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May 22, 2010

Dam rap

opiegonebad — Palestinian rap group DAM (Da Arab MC’s, or “forever” in Arabic) created this music video about the life of Palestinians in Israel. They’re from Lod, a town between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, so they’re Palestinians with Israeli citizenship (often called “Israeli Arabs”). They usually rap in Arabic, but they made a Hebrew version of this song with a music video to get their message out to the majority of Israelis who don’t speak Arabic.

You find out more about them at .

I’ve always wanted a subtitled version, so I broke down and adapted the lyrics from their website, to create this. I think this is one of the most powerful rap songs out there.

See to see my extended comments on the video and its chorus.

By the way, a lot of people are confused about what DAM stands for, but it really is “forever” or “eternity”. See the interview at… where you’ll find this:

TAMER NAFAR: Ill just correct you. Actually, dam is eternity in Arabic and blood in Hebrew. So its eternal blood, like we will stay here forever.

2 videos : Mourid Barghouti Reading (English and Arabic)

Mourid Barghouti reads his poems at The Prague Writers’ Festival 2009

His official website

Jabra Ibrahim Jabra’s house destroyed

The Baghdad home of great Palestinian writer Jabra Ibrahim Jabra—who settled in Iraq following the nakba—was destroyed by a car bomb last month.

Jabra’s widow and son were both killed; countless papers, books, and paintings from the Iraqi and greater Arab art world were also ruined or destroyed. The NYTimes article about the event and its aftermath, which ran yesterday, is at times depressingly, at times irritatingly sweeping. The article is suffused with lyrical nostalgia: Jabra’s legacy of beauty and art has been destroyed. An era (in Iraq, or in the Arab world) is over.

Roger Allen, the translator of Jabra’s brilliant and celebrated In Search of Walid Masoud sounded the death knell for (Arabic?) literature:

“We’re in an era when cultures habitually and even deliberately misunderstand each other,” Mr. Allen said.

Someone like Mr. Jabra, he said, echoing others, “may not be possible anymore.”

But professor and translator Issa Boullata, a friend of Jabra’s, refused to go along with the sweep of the NYTimes story:

…he disagreed with the notion that the house was the atlal, the ruins, of a bygone era. “Too pessimistic,” he said, adding that Mr. Jabra was never pessimistic.

Remember Jabra Ibrahim Jabra:

* Read a piece by him that ran in Al Ahram in 2003, a year before his death: Mystery in Mesopotamia:

Mystery in Mesopotamia
By Jabra Ibrahim Jabra

Jabra Ibrahim Jabra Following the occupation of Palestine in 1948, Palestinian writer Jabra Ibrahim Jabra (1920-1994), sought work in Baghdad, a city he fell in love with, one of whose natives he married, and which was to become the backdrop for most of his novels. The extract below deals with his early years in the city and his introduction to its then bustling social and cultural life. It is taken from his autobiography Shari’ Al-Amirat (Princesses’ Street), Amman and Beirut, 1994.

ROBERT HAMILTON was an archaeologist, and for several years the director of the Rockefeller Museum of Palestinian Monuments in Jerusalem, where we often met, sharing a passion for Palestinian monuments and ancient history. We also shared a love of music and art, especially sculpture, or of what was available of that in the Jerusalem Museum that lay outside the gates close to Bab Al-Sahera and in the neighbourhood of the Rashidiya College, at which I was a professor for four years until coming to Baghdad. It seems that at the beginning of 1948 he left Jerusalem and joined the British archaeology mission in Baghdad, an institution dating back to the beginning of the 1920s.

[…] read on

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