Thursday, December 19, 2013

Mohammed Assaf, Arab Idol, and Overcoming Injustice

Today's NEW YORK TIMES, infamous for its anti-Palestinian biases, today ran a story in the Arts section about Mohammed Assaf, a 24-year-old Gaza resident who has gone on from winning ARAB IDOL to become a sort of good-will ambassador for the Palestinian cause.

One of the major turning points in the success of the Civil Rights struggle in America came through music, when Martin Luther King Jr. adopted WE SHALL OVERCOME, originally heard at a Pete Seeger concert, as an anthem.  Though it is painful to admit, the adoption the Civil Rights cause by musicians, such as Bob Dylan and Joan Baez, broke the color lines in way the Communist Party USA or the NAACP rarely could.  The ontology of music's revolutionary value is most exemplified by this, and it is worth further contemplation.  The furthermore interesting intersection with Israeli musical comedies and how those musicals have stream-lined Israeli cultural norms, including biases opposing the Palestinians, provokes conversation.

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