The Children Are the Future “Muslim history is full of characters and movements that seemed far out of the mainstream in their day, but that nevertheless helped bring about far- reaching changes in their societies” (LeVine, 2) Throughout history, music has been used to express the desire for change, for freedom. Music has become a mean though which oppressed groups communicate with society, at a domestic and international level.Although genres have changed, musical movements have always been the most influential way to instigate social change. The newest musical generation is inspired by previous musical idols; hey will draw parallels between their struggles even if the origin is across the globe. In every generation, music is transform as a political tool that will bring about social change.
The reason could be that music, no matter how underground or ‘radical’, it ends up being mainstream, leaving it open to the public.In the book Heavy Metal Islam: Rock, Resistance, and the Struggle for the Soul of Islam by Mark LeVine examines the influence of ‘Western’ influence, especially music, in the Muslim world and how the music movement has brought freedom of expression to an oppressed community. Throughout the book, LeVine demonstrates how the combination of political, social, and musical ideals have finally given people a way to fight the constant domination of violence and death in their lives.
The wide variety of music listened to by young people across MEAN reveals that the Muslim world is as diverse as are its music scenes… “(Levine, 5) The one of the focus of LeVine is the importance of youth culture in the musical and political movement in the Middle East. It is clear that a big percent of the Middle East’s population is of a young age. The young population in these countries is part of a conflict that started many generations ago.They have learned to live in an area of constant danger, in their young lives they have not been able to express freely or to live without fear.
All these oppressive factors have led youth movements through the Middle East to search for methods through which they can express their discontent not only within their society but also to the international audience as well. Why is youth involvement important in the Middle East struggle? Young generations have, not been deeply exposed to the beliefs that have rated the conflict; all they have in their minds is the future.Their main concern is the future, what kind of world will their children have. Youth have no concern for the past; though they do sustain some traditions, the promise of a better future seems like a more tangible goal, than fixing the past. The New York Times released a series of interviews of young Arabs and their opinions about the conflict in the Middle East.
One of the interviewees is Moustache ABA Shams where she declares, “l think this is the time for the youth to take matters into their own hands. Moustache argues the importance of Arab youth that because of their young age they are more open to new philosophies. Their knowledge of the modern world makes them the perfect conduct for change to happen. The young population has the desire of a better situation; this willingness makes them their own liberators. Another of the interviewees is Muhammad al-Swam, he states an almost responsive view about the participation of Arab youth in Labia’s revolution, “We started this revolution for the sake of the coming generation… This revolution is not for me.
Regardless of his young age, Muhammad claims hat their efforts are driven by the hope of making their countries a better place. He acknowledges that change takes time, and he embraces the fact that change will not happen for him to experience it, yet he wants future generations to not struggle the way his did. In contrast to these opinions from political active young Arabs, LeVine follows a cultural and artistic driven revolution movement. Even though, young musicians have a very critical attitude, they are still afraid of violent response from the government.
Yet they still fight, “to be left alone by both the government and society- to be able to play their music and walk down the street without being harassed by the Muskrat or the Muslim Brotherhood 75) They want to ensure the basic rights Of any citizens, in order to move to higher goals such as changing the political aspect of their countries. The main discussion in LeVin?s book is the influence of music in the Middle East and how youth has embrace this foreign import as a forum to convey their liberal ideals. A quick look in history can show you how music has been used to reveal the discontent of oppressed groups.
Though the music scene n the Muslim world is compose of many different genres, one of the most common one is heavy metal, Read Zone comments, “we play heavy metal because our lives are heavy 14). Although this genre seems like the opposite if Islam, it helps fans create a strong attitude and resistance against oppression. LeVine agrees that this genre has helped youth to formulate a more “do-it yourself attitude” which in light of the current situation in most of the Middle East, is a most valuable skill, to be able and willing to make change happen instead of waiting for it.With the opposition f the government and that of older generations who still cling to tradition, Arab youth has to take matters into their own hands and resist.
Rebellion through music also gives young Arabs the possibility of retaining their culture and embrace progress. In this movement, music has undergone a great change; it is a combination of both resistance and tradition creating a new type of music. This new generation of musicians has used art to express their political and social views against the system.
They have taken a foreign concept and made it their own; they molded it to suffice their revolutionary deeds. Another genre widely used in the Middle East musical movement is rap. Rap has been known as the soundtrack Of struggle, especially after its explosion in the late ass and early ass in the American music scene. According to Hashish Aid “..
. Hip-hop in other parts of the world is inspired by American hip-hop but is more political than its original inspiration in [America]. Aid suggests that hip-hop has been globalizes as a tool for public diplomacy, because Black history is inspiring to young Arabs, mainly because, like heavy metal, it establishes a sense of social strength.
Levine reinforces this idea, through his observations stating how rappers in the Middles East prefer this genre because it gives the opportunity to show a unique Iranian stamp, “… By weaving together the postindustrial protest sounds of hip-hop, with its commitment to using words as weapons and the Palestinian tradition of passing down history through music and storytelling.
(LeVine, 110) Here we go back to the idea that this Arab music movement has created a new category of music, given future generations the best of tradition and change. “Nowhere is globalization positive potential more evident than in the media ND popular culture of the [Middle East] today. ” (LeVine, 7) Though globalization has become a topic of controversy on the Middle East, it has had a great impact on younger generations in search of ways to enforce their freedom of expression.Globalization has pushed young Arabs out of their comfort zone, they Were given the possibility of exploring Outside their culture and country. This window to the Western’ world has made youth movements more open to international audiences. Media became the most powerful tool given to these young revolutionaries. It was through the media, hat the international population has become aware of the struggle of the Muslim world. In his book, LeVine observes the movements of Kafka, an Egyptian flogger community [Kafka] has received a lot of attention and praise in the Western media for its advocacy of real democratic reforms.
(LeVine, 94) This flogger community has made change by reaching across social class barriers; they have made efforts to involve everyone in the movement against the Egyptian government. Another accomplishment that has been made by flogger communities is to reach to international audiences, especially American society. Not only are these communities involving international societies, but also they are also being exposing to other systems, they are grabbing inspiration from other places across history to create a stronger platform of their movement.The Web has also become a great mean of communication to the outside world and within their society. Musicians who want to contact with their fellow colleagues can make use of the internet to exchange ideas and material without the need to travel great distances. Another way in which the media has affected the musical scene in he Middle East is that even though it starts as an underground band/music, the internet and other social platforms has made it possible for this revolutionary music to become ‘popular/mainstream’.All these advantages of the media and internet has not gone unnoticed by the governments in the Middle East, many bans have been impose in order to control the internet but it has become almost impossible because more young Arabs are using their voice to fight for this little freedom they had found in the web. In history, there is evidence of how many other oppressed groups found says to organize and rebel against a system that made their existence unnecessarily harder.
Music has been part of many of these movements.It is with these tools that young generations of Arabs will seek to change their situation. They have learned to use globalization in their favor; they have embraced change without having to sacrifice their traditional values. The music they create has their own individual stamp; they have made this widely used method their own weapon.
In Olivine’s book we are exposed to the achievements of young Muslims, of how they combined culture, media and USIA to fight oppression and create a better future.