For many years I considered America as my promised land. As a young Jazz musician I was pretty convinced that sooner or later I would end up living in NYC. My Jerusalem was Downtown Manhattan and of course my holy scriptures were the old Blue Note vinyls. My Rabbis were named Coltrane, Bird, Miles, Duke, Dizzy, Bill Evans and naturally, there were many others. I was convinced of this reality for a while, and in fact, it took time before I realised that Jazz was far more than mere music. It took a while before I gathered that Jazz was something else, that it was actually a form of resistance. Nowadays I realise that Jazz is no different from Jihad, accordingly, playing Jazz is my personal Jihad. I do grasp that some people in this room may already find my ideas nostalgic, some may even be convinced that I am either totally deluded or just out of my mind. I can live with it. I do realise that ‘things have changed’, they’ve changed for you as much as they’ve changed for me. I do realise that Jazz is not exactly a form of resistance anymore. May I mention that America isn’t my promised land either. In fact, at the time of writing this talk, I wasn’t even sure whether I would be allowed entry into your country. As much as Jazz, the classical music of America, has been a call for freedom, America is not a free place anymore. I often argue that before liberating others, it is the American people who should first liberate themselves. I am pretty sure that sooner or later they will.
I have been participating in some public debates lately concerning the common denominator between Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan. I’m glad to mention that it is rather noticeable that more and more people are now happy to admit what some of us realised years ago. The Palestinians, the Iraqis and the Afghanis are paying a very dear price for the Ziocentric shift within the Anglo-American decision-makers circuit. Seemingly, Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine are just the aperitif for an endless feast. The Ziocons have some big appetite to satisfy. The same lobbies that led America towards this disastrous invasion in Iraq and Afghanistan are now doing whatever they can to push America towards intervention in Iran and Syria. For those few who still fail to realise it, America has been operating officially as an Israeli mission force. It currently fights the last sovereign pockets of Muslim resistance.
Often enough, the true aim of the Zionist lobbies is concealed. Instead the Zionist lobbies promote some righteous phoney humanitarian alternatives. The American Jewish Committee (AJC), for instance, is aggressively lobbying against human rights abuse in Iran and Darfur. Since human rights issues are really close to my heart, I find myself wondering whether the Jewish organisation shouldn’t rather be concentrating on the colossal war crimes that are daily repeated by Israel in Palestine. Rather occasionally we read about AIPAC equating Iran and Syria with Nazi Germany. Again, someone should remind the Zionist lobbyists that actually it is Israel, the “Jews Only State”, that happens to be the one and only ideological remnant of racist nationalism.
Three weeks ago the Palestine Chronicle made an on-line poll . . . It asked the following question: ‘Does the Israel Lobby control US policy on the Middle East?’
Needless to mention, no one would even have dared raising such a question five years ago. Now this question is asked repeatedly and as it seems, people aren’t shying off from telling what they really think. 80% said yes, 15% said no, and 4% were not sure. Looking at these results points to the reality many want us to deny. The vast majority of English-speaking Palestinians, Palestinian solidarity campaigners and anti-war activists are now ready to admit that the Israel Lobby controls US policy in the Middle East. We are ready to accept the fact that America operates as an Israeli mission force. America straightens the line with Israeli interests and sacrifices its sons and daughters maintaining Israeli regional hegemony. [...]
Seemingly, spirit and beauty means very little to us unless attached to a commodity. In our Americanised reality, existence means market value. Yet, spirit of resistance and beauty are invaluable. I may suggest that we will never be able to fully understand what the Palestinian and Iraqi struggle means to its people unless we liberate ourselves from our narrow material vision of reality. We can never grasp people who sacrifice the ultimate unless we acknowledge that there is far more to life than just life. We can never understand Iraqi insurgency and the Palestinian liberation struggle unless we try to understand what soil may mean to people who refuse to get drunk on Coca-Cola.
The search for the meaning of solidarity is a personal issue. I believe that the meaning of solidarity is probably a very dynamic notion. I am starting to realise that within the current structure of affairs, the left who was pretty effective in mobilizing anti-imperial campaigns for years, may not provide anything for Palestine, Afghanistan and Iraq. The left, being a rational, post-enlightenment outlook, has its problem to solve with Islam and religious devotion. I hope that I am wrong here. I can see some isolated islands of left dialectic thinkers are ready to acknowledge that Muslim resistance may as well convey an alternative vision of reality and resistance.
I can speak for myself. For me, Jihad and Jazz are very similar forms of commitment. For me, the generations of Black Americans who sacrificed everything for the sake of beauty and resistance were actually engaged in a holy war. [...]
Monday, April 16, 2007
There is an element of resistance to oppression in Jazz, but violent Jihad as currently practiced seeks to impose tyranny. What would be the true musical equivalent of Jihad?