Tuesday, September 30, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Hip hop, graffiti in Lebanon tag a nation’s woes

Mideast Lebanon Hip Hop Dissent

In this Monday, July 7, 2014, photo, Filipino Syrian rapper Nasser Shorbaji, 29, center, and Lebanese Marwan Alameh, 32, second right, laugh during a live broadcast of their show 'Bar Fight' at Radio Beirut, in Lebanon. The duo are among a host of Lebanese graffiti artists and rappers trying to re-engage disaffected youth in a debate about the country’s latest wave of political turmoil and the woes of the greater Middle East. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)

By
From page A5 | August 18, 2014 |

BEIRUT — In a red-lit bar in Beirut, Nasser Shorbaji and Marwan Alameh try not to knock the microphones over while laughing during the broadcast of their weekly radio show.

Moments later, they turn more somber as they introduce a segment on Palestinian hip hop, discussing the most recent outbreak of war on Gaza. Heads nod in the packed bar to the rhymes of Sati, a Palestinian rapper.

The duo are among a host of Lebanese graffiti artists and rappers trying to re-engage disaffected youth in a debate about the country’s latest wave of political turmoil and the woes of the greater Middle East.

“People don’t want to be preached to. So we’re just doing a fun thing in order to put out serious issues,” Alameh said.

One example is Shorbaji’s latest music video to his song “O.P.P,” which takes its title from the 1991 hit by U.S. hip hop group Naughty By Nature. Shorbaji’s version focuses on a suicide bomber working as a bank clerk who thinks through whether or not to carry out an attack on his workplace.

Another is rapper and graffiti artist Omar Kabbani, 31, who runs Ashekman, a rap, graffiti and urban clothing outfit with his brother Mohamed.

“We consider ourselves to be the eight o’clock news when we go out to do graffiti,” Kabbani said. “They say I was born with a microphone and my twin brother with a spray can.”

While Kabbani is wary of calling Ashekman’s work political, the group’s music and street art does not avoid Lebanese society’s many conflicts. Ashekman’s “Grendizer,” a giant war robot from anime cartoons the group uses in its designs, is often used by Ashekman to mock what they see as mindless obedience to religious and political factions – and their militias – in Lebanon’s polarized political landscape.

“Many people that were warlords in Lebanon are now ruling the country,” he says, referring to leaders in Lebanon’s 15-year civil war, which ended in 1990, who have gone on to prominent political careers.

In its song “Deyman Ijebeh,” Arabic for “Always Positive,” Ashekman makes fun of what they see as attempts by Lebanese to appear unperturbed by their country’s instability.

“They (leaders) are fighting over who will rule the Banana Republic,” Ashekman raps.

Ashekman’s latest graffiti mural appeared in response to the recent spate of suicide bombings that shook Lebanon. The mural features the popular 1980s video game character Bomberman running with a cartoon-like bomb, fuse lit, in his hands. The character skips past the word “Wanted,” written in Arabic. Kabbani says it is a reference to what Ashekman feels is Lebanese politicians’ manipulation of the threat of terrorism for greater personal power and to cow their rivals.

Jackson Allers, an American Beirut-based journalist who specializes in Arab hip hop, said artists in the country are just beginning to discover how much power they have.

“Their influence is increasing,” he said. “They’ve turned the critical gaze of youth inward, at their own peer group, which I would say is positive.”

Ali Rafei, 28, a graffiti and street artist from Tripoli, Lebanon’s second-largest city and center of Sunni conservative culture, said his home city has largely been left to fend for itself. Since the outbreak of a civil war in neighboring Syria, Tripoli has seen fighting between Sunni militants and supporters of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Rafei said urban decay in his city has provided ample space for his street paintings to be seen and appreciated.

“The emptiness that’s there pushes you to create and change visual scenery, hoping to change (locals’) views and relax the tension there,” he said. People “would prefer a drawing with colors and some meaning to them than a gray wall with pictures of politicians that do nothing for them.”

 

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Solano focuses on rail safety

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A3

 
Police search for missing man

By Glen Faison | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
 
Measure A committee plans weekend precinct walk

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A5

Voters who have moved urged to check registration

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A6

 
Caltrans cancels nighttime Highway 37 closures

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A5

 
Fairfield police log: Sept. 27, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A12, 1 Comment

Suisun City police log: Sept. 28, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A12

 
Suisun City police log: Sept. 27, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A12

Fairfield police log: Sept. 28, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A12, 1 Comment

 
.

US / World

5 more bodies found at Japan volcano; toll now 36

By The Associated Press | From Page: , 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Group: Wildlife populations down drastically

By The Associated Press | From Page: , 1 Comment

45 dogs dead, 48 alive after North Las Vegas fire

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Police link 2nd case to missing Va. student arrest

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Netanyahu: Hamas, Islamic State group share creed

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
Cancer doctor given 10 years for poisoning lover

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

Afghan president sworn in, paving way for US pact

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Police ease tactics in Hong Kong protest standoff

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Study: Recessions can postpone motherhood forever

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
White House intruder got far past front door

By The Associated Press | From Page: , 1 Comment

Obama efforts to oust Assad pushed to back burner

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Islamic State closes in on Kurdish area of Syria

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Sacramento police seek suspect in dog’s drowning

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Shooing birds from Bay Bridge could cost millions

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Governor signs bills to help those in foster care

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Mountain View police ID gas victims as father, son

By The Associated Press | From Page:

.

Opinion

Editorial cartoons for Sept. 30, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page:

 
 
.

Living

Today in History: Sept. 30, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
I’m unhappy with Phil and playing ‘happy family.’ What should I do?

