Stone-hurling and stick-swinging teenage Hamas supporters chased the rap group P.R. (‘Palestinian Rappers’) off the stage. As pioneers of Palestinian hip-hop from the Gaza Strip, P.R. have learned the hard way that hip-hop is not popular among conservative muslims and Hamas (the Islamic Resistance Movement) – regardless that their rap lyrics are in support of the Palestinian cause
Recently, at one of P.R.’s gigs, somebody threw a grenade at the concert hall. It mainly just made a loud bang, though. Nobody was hurt.
According to a report by the French news agency AFP, a man screamed a Hamas-inspired chant about resistance, and a crowd roared back “Allahu Akbar” (God is Great), people lunged toward the stage, police fired warning shots and shoved the rappers into a cab as stone-hurling and stick-swinging teenage Hamas supporters chased after them. Furious over their escape, the mob stoned police, yelling “the national security forces have sold our blood for the dollar” and the two sides skirmished for nearly 30 minutes across Neve Dekalim.
“They were singing disco. This goes against the holy book (the Koran),” said one 17-year-old teenager, Mohammad to the AFP-reporter.
“The Hamas guys were mostly upset because a lot of girls were excited about us and they were waving their hands as we sang,” said Mohammed al Fara, one of the members of P.R.
“We want to make it clear to people in other countries that not everyone in the Gaza Strip is running around with a gun in his hands. We’re fighting by means of our music”, explains Muhammad: “Some of our friends have already been shot dead. Everyone has his own way to get freedom. Some people fire guns. We have rap.”
One of PR’s songs talks about Mohammad carrying the coffin of his friend Ibrahim who joined an armed group and died fighting the Israelis last year. Mohammad himself was shot in his left upper arm while throwing stones against Israeli soldiers in 2001. It proved a wake up call for him.
Ever since then, Mohammad has spent most of his time sitting at his computer, developing new sounds. Together with his fellow rapper Moataz al-Hewihi, the boys from P.R. rap to homemade “phat” beats and samples of classical Arabic music. The result is a mixture of Western and oriental sounds.
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