Start to Listen podcast by the youth group of Kayan Feminist Organization
Episode Two, “Safaa”
Welcome to our listeners in the second episode of the youth project podcast series,
“Start to Listen – The Youth Challenge.” Behind the microphone, you have Fatima,
Afnan, and Asil from Kayan – Feminist Organization
Today… we breath Acre. Acre, its sea, and its neighborhoods are strongly present with
us! How can they not be! Also, a daughter of Acre is our special guest for today’s
episode, rapper Safaa Hathot. Welcome Safaa.
We viewed Safaa in the beginning of her journey as a rare case, an Arab woman who
broke many gender barriers and who pursued a professional career in rap music. She
has presented a new and different kind of art that strongly reflects our voice.
Rap and hip-hop music were created in 1970, New York, specifically in the Bronx. It
was a reaction and a means of self-expression against societal problems such as
poverty, unemployment, racism, and injustice that Black people experienced.
Nowadays, it has transformed into popular culture and art used by all oppressed
people as a weapon of resistance.
In short, we can define rap as fast music, whose performers repeat (and not sing) quick
rhythmic lyrics made up of a large number of rhymes – which in turn touch on a
number of topics and social or personal issues in order to convey a message.
And when we talk about resistance, we must mention Acre – Acre, the city that even
Napoleon mentioned: “My dreams crashed on your walls, Acre, there is no meeting
Acre is known for its steadfastness today in the face of much harassment and
attempted distortion and demolition of identity. Our guest today, Safaa Hathot, has
conveyed to us the suffering of Acre and its people through her art and sharp words,
in addition to tackling many societal and political issues in our Palestinian society
through her music.
Question 1 – Afnan. The song : “I am an Arab, You Moron”
“I am an Arab, you Moron” was the clear and frank response, that the martyr artist
Naji al-Ali chose through the character “Hanthala” when asked by a person: “Are you
a Muslim or a Christian… Sunni or Shiite… Druze or Alawite… Coptic or Maronite…
Roman or Catholic…?”
Our guest Safaa Hathot brought back history by reviving this phrase through her song
“I am an Arab, You Moron,” in response to the voices calling for the recruitment of our
people from the Christian community to the Israeli army years ago. Safaa told us more
about this work and its symbolism… and about the reactions she received.
What about nowadays… Do we still need to reply: “I am an Arab, you Moron”?
Q2 – Aseel: The Song “Freedom is Female” – Addressing Feminist Issues through Art
The theme of patriotism is present in Safaa’s songs, our particularly important societal
issues were present, but how can we be free when half of us are still oppressed?
“Freedom is female … And there is no freedom without women!” is not just a phrase,
but a beautiful song that was one of the first songs that Safaa participated in, with the
Arab rap band “Dam,” in which she talked about our fight as Palestinian women who
endure violence, sexual harassments and many more attacks by our misogynistic
society, simultaneously fighting the occupier of the land and defending our political
causes because we stand with what is right and with our own right to our homeland.
The song “Freedom is Female” was also a revolutionary slogan that we chanted, and
we still repeat it today when we hear a voice that tries to silence us and witness actions
that try to suppress us. Our words are raised against everyone who tries to extinguish
our torch. And you, Safaa, are a person that contributed to the lighting of this flame
in our hearts. Tell us more about your employment of rap and music to fight
persecution against us and to raise our voices loudly.
Q3 – Fatima: Breaking gender patterns
The narrow box that we are placed in as women and the many templates that
determine how women are “supposed” to behave all manifest in difficult expectations
that are hard to deal with. It starts with the tone of our voice, our future careers, how
our bodies should look like… and a lot more.
With all these expectations and limitations, we have an incomprehensible feeling of
guilt, as if we are not enough according to the standards of our society, and all of this
guilt is a result of us only trying to be who we really are!
Our journey is often a journey of a small seed that sprouts through the hard rock to
see the light! Out of every three women who are harassed or involved in an attempted
murder, or who are the victims of violence, there is only about one survivor. We as
women have to face at least one form of discrimination. Your journey, Safaa, has
captured these patterns, your resistance to these stereotypes and limitations, and
your voice when you sang “Why are you harassing her?!!” expressed all of our feelings
of unsafety and lack of security.
From what molds was Safaa trying to survive through rap music? And what challenges
did you face on your way?
Conclusion and summary (Fatima):
Safaa, in conclusion, we thank you for coming and being with us today, we will
continue to follow you and to listen to all your music. We would like to conclude with
your message to our listeners, to girls and women and to the young generation, both
those who are aware of the work here at Kayan and those who are less aware.