا خيالك يتخلله اخلوف‬ ‫واخلوف ده افراز بيطلع من غده ملا الكلب بيشوفها‬ ‫بيعرف انك فاريسه سهل ياكلها ركز‬ ‫فرق تسد إخلع‬ ‫وفق جتد إرفع‬ ‫ثورة تقد‬ ‫ يفرق‬-‫صمت يفرد‬ ‫ما بيجمع بيننا‬ ‫ تسمع‬- ‫من حقي النقد من حقك‬ ‫طب إسمع وراجع ما صور التاريخ طب باله بيكفي صور زماني‬ ‫يوم حصار كنيسة املهد مني دافع؟ مني اتقمع؟ مني اتنفا؟‬ ‫مسلم؟ مسيحي؟ أل كان فلسطيني‬ ‫اتذكر معي ثورة غضب يناير‬ ‫اتذكر معي الوحدة اإليد الوحدة اتشرف انتا مصري‬ ‫اتذكر معي األخ بإيد األخ يحمي األخ بدون إلخ‬ ‫كالمي ماشي ماشي‬ ‫لتفهمني بهويتي مسلم وال نصراني قبطي‬-‫ال‬ ‫ما في حجة لربطي خلبطي حلطي ألوطي ألغير خطي‬ ‫خير أجناد األرض‬ ‫من أرض بيت املقدس كل السالم بعد ما قلت إلنقسام في وطني‬ ‫انا ملزم أقول ال لفتنة‬ ‫تفتت مجد شعب تعب عانى ضحى بالغالي حتى بناه‬

A r a b i a n K n i g h t s + MC G a z a + A m e e r 86

The relationship between Egyptians breaks down and the organs that feel are taken out They got full of themselves in the name of their god and invented a new fate for us They’re waiting for a time, and they’re plotting. The meaning of their messages changes Because the goal is to destroy the foundation of unity And kill every leader who takes the people out of hard times It’s easy to remove us, to wipe out the traditions we grew up with Everyone on his own, everyone says “I,” and no one says “we“ Slowly, carefully, look! Wisely, with caution, see! Before they make your imagination a slave to fear And that fear releases a secretion from a gland And when the dog sees it he knows you’re easy prey Divide, you’ll conquer Bring harmony and you’ll reap. Start A revolution and it will catch on Silence is solitary. It divides It doesn’t bring us together It is my right to criticize and your right to listen So listen and look back at history, or better, look at my life time: The day the Nativity Church was under siege, who was persecuted? Who was exiled? A Muslim? A Christian? No, he was Palestinian Let’s remember the angry revolution of January Let’s remember the unity, the one hand. Be proud, you’re Egyptian Remember the brother holding hands with a brother protecting a brother, And I can go on Don’t teach me about my identity, whether I’m a Muslim or a Christian Copt.

There’s no excuse to tie me down, beat me, to make me cower and kneel and stray from my course The Earth’s most virtuous soldiers

Come from the land of Bayt al-Maqdis [Jerusalem], I salute you. After I said no to division in my country

I’m committed to saying no to sedition That dissolves the glory of a people who labored, suffered, sacrificed what was most dear to build it.

T r a n s l a t e d b y A l e x O r t i z +A h m e d S h a w k e t + K h a l e d A l H i l l i 87


‫أدمان الشهرة‬

addiction to fame

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‫الفن واملواهب زي حرب الكواكب‬ ‫ صراع في الداخل‬،‫الكل عايز يكون جنم‬ ‫بهدي جنون العظمة بفلفل حر توابل‬ ‫تسيل دموع زي القنابل‬ ‫ وداني شغالة‬،‫زي مابتكلم‬ ‫علشان أكون سامع نبض الشارع‬ ‫حالف أقضي على اإلعالم املتآمر‬ ‫ بس إنت مش سامع‬،‫مغامر في الكالم‬ ‫ الهم بينزاح‬،‫ملا بأمسك القلم والورقة‬ ‫ بأقول اللي على البال‬,‫مخي بي رتاح‬ ‫ بحس بتأنيب ضمير‬،‫ملا بأقعد‬ ‫مفروض أكون في ستوديو بسجل على بيت خطير‬

Art and talent are like Star Wars Secretly everyone wants to be a star of conflict I make megalomania tranquil with chilli hot spices. Tears flow like bombs That’s how I talk and the world keeps moving So that I can hear the pulse of the streets I’ve sworn to obliterate the media conspirators I am adventurous in my speech but you do not hear When I hold the pen and the paper, my anxiety is lifted, My mind relaxes and I say what’s on it When I sit down I feel guilty I should be in the studio, recording dangerous beats.

