DAM in Sheikh Jarrah: Protest re-Imagined
Nevertheless, hundreds continue to gather each Saturday in Sheikh Jarrah, among them foreign activists and Arab-Israeli lawmakers. Social media platforms, such as
The day before, the Palestinian rap superstars,
Their underlying message was the same as that of the protesters, though the words they used go beyond a simple chant to the complex rhyme scheme of their 2001 anthem,
Who’s a terrorist?
I’m a terrorist?!
How am I a terrorist when you’ve taken my land?
Who’s a terrorist?
You’re the terrorist!
You’ve taken everything I own while I’m living in my homeland
You’re killing us like you’ve killed our ancestors
You want me to go to the law?
You’re the Witness, the Lawyer, and the Judge!
If you are my Judge
I’ll be sentenced to death
You want us to be the minority?
To end up the majority in the cemetery?
In your dreams!
The question this raises for me is one of the effectiveness of public assembly and how, in the
In comparing these two events in Sheikh Jarrah, neither of which received much attention in the press nor any official response from the Israeli government, how do we then measure their relative effectiveness? I would argue that the events were most effective in tandem , expanding a traditional protest event into a multi-dimensional, cultural happening and linking cultural expression to an ongoing political struggle. With the dissemination of photos and videos via social media and crowd-sourcing platforms, both events succeeded at reaching local and international audiences in a way that they never would have been able to achieve through traditional news coverage. Furthermore, the coupling of diverse events around a single cause augments the dimensions of the overall campaign by offering multiple points of engagement for activists, supporters, and observers. In the case of Sheikh Jarrah, Hip Hop has added that dimension of cultural engagement and, in so doing, expanded the local base of support and the global impact of the movement. Whether this model of public protest will eventually eliminate the need for traditional physical confrontation is almost irrelevant. What is important here is that the legacy of young people rallying around political art is alive and well in the Imagination Age.
For those who are more interested in the pure rhythm of protest, here’s a clip from an impromptu drum circle that took place a month after the DAM concert at Sheikh Jarrah.