Music in Conflict Areas: Protest Rap in Kashmir and Palestine


Cafe Dissensus Everyday

By Najrin Islam

Music has traditionally been received as an art form that carries with it the capacity to stir emotions. It is precisely this quality that renders music vulnerable to censorial complaints from self-proclaimed guardians of the ‘culture’ of a community who attempt, from their position of influence, to regulate its content and by extension, control that community. I discuss here this phenomenon in the context of two such societies – Palestine and Kashmir, which, owing to their status as conflict zones (as many others in the contemporary global moment), are under perpetual institutional surveillance on constant lookout for potentially condemnatory works of art and literature: ‘condemnatory’ to the hegemonic narratives that function to discursively nullify the minority cultures in question. The link between these two conflict zones is the use of hip-hop and rap by local musicians to counter the official discourses about the conditions of their region…

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