el Deeb + Stormtrap 88

89


‫إحساس غ ريب إنك تدمن الكالم‬ ‫ واخترع زي دافينشي الرسام‬،‫ارسم يا فنان‬ ‫ولو مفيش ورقة باستخدم تليف وني‬ ‫خايف إن فكرة متع ديش على ص وتي‬ ‫ يوم ب ونب وني‬،‫ يوم مر‬،‫دنيا غ ريبة‬ ‫بس أنا عمري ماغيرت ل وني‬ ‫املوسيقى بنادولي وبطابعي فض ولي‬ ‫ف ـمهما قالوا لي هافهمها مبفهومي‬ ‫ساعات أالقي نفسي بكلم نفسي‬ ‫واسمع أصوات غ ريبة في دماغي‬ ‫وهو ده الصدى الصوت اللي بسمعه‬ .‫اكن مفيش حد فارقة معاه احالمي‬

el Deeb + Stormtrap 90

‫شوف شوف‬ ‫مش هدف إنو أنا شخصي ًا أنا‬ ‫هدفي انه كلم اتي وموسيقتي تنتشر‬ ‫عشان هيك حتشوف��ي دوما مستمر مستثمر‬ ‫كل وقتي كل طاقتي على أصواتي‬ ‫خوذ شك خوذ حت ويل خوذ كاش‬ ‫بس ما تنساش أي شي بيتعلق ب الواقع ب دناش‬ ‫ما تخاف ألنها قضيتنا مش منسية‬ ‫ هايذي ثورة كمان ثقافية‬:‫مية ب املية‬ ‫خليني أوضح هاي املوسيقى مش معم ولة للتلفاز‬ ‫هاي املوسيقى مش معم ولة لهز الطياز‬

Strange feeling to be out of words Paint oh artist, and discover like Da Vinci the artist If I don’t have paper, I use my cell I am afraid that the idea does not come through my voice Strange world, one day is bitter, another like candy But I’ve never changed my color Music is my Tylenol, and my nature curious So whatever they tell me, I’ll understand it my way Sometimes I find myself talking to myself, And I hear weird voices in my head Which is just the echo of the sound I hear As if no one cares about my dreams.

See, see My goals are not self serving My goal is that my words and music spread That’s why you’ll see me always and continuously investing All my time, my energy on my sounds Take a check, take a transfer, take cash But never forget, anything related to reality, we’re not interested Don’t be afraid because our cause is not forgotten One hundred percent: this is also a cultural revolution Let me explain: this music is not meant to be televised This music is not made for booty shaking

91


‫مش فاهم ليش الكل قاتل حاله يكون في مس ابقة‬ ‫حابني نتصابح حياكم زات املكافحة‬ ‫واالعالم ميت ع حي الله قصة‬ ‫ما بيدرس هالقصة من نصها‬ ‫وبعدن بينفخها‬ ‫مش احلق علينا اذا ما بيبحثوا‬ ‫وملا يبدوا يحكوا عنا أل عنجد بيبعصوا‬ ‫بيفكروا انه كل شي هشك بشك‬ ‫بس حدن الزم يقلهم انه الهب هوب مش هيك‬ ‫بدك تدير ب الك عشانها هاي اللحظة احلاسمة‬ ‫ملا يجوا عليك الديب والعاصفة‬ ‫نكسر حدود وبنبني وحدة عشان نحيي مجتماعاتنا‬ ‫وننهي مع انتنا‬ ‫عشان هيك منكتب كلمات ص ريحة والها معنى‬ ‫مش للشهرة مش حتى يجي حدن يدفعلنا‬

el Deeb + Stormtrap 92

I don’t understand why everyone is killing themselves to be in the contest We’d like to say goodmorning, to salute you in this same struggle The media’s dying for any story But they don’t study the story’s real text And then they blow it out of proportion It’s not our fault if they don’t search And when they talk about us, then they really screw it up They think everything is empty, pointless Somebody needs to tell them that hip hop is not like that You should take care, because this is the critical moment When the wolf and storm come haunting you We break borders and we create a unity to revitalize our communities And stop our suffering That is why we write frank words that have meaning It’s not for fame or even so that someone pays us.

Translated by Nizar Ghanem

93


=

‫حضل عهل مود يعني‬ ‫ النجوم عم تقرب‬،‫ما إنت َلك‬ ‫بهل ال مود حكون عطول لبهل جنوم إدءر‬ ‫لو مضطر شن هجوم عل النجوم كلها‬ ‫خللي األرض تدور حول أصبعي تنلك‬ ‫ مولع طيار ألفكاري من العقدي تنفك‬,‫ متلي متلك‬،‫ما إنتلك‬ ‫ حيطان ما بتنهز و منها ما بنهز‬4 ‫فرد قعدي بني‬ ‫يلز املا بينلز‬ ‫الكاس عل الطاولي و منو عم مز مز‬ ‫لتفتل براصي وحس من حالي عم كز كز‬ ‫ كالمي مدروس و ما بزت زت‬,‫عل ورقة‬ ‫بجرب ما عيد حالي متا يقولو عم نق نق‬ ‫موزع قافياتي جواز كأن عم فت فت‬ َ

Fareeq el Atrash 94

‫النجوم عم تقرب‬

the stars are getting closer

>

‫بهل األطشة خلي الديني اللي تسمعني ترن رن‬ ‫بسبيلي جاري يوم ع يوم عم برك رك‬

I’ll stay in this mood

Didn’t I tell you? The stars are getting closer. I’ll stay in this mood until I touch these stars, Even if I have to launch an attack on all the stars I’ll make the Earth rotate around my finger, I told you.

