People, not places

This month has finally seen the release of Invincible’s long-awaited video for her song “People Not Places”, which is a personal favourite of mine.

Ilana Weaver aka Invincible grew up in Israel until the age of about 8. Now representing Michigan, and Detroit in particular, she has evolved into an outspoken rapper, an activist and entrepreneuse who lends her voice to the downtrodden of this earth, besides making flatout ingenious music. In this song, Invincible reveals what Palestinians and those who care to find out have known for decades, but which is still ignored in large parts of Israeli society: the mechanism of appropriating land and extinguishing Arab names, people and culture to make the old Arab land new Israeli land.

Bottom line: while Ilana’s mother can afford to just miss “people, not places”, Palestinians whose land was stolen and whose families dispersed do not have that luxury. Without the land, the people have nothing to cultivate their roots in.

A great track that features Abeer Alzinaty on the hook and Suhell Nafar of DAM on a bonus verse. Both are some of the highest-ranking representatives of the budding Arab-Israeli hip-hop scene and they have been featured in the prize-winning and highly recommended documentary Slingshot Hip-Hop.

Click to watch the video...

Click to watch the video...

Read more on her own website.

Read the lyrics after this…

Prepare for take off
Touch down Ben-Gurion
Strict search make sure nobody enters with bombs
Blue white flags
For the Birthright Tour I’m on
Never mention three villages the airport is on
Recent history buried
But it speaks through the sand
All Jews: Law of Return
I don’t seem to understand
“A land without a people for people without a land”?
But I see a man standing with a key and a deed in his hand
First stop: museum of the Holocaust
Walkin outside–in the distance–saw a ghost throwing a Molotov
Houses burnt with kerosene
Mass graves
Couldn’t bare the scene
It wasn’t a pogrom–it was the ruins of Deir Yassin
Next stop: shopping at the Kenyon Malcha
Built it on the back of the town Al-Malha
Wishing we could call it its name
Uphauled by the change
And now a mall full of chains
Is all that remains

My Ima misses people not places
Has she seen the towns with names in Arabic the Hebrew replaces?
The policies are evil and racist, deceitful and heinous
You’ll never be a peaceful state with legal displacement

Remember the names of our cities before you came and replaced it
Remember and tell me how am I supposed not to miss a nation living within us?
[Translated from Arabic]

At the Wailing Wall I’m rollin a wish
Then stick it in between the hole in the bricks
I’m feelin more than melancholy
This used to be the Moroccan quarter
Until we stopped em short and
Now their grandkids is the ones that’s throwing rocks at borders
I aint one to play and I don’t pray often
So I’m AWOL’n
While you making native sons
Feel like a stranger in they own land like James Baldwin
This aint about a Qur’an or a synagogue or Mosque or Torah
The colonizer break it into acres and dunums
Erasing the culture
Changed Haifa to Chaifa
Changed Yaffa to Yaffo
The old city left to haunt
Hummus pronounced chumoos, we ate in a restaurant
Next hit the discotheque
Yes we on the list of guests
Palestinians cant get in
Its blatant disrespect
Cops stop em for speakin they language
Its dangerous
To repeat it when
With history we disconnect


200 year old olive trees
Uprooted the groves
To build a wall
Now their future enclosed
Settlements spreading like cancer and toxic sewage polluted the roads
Now full of checkpoints
I superimpose the truth and it shows
Village ruins overgrown with planted trees
Who’d have thought the “desert blooms” and Tu Bishvat
I cant believe
This aint environmental
Disguising lies, extincting lives like manatees
Callin it a transfer? Please–
More like a catastrophe!
Birthright tours recruiting em, confuse em into moving in
Claim its only names and words but denying the root of them
Power been abusing it
Our past never excusing them
60 years since 48 and 40 since Jerusalem
My boy Shadi wanted to visit it so badly
He lied he’s diabetic to see it for five seconds
One Nine Four ruled the courts in the case
Mom, you can’t disconnect a people from the importance of place

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Filed under but seriously..., ignance in power, Law and Ordure, lying bull, Schöner Wohnen, Schmiergeld, sing along, [andbehold]

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