A Message to Hip Hop: We Need to Do More than Just Wear Green
Heres a message to the Iranian Youth Hip Hop is with you. We understand that what is going on in Iran is not about what America wants. We understand that this is not about the dictates of those who have a particular foreign policy agenda to push that at the end of the day may be calling for Iran to be destabilized.
Hip Hop is with you above and beyond a rap song, a dope video or meaningless swagger. Hip Hop is with you beyond a slogan or a shout out. Hip Hop is with you beyond the ignorance of some of our artists who wanna brag about having Arab Money. Hip Hop is with you by honoring the 5th Element-Knowledge. Hip Hop is with you in solidarity and hoping to uplift our collective humanity.
We understand that what were seeing in Iran is a student movement, a womens movement and other reform movements that have been simmering in Iran for some time. We can trace some of this back to 1999 when we here in the US were watching our own Presidential elections between George Bush and Al Gore which was tossed into dissarray while students in Tehran University were out in the streets of Iran getting killed and student organizers were being snatched off the streets never to be seen again. A few years ago I met students who had been jailed and beaten up by the Iranian government for protesting. They had a lot of heart. They were at a conference on censorship in Beirut in spite of knowing that their speaking out could get them serious trouble again.
What were seeing our people who feel that there should be more personal freedoms, where women dont have to cover up, be searched and beaten on the streets. What were seeing are folks who want to have more then just state run press. Part of the fights that students were dealing with in 99 was the shutting down of a newspaper. Most of us dont even blink an eye when our own newspapers and radio stations are hijacked. What were seeing dont want to adhere to long standing traditions and theyre challenging long standing traditions which has been inspired by the Western education and understanding that many have received outside the country and from understanding the world is much smaller place.
Before CNN started talking about Iran, many of us ignored or didn't even know about the student & woman's movements in Iran. We spent more time focused on the drama between 50 Cent & Rick Ross.From this day forward we've got to do better...
Sadly most of us never pay attention to foreign affairs unless it shows up on CNN. Hence when there were no lights cameras and action and Iranians were demanding certain changes most of us were concerning ourselves with 50 Cent vs. Rick Ross. Most of us were talking about Chris Brown vs. Rihanna. Do folks know any of the movement leaders? Do we know the name of any of the student organizations? Do any of know about the jail time that many have endured to speak out? Is this really about them backing the opposition candidate Mir Hussein Moussavi or is about stepping to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei? How many of us know the role the president plays in relationship between the Supreme leader?
Lets use this opportunity to embrace Hip Hops 5th element and do the knowledge. Part of that knowledge means for us to start listening closely and resist framing the story so it fits our own limited parameters. When we say things like most of the people marching are middle-class what exactly does that mean? Is it the same thing as middle class here in the US? Are the people marching Muslim or Christian? Are they westernized or traditional? Is Iran a modernized country or does it fall into a stereotype where its underdeveloped with folks riding camels through a desert? Folks better think again and note that in many regards we here in the US may actually be behind.
I said this in my last essay-Are the Protests in Iran Real or a CIA backed Exercise? this is much bigger than the two leaders. They happen to be stepping stones and stops along the way to something much larger and much more deeply felt. How about this folks if were gonna wear Green in solidarity with the Iranian people and their struggle, how about stepping our personal game up? If were gonna wear Green and say we want change how about committing ourselves to stay up on foreign news long after CNN stops covering this? How about making Iran, Darfur, Congo and Haiti which just experienced a horrific blood bath two days ago between funeral marchers and UN Peacekeepers, be a topics we tweet about and comment on via Facebook? Can we make a promise amongst ourselves to educate ourselves each day on a variety of foreign issues?
If we cant do this at the very least take down our Green avatars and stop bullshitting ourselves and disrespecting the people who are out on those streets not just in Iran but all over the world really risking getting their heads cracked. Theres no excuse for Iranian people to know more about President Obamas policies then we do and they live in Iran. If were gonna wear Green, lets not do this part time. Lets not be casual trendy observers. This struggle in Iran is not going to be over and neatly wrap up at a particular time and date like a television show. Its gonna be on going.
If we're gonna wear Green to show solidarity, how about taking it a step further & educating ourselves on US Foreign policy-For example, what's the real motivation behind Senator John McCain and the GOP in condemning Iranian leaders? Is it really to support the student & women's movement or to merely use them?
If we want change in Iran let that change be right here at home. If we want to wear Green lets take a closer look at the rhetoric being pushed by our Republican minority in the Senate and in Congress. President Obama is taking a measured tone saying lets not become the topic at hand be seen as meddlers while Senator John McCain and others are basically saying Fuck that.. We gonna jump right on in there and start smashing because they have an agenda that theyre trying to push that has very little to do with the student movements. The GOP will use those movements and temporary align themselves, but its not about making sure students a free from any oppression. Are they helping, hurting or leading us in another direction?It's
cool to wear Green in solidarity but ideally we should show solidarity by being as bold as those students on the streets by fearlessly challenging and asking our own government some hard questions
especially around the issue of foreign policy
If were wearing Green, we need to be asking ourselves whats up with our own government and its foreign policy-not just in Iran but throughout the entire Middle East. Maybe if more of us wearing Green committed ourselves to do the knowledge, Iran wouldnt be in this predicament because we would be electing leaders who have a deeper, more holistic approach toward the Middle East -starting with us not green lighting everything Israel does. Yes, folks at the end of the day lets deal with the 800 pound gorilla in the room much of what we are seeing is connected to US/ Israeli foreign policy
Thats a few things to ponder
PS..As Im writing this Im watching TV and noting that the big networks are claiming they cant cover the events in Tehran because of a news media blackout imposed by the Iranian government Its kind of funny hearing this, because we seem to always have our own media blackout here in the US. Of course those blackouts are imposed by the news directors and owners of these big networks-but lets not digress. My question is what happened to all those expensive spy satellites that are supposed to be able to see the head of pin from thousands of miles away? Whats up with Google Earth? Theres no excuse for us not to be able to see whats going on? Why arent we using all this technology we brag about having?
Below is a video that my homie Paradise of X-Clan tunred me onto its by Weapons X