Didn’t I tell you? I’m just like you. I lit up a joint so my ideas would untie their knot Sitting this way in between four walls, I won’t budge. The most delectable Drink is on the table, from which I’m taking sips, Till my head starts spinning and I’m sick of myself On the paper, my words are calculated, I don’t just toss them about I try not to repeat myself so they won’t say I’m nagging I deal my rhymes out like they’re cards

In this verse I’ll make those ears ring My fountain is running, and every day I excel

95


‫لضل ماشي جالس بينما غيري عم بلك لك‬ ‫شريط مع َلق ريحة العة عم بتفح فح‬ ‫كل ما فتح متو بتالقي عم بكب كب‬ ‫عايشها إرهاب و مفي إال بسب سب‬ ،‫بكبو تيكون بعلمك‬ ُ ‫بزبالتي ما‬ ‫األالف مسم و بحياتو ما بينسم‬ ‫بزقة من هل التم تخلِي سقفك ينش نش‬ ‫تلمو ردم و ما تفكر إنو ترد رد‬ ‫و عم بحكي عالواطي متا الصالي فيك ترج رج‬ ‫بطبعي عاقل بس بالراب بزل زل‬ ‫ بال ما نط وال فز فز‬،‫عل الرايق‬ /type of shit/‫عال بارد أبرد من شباط بس يقز قز‬ ‫تخلِي عضامك ع بعض تسك سك‬ ‫ما إنت َلك؟ النجوم عم تقرب‬ ‫بهل ال مود حكون عطول لبهل جنوم إدءر‬ ‫لو مضطر شن هجوم عل النجوم كلها‬ ‫خللي األرض تدور حول أصبعي تنلك‬ ‫ بنبه و بحقق‬،‫أنا متنبئ‬ ‫ما قلتلك بعد وقتها ما عم نكت؟‬ ‫ في شك؟‬،‫عاملكرفون إبرة هرون عم بشكشك‬ /check one, two/

‫هيك بدسدس عالنبض‬

So I can walk straight when others are still playing A broken record that reeks of a musty smell Every time he opens his mouth he spews them out He lives in terror and all he does is curse I wouldn’t throw him in my garbage, just so you know I’ve irritated thousands and never been irritated in my life One spit out of this mouth will make your roof leak And you’ll pick up the rubble and don’t even think about answering back I’m talking in a low voice so the hall won’t shake with you in it I’m reasonable by nature, but when it comes to rap I humiliate cold-heartedly, Without jumping or leaping around I do it coldly, colder than icy February-type of shit; I’ll make your bones rattle against each other

Didn’t I tell you? The stars are getting closer I’ll stay in this mood until I touch these stars, Even if I have to launch an attack on all the stars I’ll make the Earth rotate around my finger, I told you

I’m a psychic, I predict and deliver. Didn’t I tell you to stand back when I’m not joking? I’m pricking the microphone with a heroin needle. Is there any doubt? Check one, two That’s how I feel the pulse

Fareeq el Atrash 96

97


‫بدقق و زتزت حكي بت'زجزج' كأنها مزهزها عم بتشمشم‬ ‫ تك تيك‬،‫ و مني ملحلح من هون للساعة توقف تك تيك‬،‫عم خطط عم تكتيك‬ ‫ منفخ حاله عامبيكازيب عا غيري بس بوجهي بتاءتإ‬،‫لك ليك‬ ‫ بسبسب‬،‫وجهه بيباءبإ من أد ما بعصب‬ ‫زر إنذار إذني بتطنطن‬ ‫و بشوف من عالباب عم بدقدق‬ ‫عكروت بدو يفوت ليشوف الفن فني‬ ‫بس الفن هون بجسمي معبأ‬ ‫من حلقي طايف و من متي عم بت شرشر‬ ‫و بيس البيس زلزال برجرج خليك تضبضب تنضب بالبيت لتكنكن‬ ‫و أنا متأسف ألني بدي استأذن‬ ‫بس بعد شفت كابتشينو بتصحصح‬ ‫ النجوم عم تقرب‬،‫ما إنت َلك‬ ‫بهل ال مود حكون عطول لبهل جنوم إدءر‬ ‫لو مضطر شن هجوم عل النجوم كلها‬ ‫خللي األرض تدور حول أصبعي تنلك‬ ‫هيدا هب هوب‬ ‫مش هبل و ال بهل‬ ‫هيدا زجل‬ ‫تتغزل في‬ َ ‫ يا بصير متل غير مسيس‬،‫ عليي إتبع و ما إطلع عنو‬،‫ورايي إيقاع‬

Fareeq el Atrash 98

‫زقفوا مع االيقاع‬ ‫زقفوا مع االيقاع‬

Checking and hurling words that tickle as if I was high and sniffing I am planning and scheming and I’m not going anywhere till the clock stops ticking Look, he’s so full of it, lying to others, but in my face he stutters And his face turns red from all the anger, and he curses My ears’ alarm bells start ringing And I go to see who’s knocking at the door, Some bastard who wants to see where “the art” is But the art is right here, packed in my body, Flowing from my throat, running out of my mouth And the bass is an earthquake that shakes and forces you to pack up and go home And I’m sorry because I need to take leave But after a sip of cappuccino you’ll come around

Didn’t I tell you? The stars are getting closer I’ll stay in this mood Until I touch these stars, even if I have to launch an attack on all the stars I’ll make the Earth rotate around my finger, I told you

This is hip hop It’s not stupid nor dumb It’s zajal [a form of Arabic poetry in the Levant] That you flirt with There is a beat that I have to follow, can’t lose it, or I’ll be like other MCs.