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page:

Community Calendar: Sept. 30, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page:

 
Horoscopes: Sept. 30, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B7

.

Entertainment

Amanda Bynes arrested for DUI in Los Angeles

By The Associated Press | From Page: , 2 Comments | Gallery

 
They did. They do. Clooney/Alamuddin wedding No. 2

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

Football commands highest TV ad prices

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
TVGrid Sept 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B8

 
.

Sports

Developer asks for more time for LA football plan

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Monday’s sports transactions

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Raiders fire coach Dennis Allen

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Prep boys soccer: VCS still looking for 1st win of season

By Daily Republic staff | From Page:

 
Charles sends Chiefs to 41-14 rout of Patriots

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Clippers return focus to team post-Sterling

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Giants have ample experience facing elimination

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Dover installs catch fence for 2015 NASCAR season

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Warriors happy to have core back, build on success

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

All-women sports show debuts with perfect timing

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Autopsy shows Chiefs LB Belcher had CTE damage

By The Associated Press | From Page:

AJ Hinch hired to manage Astros

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
Phil Mickelson saves best shot for his captain

By The Associated Press | From Page:

MLB batting average lowest since 1972 – before DH

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Wild, wild SEC West set for historic day

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Kershaw 1st to lead majors in ERA 4 straight years

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
AP source: 7 umpires rotate at World Series

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Pagenaud joins Penske for 2015 IndyCar season

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Texas’ Strong tells Goodell colleges can do better

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Hornets await NBA investigation into Taylor

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Trout, Strasburg giving playoffs a fresh look

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
NC State coach: No. 1 Florida State faked injuries

By The Associated Press | From Page:

A’s Lester, Royals’ Shields in AL wild-card focus

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Raiders’ season spinning out of control

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

Harbaugh dismisses reports of 49ers discord

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
3-way race for NL MVP; Trout takes his turn in AL

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Stewart never considered retiring after Ward death

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
Twins fire manager Ron Gardenhire after 13 seasons

By The Associated Press | From Page:

.

Business

Bank of America paying $7.65M to resolve inquiry

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Microsoft to offer early look at next Windows

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

US stocks head lower, following drops overseas

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
US consumer spending up 0.5 percent in August

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

ATM fees keep climbing, survey says

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Beetle Bailey Sept 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Garfield Sept 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

For Better or Worse Sept 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
B.C. Sept 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Wizard of Id Sept 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Sudoku Sept 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Dilbert Sept 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Crossword Sept 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Baby Blues Sept 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Peanuts Sept 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Baldo Sept 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Sally Forth Sept 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Cryptoquote Sept 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Frank and Ernest Sept 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Pickles Sept 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Blondie Sept 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Zits Sept 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Get Fuzzy Sept 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Bridge Sept 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Rose is Rose Sept 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Word Sleuth Sept 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
.

Discover Solano Fall/Winter 2014

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Sonoma County

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: DIS2

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Historic Downtown Winters

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS3

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Winters

By Barry Eberling | From Page: DIS3

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Napa County

By Barry Eberling | From Page: DIS20

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Yolo County

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: DIS23

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Western Railway Museum

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS23

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Benicia

By Barry Eberling | From Page: DIS29

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Downtown Benicia

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS31

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Benicia Fire Museum

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS31

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Benicia Plein Air Gallery

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS31

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Benicia Marina

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS32

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Dixon

By Barry Eberling | From Page: DIS33

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Fairfield

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: DIS35

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Solano Town Center

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS36

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Jelly Belly Candy Co.

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS36

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Fairfield Aquatics Complex

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS37

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Anheuser-Busch Brewery Tours

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS37

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Suisun Valley

By Barry Eberling | From Page: DIS39

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Glashoff’s Studio

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS40

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Manka’s Corner

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS41

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Wine Tasting

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS41

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Rio Vista

By Susan Winlow | From Page: DIS42

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Foster’s Bighorn Bar

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS43

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Suisun City

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: DIS45

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Rush Ranch

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS46

Discover Solano Fall 2014: The Suisun Wildlife Center

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS46

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Grizzly Island

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS46

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Vacaville Museum

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS47

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Downtown Vacaville

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS47

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Vacaville Premium Outlets

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS48

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Vacaville

By Susan Winlow | From Page: DIS49

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Nut Tree Plaza

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS50

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Vallejo

By Barry Eberling | From Page: DIS52

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Vallejo Symphony

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS53

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Mare Island Museum

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS53

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Children’s Wonderland

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS53

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Vallejo Baylink Ferry

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS54

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Empress Theatre

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS54

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Six Flags Discovery Kingdom

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS54

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Flyway Festival

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS54

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Bay Area Ridge Trail

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS54

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Solano County

By Barry Eberling | From Page: DIS55

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Solano County Golf Courses

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS56

Discover Solano Fall-Winter 2014 Calendar

By Glen Faison | From Page: DIS57

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Bale Grist Mill

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS59

Discover Solano Fall 2014: The Petrified Forest

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS59

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Winters Opera House

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS59

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Sterling Winery

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS59

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Safari West

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS59

Discover Solano Fall 2014: UC Davis Mondavi Center

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS59

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Calistoga Hot Springs

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS59

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Vintage Aircraft Company

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS60

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Casinos

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS60

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Scientopia Discovery Center

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS60

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Old Faithful Geyser

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS60

Discover Solano Fall 2014: The Sonoma Raceway

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS60

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Hot Air Ballooning

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS60

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Robert Louis Stevenson Park

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS60

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Sonoma Train Town

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS60