Existence Is Resistance, “an internationalist organization determined to promote non-violent resistance through cultural arts,” is about to release a film about their work bringing hip-hop artists from around the world to occupied Palestine: Hip Hop Is Bigger than the Occupation. See the trailer above. From the press release:
Existence is Resistance & Nana Dankwa present: Hip Hop Is Bigger Than The Occupation, a documentary about a ten day journey of artists traveling through Palestine, teaching and performing Non Violent Resistance through the arts.
The tour included M1 of Dead Prez, Shadia Mansour, Marcel Cartier, Mazzi of Soul Purpose, DJ Vega Benetton, Lowkey, Jody McIntyre and Trinidad, Brandon and Lavie from the South West Youth Collaborative/University of Hip Hop Chicago.
Staying in the heart of Balata Refugee Camp @ the Yafa Cultural Center in Nablus the group witnesses night raids, toured places like Hebron where there are roads for the Arabs and roads for the Jews, they meet families of shaheeds as well as young Palestinians who have been jailed, shot, humiliated, the group visits Bi’lin where they get shot at and tear gassed and experience first hand what it felt like living under occupation.
If you’d like to see more of the film, and you’re around New York, there’s going to be a world premiere screening at the excellent Galapagos Art Space in DUMBO, Brooklyn, on Monday, May 30th at 6:30 pm. Details here. I’m sure that for those not in New York other opportunities will arise.
To get a sense for the kind of messages they’re putting out there, take a look at this video by LowKey, an English-Iraqi rapper and activist who appears in the film. The second verse makes a clear pitch for the BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) movement, to the point of listing particular companies whose products should be avoided.
Recent criticisms calling the founder of nonviolent theory a Cold Warrior are way off the mark. To rightly evaluate him, we need to understand the role he chose for himself.
A six-week strike by teachers has bolstered a movement against proposed austerity measures targeting Lebanon’s dangerously underfunded education system.
Drama helps movements draw attention to their issues, but it won’t come without creativity and direct action tactics that reach beyond the choir.