Clap with the beat Clap with the beat

Translated by Khaled Al Hilli 99


‫كلمات‬

words

=

>

DA M 100

‫انا ببلعهم بتفهم وال مره بسبهم‬ ‫بخليهم داميا يضاربو بتفكيرهم‬ ‫ محتلهم‬،‫ جنابهم‬،‫ قدامهم‬،‫أنا وراهم‬ ‫ مرات وزنهم بكون منزلهم‬،‫مش طايقهم‬ ‫ صاففهم وبقلم أنا حاكمهم‬،‫مرتبهم‬ ‫ مش عاجبيني؟ أنا ماحيهم‬،‫زاتتهم‬ ‫ وبنفس الوقت أنا عبيدهم‬،‫قائدهم‬ ‫ أنا بلعب مبعانيهم‬،‫وبفك وربط‬ ‫انا حاميهم بأسطر اللي تقويهم‬ ‫انا واعدهم اني أستر على فاضحهم‬ ‫ومطلعهم بصوره اللي تبشعهم‬ ‫ وبسطور ساجنهم‬،‫بس أنا محترمهم‬ ‫مكتفهم كأسير بجنازير القهر‬ ‫ومهديهم بحبل اللي يبشر بالصبر‬ ‫ أكون الشوك اللي فيهم‬،‫وانا لي الفخر‬ ‫وأكون القهر اللي داميا يسقيهم‬

Yo, this is dedicated to the lyrics. I’m swallowing them, spitting them, never dissing them Giving them freedom of speech I’m behind them, in front of them, because of them, always standing with them Sometimes get sick of them, sick of how you abuse them Gather them in line, with my pen I order them Didn’t like it? Throwing them out and replacing them I’m their leader and also their slave Small changes make huge differences I train them in pages to make them strong Promising to use them, not abuse them Or allow the wrong mouths to utter them Approach them with a military mind and find peace in them I’m lucky to be full of thorns, and even luckier that I found the lyrics So they’ll help me find the roses in me

101


»‫«الكل سمعك بس السؤال اذا اللي سمعك فهمك‬ »‫كلمات ليست كالكلمات بل «عالمات‬ ‫اللي توجهنا وين مابدنا عحبال السيرك هي تثبتنا‬ ‫ريح العالم من كل جهه اذا احنا ضعاف بتوقعنا بس‬ »‫«أل بلمره أل» «كلمات عندي طن‬ ‫كل واحده الها هدف اخدت حرف عحرف‬ ‫نسجت جمل اللي البسهم وقت البرد‬ »‫«راح اضلني انادي» «بنحكي كلمات‬

DA M 102

‫شهاد‬ ّ ‫انت بتعرف انهم مبنصب‬ ‫وتنبوا حاضر أي بالد‬ ّ ‫بحكو املاضي‬ ‫ فش كالم يغطي بس‬،‫قد ماحكيت قد ما أحكي‬ ‫في كالم يربي وينمي انت بس أروي‬ ‫ شوف انه قوه والقوه بتقوي‬،‫في‬ ‫فيك و أن رويته مصيره يسقيك‬ ‫(مثل للقوه) العدو من أمامكم‬ ‫والبحر من ورائكم فال تخيبوا أسيادكم‬ ‫فأين أشعاركم وأين مجادلتكم‬ ‫فأنتم تسكتون وتخمدون أحالمكم‬ ‫(انهي) نهيت ورجعت للعامية بكلمات‬ ‫مرمية طالعه من عقليه شعبيه‬ ‫متل جنيب اللي بذاكرة كل واحد محفوظ‬ ‫مدروس واذا أل معناته في خلل معكوس‬ ‫عاملجتمع اللي قمع كتاباته‬ ‫اللي سمح لنسيانه يشيل خطواته‬

“They all hear you but few listen to you” Lyrics ain’t just a bunch of words they are “signs” Leading us, stabilizing us on tight ropes Winds every way, if we are thin we will fall “But hell no” “you can measure my words in tons” Every word has a meaning; I knitted a letter with another letter Made warm sentences to wear in cold days “So I’ll still shout” “we control lyrics” You know, lyrics are like a witness They witnessed the past and forecast the future As much as I said or say, I can’t describe them But there is a way to find the description, and that’s through them Quench the thirst of the pages with them So in the future, it’ll quench your thirst Keep feeding them, as soon as they grow up They’ll give you strength “Example for the strength?” “The enemy is before you, the sea is behind you So don’t you dare disappoint our ancestors Where are our deep poems?! Where are our strong statements?! From generation to generation we kill our dreams” “Enough philosophizing” ok lets get back to street talk Words coming outta simple minds Like Najeeb Mahfuz [literally ‘well-remembered’, also a famous author] They keep living in our minds. And if you don’t know who he is - then I rest my case

103


»‫«الكل سمعك بس السؤال اذا اللي سمعك فهمك‬ »‫كلمات ليست كالكلمات بل «عالمات‬ ‫اللي توجهنا وين مابدنا عحبال السيرك هي تثبتنا‬ ‫ريح العالم من كل جهه اذا احنا ضعاف بتوقعنا بس‬ »‫«أل بلمره أل» «كلمات عندي طن‬ ‫كل واحده الها هدف اخدت حرف عحرف‬ ‫نسجت جمل اللي البسهم وقت البرد‬ »‫«راح اضلني انادي» «بنحكي كلمات‬

