A Palestinian musician is blaming the U.S. and Israel for the fact that the Palestinians have not yet been able to send a man to the moon.
Tamer Nafar of the Arabic hip hop band DAM says the group’s latest album was inspired by the contrast between NASA’s space exploration and the digging of smuggling tunnels between Gaza and Egypt. He tells the pro-Palestinian website Electronic Intifada that the “occupation” and the U.S. are to blame for hindering Palestinian space exploration ambitions. He does not mention that Israel pulled out of Gaza in 2005 and that Hamas – defined by the State Department as a terrorist organization - now controls Gaza, not an Israeli "occupation."
In the interview, Nafar describes the inspiration for DAM’s new album Dabke on the Moon. Dabke or Debka is a traditional Arab line dance (Emphasis added):
Well, once I read an article about some NASA experiment on the moon, or in space, I don’t know, but they created some kind of a spaceship that goes to outer space to do something. And on the same day, I read an article about the people in Gaza digging tunnels. I didn’t feel comfortable with these two opposites. They are exploring the galaxies outside of Earth, and the Palestinians are digging tunnels — it’s the opposite direction.
Of course we want to go to the moon, but we cannot do it with the occupation. And who’s responsible for the occupation as well? America, the USA. They are sponsoring billions of dollars every year to make us dig under tunnels. I didn’t like it, and it was a sad song at the beginning. How come we are digging tunnels and they are reaching outer space?
Nafar also blames Arab dictators for restraining the purported Palestinian moonwalking dreams:
So the Arab Spring gave us power — that we as people, we believe that we can reach the moon.
In the song we say, we are in the spaceship, the spaceship is ready and we are trying to fly, but somehow the screens on the spaceship are telling us that we are overweight. So the Arab Spring taught us that to do so, we have to drop some of the weight. And we do — we open the window, and we throw out all the Arab leaders, all the dictatorships, all the corrupted money, and we are ready to fly.
While quick to blame Israelis and Americans, the musician refrains from mentioning some pricey line items in the Palestinian Authority (PA) budget which deplete funds that could – if there were a genuine desire - be used for space exploration. A full six percent of the Palestinian budget is spent paying salaries to terrorists serving time in Israeli jails and financially supporting the families of suicide bombers who murdered Israeli civilians.
The PA spends $4.5 million per month on the prisoners and another $6.5 million on suicide bomber family allowances, sending a strong message to Palestinian parents that suicide bombing is a more lucrative career for their children than rocket science. In 2011, Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad tripled the monthly pay for the terrorist inmates.
The hip hop musician also did not mention $100 million in unmet pledges to the Palestinians made by the Arab League.
DAM is the band which prompted controversy in 2011 when it was invited by the Portland, Oregon, public school system to play at Lincoln High School. Its songs’ controversial lyrics justify terrorism and compare Israelis to Nazis and rapists.
In its track, “Who’s the Terrorist?” DAM sings:
Democracy? I swear you’re Nazis
With all the times you raped the Arab spirit
It got pregnant and birthed a boy called the suicide bomber
And here you are calling us terrorists
Even while he blamed Israel, band member Nafar conceded in a Rolling Stone Middle East interview that Palestinians can’t blame only Israel for their problems:
While the Israeli occupation affects all aspects of life for Palestinians, says Nafar, there are changes that need to be made from within Palestinian society and problems that can’t just be blamed on the occupation. “You have the same things in Amman, in Morocco and there aren’t any Israeli tanks over there,” he says.
Rolling Stone Middle East also describes a call for women’s rights in the Arab world in one of DAM’s songs on the new album:
“If I Could Go Back In Time” has caused a stir in the Arab world. The video – which quickly went viral – depicts a young woman who tries to resist an arranged marriage and is murdered by male family members, in what is often called an “honor killing.”
Nafar says the song is a reflection of DAM’s support of women’s rights and desire to tackle “taboo subjects.”
While the band is referred to as Palestinian, its members are Arab citizens of Israel from the city of Lod.
Here is DAM’s music video “If I Could Go Back In Time,” which depicts the female victim of an honor killing: