From top left: Malikah, Lena Chamamyan and DJ Sotusura
Electronic Intifada reports that Arab artists have withdrawn from Austria’s government-funded Salam.Orient cultural festival because one of the sponsors is the Israeli embassy.
Syrian singer Lena Chamamyan, Lebanese MC Malikah (Lynn Fattouh), and Palestinian DJ Sotusura will now no longer perform at the festival which runs in Vienna and Graz between 16 October and 10 November.
This follows yesterday’s announcement by Palestinian MC Boikutt that he had quit the festival.
Lena Chamamyan released a statement on her Facebook page that says in part:
My problem is not with Judaism, nor with any other culture or belief, unlike how the festival's management hinted. My problem is about accepting the Israeli authority’s inhumane politics and tendency for atrocities and human rights violation by taking lives and building the famous “Israeli West Bank barrier”, which does not get along with my idea about breaking all walls and barriers between all human beings all over the planet, starting by politically-constructed barriers. Therefore, as that the festival's vision does not agree with my own vision as a human first and as an artist second, I announce, as an Syrian Arab singer, my wish of not participating in the festival's concerts for this year, yet hoping to meet you all soon in our homeland,until we truly find peace
Malikah also announced that she was withdrawing from the festival on her Facebook page: “I cannot participate in an event sponsored by a Colonial Occupying Force, especially when the occupied subject is us.”
Malikah - born Lynn Fattouh - is a Lebanese MC. She raps in Arabic primarily, but also in English and French. She had an interesting interview with Mashallah News. When asked what her songs are about and if she supports any cause or struggle, she replied:
My songs revolve around my daily life and whatever has an impact on me and my surroundings. I support the Palestinian cause strongly, just like any other cause against the oppression of people and the tyranny of systems. I support the struggle of the people in Iraq, and the revolutions in the Arab world. Moreover, I support the unity of Arabia – the unity of people inside each country and unity among the countries – as well as women’s empowerment and the freedom of speech. Finally, I fight strongly against the stereotype of terrorists which has been bestowed on us by the West.
Arab rap is coming on strong and Malikah has had a lot to do with its increasing popularity. When asked about rapping in Arabic, Malikah had an interesting response: "During the July War in 2006, I felt the urge to write a song for the Lebanese people. I decided to use Arabic since that is a language I knew everyone would understand. Arabic is a beautiful, powerful language, with a vast vocabulary. Besides, I have never heard of American rappers rapping in Arabic, so why should I as an Arab rap in English?"
Check out this Lo Frequency video with Malikah - "Queen of Arab Rap" - along with Edd and Chyno, MC ZeineDin and Ram 6.