DA M 104

‫ أوعك تكسرها‬،‫ألف با كبايه‬ ‫ وكل ما تفضى مليها‬،‫امسكها للنهاية‬ ‫ ومع املراحل زيدها شي‬،‫كلمه أو رواية‬ ‫ وهيك ضلّك زود فيها‬،‫حكاية‬ ‫وجيبها لتجمعاتك وساعتها استعملها‬ ‫لنقاشاتك وملواقفك استخدمها‬ ‫هادي مدافعك اللي مداها بسيطرتك‬ ‫وما دافعك انه ما تخليها رايتك‬ ‫ ما هي توصف‬،‫ما هي تكتب‬ ‫ ما هي تنصف‬،‫ما هي تكذب‬ ‫ هي‬،‫ هي الهروب‬،‫ما هي‬ ‫ هي‬،‫ هي الدروب‬،‫اللجوء‬ ‫العبور باحلدود واللي م��رؤهم مبدع‬ ‫وبفوز باخللود واللي بسرقهم مش مقنع‬ ‫بتديهم احلرية بنادوك ممنوع‬ ّ ‫واذا‬ ‫واذا بتوخد احلريه بنادوك مسموح‬

“They all hear you but few listen to you” Lyrics ain’t just a bunch of words they are “signs” Leading us, stabilizing us on tight ropes Winds every way, if we are thin we will fall “But hell no” “you can measure my words in tons” Every word has a meaning; I knitted a letter with another letter Made warm sentences to wear in cold days “So I’ll still shout” “we control lyrics” The Arabic alphabet is like a glass, don’t break it Hold it tight and keep filling it And then bring it to our arguments Scream till your throat gets dry, and then wet it It holds our body, it’s like our legs If you stand for nothing you’ll fall for anything The words write, create, They kill, lead, and sometimes even lie You can use them to build borders And those who are gifted Can use them to walk through borders And in some governments It’s forbidden to give words freedom But if you choke them and kill them That’s allowed

Figurative translation offered by the artists

105


further reading

The tracks presented in this document are not a comprehensive sampling of the genre, of the market of hip hop in Arabic, or of hip hop and rap in the wider Middle East.

Many tracks of the popular Libyan group Ibn Thabitt and other groups from across the region have been translated and are hosted with commentary on the notable blog:

hosts an internet feed of his radio show and interviews with MCs and influential hip hop figures from around the world: revoltradio.blogspot.com.

Artists featured here hail from Egypt, Lebanon, Palestine and the anglophone Arab diaspora. The thriving North African hip hop scene is not represented, nor is the work of the established francophone Arab diaspora, nor the expanding hip hop scenes of especially Iran or Turkey.

revolutionaryarabrap.blogspot.com.

This collection does not attempt a comprehensive chronology. Tracks featured here are not primarily new releases (though some are); neither are they all “classics.” These limitations of scope are important to note.

jacksonallers.wordpress.com.

106

Another valuable resource is the Beirutbased blog by Jackson Allers, “Beats and Breath” which features articulate critiques and reviews of events and releases from the region :

Hass Dennaoui (alias Big Hass), who recently launched started the first all hip-hop FM radio show in Saudi Arabia, Laish Hip Hop? (Why Hip Hop?) manages a lively blog which

All the artists and many of the translators whose work is showcased here host a significant online presence. Their sites are listed with more about each of them on the following pages.

Lebaneseunderground.com hosts coverage of underground music in Lebanon, including hip hop. And finally, an excellent article by Hishaam Aidi on implications of the use of hip hop as foreign policy , “The Grand (Hip-Hop) Chessboard: Race, Rap, and Raison D’Etat,” was published in The Middle East Report Fall 2011. Excerpts of the piece were published by Al Jazeera English in the article, “Leveraging Hip Hop in US Foreign Policy.”

107


artist bios ARABIAN KNIGHTZ, the premier hip hop group from the land of the Nile River, have not only established themselves as the lyricists with the sharpest swords in their land, but they have also created the most consistent voice for rebellion, strength, and hope for the youth of the Middle East. During the 2011 Revolution, Arabian Knightz released two singles, “Rebel” and “Not Your Prisoner,” anthems of resistance, which gained worldwide attention and major media coverage for their powerful lyrics against a wicked system. The group formed in 2006 through the cipher, hip hop’s natural way of choosing like mindsets on the mic. Rush, Sphinx and E-Money were ahead of their peers, adapting an authentic Arab perspective to the art dominated by Western voices, mixing English and Arabic raps. After hitting the studio for successful underground tracks, AK enlisted super-producer Fredwreck (Snoop Dogg, Xzibit, Tha Dogg Pound). “Fokkak”, the single from this studio session, was an instant hit and (surprisingly for Arabic Hip Hop) projected them to the top ten of the singles charts. Arab League Records was formed amidst a growing fanbase and numerous collaborations with other Arab hip hop artists, the first international Arab hip hop record label. Desert Saga Volume 1 mixtape was the debut release, led by “The One”, featuring Egypt’s MC Amin. Arabian Knightz have recorded their debut album, Uknighted State of Arabia, a masterpiece for Arab hip hop years in the making, featuring instrumentals dominated by traditional percussions and players are scheduled for a Winter 2012 Release. They are on Facebook. BOIKUTT is a musician and MC based in Ramallah, Palestine. Creating sounds using sampled material, field recordings, and electronic devices, the results range between hip-hop, downtempo, ambient, glitch, and experimental. He has composed and produced music for artists such as Kronos Quartet, Bukue One, Spiritchild, Tamer Abu-Ghazaleh, Bleubird and others, and has appeared as an MC on albums for artists such as Slovo, Heliodrome, Bonnot, and Lethal Skillz. A co-founder of the Ramallah Underground Collective which has toured across the Arab World, Europe and Australia, Boikutt is also cofounder and member of audio-visual group Tashweesh, with whom he is currently touring. Also, as a solo performer he has been in Beirut, Cairo, Manila, Copenhagen, London, Hamburg, Dubai, Bethlehem and other cities. He has produced and exhibited a few sound-art pieces, composed several film scores, has most recently composed the music for a dance theater performance entitled Bound by 108

New York-based company Yaa Samar Dance Theatre, and is now working on different collaborative and solo projects. His work may be heard at soundcloud.com/boikutt and on Facebook. DAM, Da Arabian MC’s, are Suhell Nafar, Tamer Nafar, and Mahmoud Jreri. The first Palestinian hip hop crew and among the first to rap in Arabic, the group began working together in the late 1990s. Struck by the uncanny resemblance of the reality of the streets in a Tupac video to the streets in their own neighborhood of Lyd, they were inspired to tell their stories through hip hop. Their timely song “Min Irhabi” (“Who’s the Terrorist?”) was downloaded a million times shortly after its internet realese in 2001 and DAM became a household name among youth throughout the Middle East. Ten years of performing all over the world has strengthened the group’s commitment to continue living and working in their hometown of Lyd, 15 minutes from Tel Aviv and working to provide the youth of the city and neighboring communities with programs and opportunities that have been denied to Palestinian citizens of Israel. Their music is a unique fusion of East and West, and encompasses influences as varied as Ghassan Kanafani, Ahlam Mosteghanemi, Mahmoud Darwish, Naji al Ali, Tupac, Biggie, Public Enemy, MBS, K’naan, and Pharoahe Monch. IHDA (Dedication), DAM’s long-awaited first international album, was released in 2007, and DAM has seen its songs and members featured in films such as Ford Transit (Dir. Hany Abu Assad), Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden? (Dir. Morgan Spurlock), Salt of this Sea (Dir. Annemarie Jacir), Local Angel and Forgiveness (Dir. Udi Aloni). DAM’s history and influence on the Arab hip hop scene is detailed in the feature-length documentary Slingshot Hip Hop (Dir. Jackie Reem Salloum). The group has also been featured in Vibe, National Geographic, Rolling Stone, Q, Basement, Reuters, and The New York Times, and has appeared on MTV, CNN, BBC, and Al Jazeera. Their work can be heard and explored at damrap. com. EL DEEB first ventured into Egyptian Hip Hop when he joined Asfalt in 2005. He left in 2007 to create Wighit Nazara duo represented by Mohamed Yasser and himself. It was a successful musical project that lasted until mid 2010. Currently, he is working on his solo career with plans to release an EP every couple of months or so. Cairofornia is his first solo EP. His work may be heard at deeb.bandcamp.com and on Facebook.

EL RASS was born in Tripoli, Lebanon. He started writing poetry in literary Arabic at age 11 and started rhyming in spoken Lebanese dialect in 1999 at age 15. At that time he formed one third of a group of 3 MC’s going under the name of “Mlouk el Mic” (“Kings of the Mic”). They recorded one album and performed locally. At 17 he left for France to study Finance and Economics. Studies were hard, money was scarce, and exile was tough, but music and poetry never left him as he continued rhyming with some underground French MC’s like Medline and Moebius, and developed new musical skills on percussion, in classical Arabic singing and baglama (turkish buzuk). After graduating and working for almost two years in the hell of banking and market finance, El Rass decided to return to Lebanon. He spent a year just re-discovering Beirut and making and learning music. He now works as a journalist at the newspaper Assafir, while concurrently pursuing joint projects with other producers and musicians. He calls his work Taalik in reference to the same word in Arabic for “comment” and another word that comes from the same semantic root, moaallakat, which is a corpus of selected pre-Islamic poetry that was written with gold ink on the walls of the Ka’aba in Mecca. His work may be heard at soundcloud.com/ElRass. FAREEQ EL ATRASH is a hip hop band based out of Hamra St., Beirut, with a sound that is distinguished by laid back, topical flows over live instrumentation. It consists of Edd (raps), Nasser (raps), FZ (vocal production and FX), Fouad Afra (drums), Goo (plays guitar, keys, heart strings), and Abed Kobeissy (plays bass and buzuk). Their 2010 album and 2009 prealbum are available online. More of their work may be found on Facebook. Edd’s solo work can also be heard at soundcloud.com/Edd. H2Z was born in Kuwait in 1986 where he lived for four years. Due to the gulf war, his family moved to Lebanon where he lived for the most part of his life. Inspired by the tragic events in the Middle East and elsewhere in the world, H2Z adopted rap music as a way to raise awareness about the injustices suffered by his people, and to deliver a message through his music to anyone who supports the Palestinian cause. His career began in 2004 when he was introduced to the production business by fellow rappers and soon he started producing his own tracks and established a local band, producing many tracks for himself and other musicians in Lebanon. In 2008, he released his first solo album titled 3aed which contained

17 tracks. The political influence was noticed throughout the album and was generally well-received. He is now studying for a degree in business administration at Wayne State University in Michigan. His work may be heard at reverbnation.com/h2z. KATIBEH 5 are based in Borj el Barajneh, Lebanon. Their work can be found at reverbnation.com/katibeh5 and myspace.com/katibe5palestine and on Facebook. M1 is Mutulu Olugbala, of the New York based collective Dead Prez, whose work is online at deadprez.com. M1 is also on Facebook. MC GAZA is Adnan Mahmoud Ghonim, an Algerian born artist and university student based in Gaza. It was the beginning of 2005 when he attended one of the hip hop concerts in Gaza City – Gaza City that never appreciated the art he loved and attached himself to – and it was love at first sight between them. Through some of the concerts he participated in, a number of songs he collaborated on with Arabs from Egypt, Algeria and Palestine, and some active participation to represent the Palestinian people and interviews for both Arab and foreign press, he was able to make a name for himself in the Gazan hip hop community. His work may be found at youtube.com/MCGaza and on Facebook. THE NARCICYST Having pioneered the Arab Hip-Hop movement with seminal Iraqi-Canadian crew Euphrates, The Narcicyst recently broke through borders and shattered traveling etiquette touring solo around the world sharing stages with the likes of Brother Ali, Mos Def and Kanye West to name a few. On top of music, The Narcicyst is a celebrated theorist, whose academic work Fear of an Arab Planet has him from the stage to the classrooms of internationally renowned universities. He is now also a professor at Concordia University teaching a Fine Arts course “Hip-Hop: Past, Present and Future.” His writings have been published by multiple university presses and magazines internationally; he is also a self-published author, having recently released the biographical and social-study on the Arab world, The Diatribes of a Dying Tribe. As a true artist interested in really pushing his own artistic boundaries, The Narcicyst has stepped into acting, currently starring in the short music film PHATWA and in the first internationally-released film from the United Arab Emirates called City of Life. A true multi-media 109


dreamer, Yassin recently established an arts label in the UAE called The Medium, focusing on delivering art from Arabs in the diaspora and at ‘home’, to the rest of the world. iraqisthebomb.com. He tweets from @TheNarcicyst. OMAR OFFENDUM is a Syrian-American hip hop artist born in Saudi Arabia, raised in Washington DC, and living in Los Angeles. Known for taking audiences on a lyrical journey from the jasmine-tree-lined courtyards of Nizar Qabbani’s Damascene homes to the flooded riverbanks of Langston Hughes’ Harlem Renaissance poems Offendum has been featured on several major news outlets (BBC / Yahoo / ABC News / Aljazeera / PBS), toured the world to promote his ground-breaking music, helped raise thousands of dollars for various humanitarian relief organizations (PCRF / KinderUSA / ANERA / Islamic Relief), lectured at a number of prestigious academic institutions (Harvard / MIT / Stanford / Columbia / American University of Beirut / NYU-AbuDhabi / Qatar Education City), and most recently been involved in creating several criticallyacclaimed songs about the popular democratic uprisings throughout the Middle East & North Africa. He is currently hard at work promoting his solo release - affectionately dubbed SyrianamericanA. His work may be heard (and read) at offendum.bandcamp.com. He is on Facebook and he tweets from @Offendum. RAMALLAH UNDERGROUND, based in Ramallah, Palestine, was born from the immediacy of musical experimentation and out of the need to give voice to a generation of Palestinians and Arabs facing a turbulent and uncertain political landscape. The collective was founded by artists Boikutt, Stormtrap, and Aswatt and has always held a commitment to both the honesty of their work and the need to creatively rejuvenate Arabic culture. To this end, they combine music ranging from Arabic electronic music , hip-hop, and trip hop, to downtempo with a deep sense of their local culture and the imposing presence of Palestine in their lives. The outcome is a new, specific, and distinct sound. RU (as producers and as MC’s ) has collaborated with numerous artists across the globe, including countries like Lebanon, UK, Switzerland, Italy, USA, France and many more, including a collaboration with Slovo (a band headed by the guitarist from faithless) in their track “Nakba,” which appears on their album Todo Cambia and with Kronos Quartet in the track “Tashweesh” which appears on Floodplain. RU has also performed live shows in Ramallah, Bethlehem, Vienna, London, Cairo, Lausanne, Amsterdam and Washington DC. Their shows are mainly a performance of their hip-hop tracks, as well as a few of their own electronic productions as a warm up. More recently RU has incorporated a visual set in their live 110

performances brought to you by Palestinian visual artist Ruanne. RU hopes to give a voice to Palestinians and Arabs, bringing an alternative voice from the Arab world.  Their lyrics and music are an expression of anguish and defiance, ultimately remaining a defiant voice of the colonized against the colonizer. They continue to play a big role in the Arab underground cultural scene while slowly gaining wide global and local popularity.  SHADIA MANSOUR’s work can be found at myspace. com/shadiamusic and on Facebook. STORMTRAP is a music producer/composer/MC from Palestine. Experimenting with old samples, instruments, and field recordings, his sound is the result of a fusion of ambient atmospheres combined with various noises and hip hop beats. His lyrics deal with different themes inspired mainly by his personal experiences in Palestine and life in the diaspora. Stormtrap played a fundamental role in forming the band Ramallah Underground, with which he has performed worldwide the past few years. Currently he is working in Vienna with Aras Seyhan and Eren Ileri on a new album which combines live instruments, synthesizers, turntables, beats, and Arabic lyrics- which will be released early 2012. His work may be heard at soundcloud.com/ stormtrap. He tweets from @asifeh. AMEER YOSSEF, 25, has sung and writen music with the band, Klaket for the past four years. His work may be heard at youtube.com/Ameer and on Facebook.

translator bios KHALED AL HILLI is a PhD candidate in Comparative Literature at the Graduate Center, City University of New York. He has a BA in English Literature and a Master’s degree in Teaching Second Languages. Born in Iraq, Khaled has taught in Lebanon and Saudi Arabia at both college and high school levels. He has also worked with various Iraqi news outlets and has subtitled/translated documentary films dealing with current social and political issues. His research interests include Arabic political literature, prison literature and literature in the diaspora. He may be reached at hillykhalid@gmail.com. +AZIZ is a NYC-based marketing consultant and a musician. He is working through The World Music Parade to develop an animation project based on his music. More about that project can be found at themusicparade.tumblr. com. He tweets from @plusaziz. FAYSAL BIBI is a paleontologist and electronic musician currently based in Berlin. LOUBNA BILALI is originally from Morocco. She did her undergrad and first MA in English Linguistics at Chouaib Doukkali University, El Jadida. She came to the US in 2008 to pursue a Master’s degree in French to English translation and is currently working on a PhD in translation studies at Kent State University in Ohio. She is very interested in learning and teaching languages as well as translating and localizing computer applications and websites. She may be reached at loubnabilali@gmail.com. FARAH ELREWAISSATI is a freelance translator, proPalestine activist, and BDS advocate who blogs at youthanormalization.blogspot.com. She tweets from @3beee. NIZAR GHANEM was born in Lebanon. He has been active in intercultural education, interactive learning and conflict resolution across the Arab world. His work on conflict resolution involved using theater, comics and music as tools for emotional expression and social mobilization. RIMA NAJDI is a Performing Artist. She studied dramatic arts at the Lebanese University in Beirut, and obtained a Master’s degree in Performance Studies at NYU, New York. She has written and performed in various plays and performances. Najdi is particularly interested in multimedia, performing arts, and the position of the spectators

towards the work. Her work for now concentrates on the process of making interactive and participatory performances that question borders, stereotypes, and languages. MOE ALI NAYEL is a fixer and a journalist based in Beirut Lebanon. He uses social media, blogging, non-mainstream music, journalism, and writing as a word spreading, eye opening, socializing arena. He uses social media as a bridge that cuts distance between people on this planet, making it a tiny village. This bridge starts in his office and takes him to every corner in the world enabling him to connect and network with people and cultures, sharing and exchanging stories of the unheard and the neglected. He blogs at Words of Action and he tweets from @MoeAliNay. ALEX ORTIZ is a video and radio journalist and translator based in Cairo, Egypt. He graduated from Brown University in 2009 with a double major in Comparative Literature and Middle East Studies. He was a CASA I fellow from 20092010 and a CASA II fellow from 2010-2011. He currently works for CBS News as a field producer. He tweets from @cairowitness. AHMED SHAWKET is an independent translator living in Cairo, Egypt. He is a graduate of the Helwan University Faculty of Arts where he majored in philosophy. Ahmed works on literary, media, and commercial translation.

BARRAK ALZAID (copy editor) is the Artistic Director of ArteEast. He is the editor of the ArteEast Quarterly, a dynamic online portal featuring four publications that highlight contemporary art and culture from the Middle East and diaspora – Arte’Zine, Shahadat (contemporary short-form literature), Gallery, and Cinematek (an online film center). He is also the curator for ArteEast’s Across Histories Art Talk Series, featuring a series of panels on residencies in Fall 2011. He tweets from @barrakster. RAYYA EL ZEIN (editor) is working towards a PhD in Theatre at the Graduate Center, City University of New York. Her research is increasingly focusing on theories of reception, historical studies of audience behavior, and popular culture in the Arab world. She holds an MA in Performance Studies from NYU and is currently a teaching fellow at City College in Harlem. She tweets from @rayelz. 111


ABOUT SHAHADAT Shahadat is a quarterly online series designed to provide a platform for short-form writing and experimentation in writing by young and underexposed writers from the MENA region (Middle East and North Africa). The series features stories, vignettes, reflections, and chronicles in translation and the original language of Arabic, Farsi, Turkish, or Kurdish. It makes up one quarter of ArteEast’s online programming, the AE Quarterly. For past issues of Shahadat click here.

BEHIND THE DOCUMENT Shahadat is co-edited by Rayya El Zein, Alex Ortiz, and ArteEast’s Artistic Director Barrak Alzaid. All three are young professionals and scholars with artistic inclinations (literature, poetry, translation, and performance). All three have strong connections to New York City and various metropole of the MENA region. Shahadat is for us an experiment and a labor of love. An editorial board of established scholars and authors is currently being conceived.

ABOUT THIS SERIES Shahadat is proud to run two alternating series, and releases two issues a year of each. The issue you’ve just perused is part of the “Exploring Popular Literature” series. This series challenges traditional understandings of “literature” emerging from the Middle East and North Africa by presenting genres of creative production that rely on words and language but which have not typically been studied as literature. Works are presented in their original language and in translation.

SPECIAL THANKS TO Anmar El Zein Kinda Akash Andrew Johnston Livia Alexander

In each issue, we gather texts from a spectrum of writers to challenge the singular status of the artist/author and to encourage a more complex presentation of the Middle Eastern and North African “street” for English-speaking audiences. Shahadat’s other series “Contemporary Literature in Translation” features the work of a single young author in the original language and in English translation.

Shahadat logo design by Rima Farouki 112

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Shahadat Winter 2012