In the track, “If I could go back in time” – featuring Amal Murkus – the group’s members Suhel Nafar, Mahmood Jrere and Tamer Nafar rap the story “backwards” from death to birth of a young woman murdered by members of her family for refusing to marry against her will. Amal Murkus sings the chorus.
Challenging “honor” crimes
“The song is not a specific incident but it describes the phenomena of honor killing in general,” Suhel Nafar explained at a launch event in Ramallah, according to the Wafa news agency.
One year ago, Palestinian Authority de facto president Mahmoud Abbas issued a decree canceling legal provisions that treated perpetrators of honor killings more leniently. However, that decree remains “ineffective,” according to a press release accompanying the new video, which noted that in the first eight months of this year, 12 women and girls had been killed in so-called “honor” crimes.
“Honor crimes” are crimes committed against women for “tarnishing the name and the honor of the family. There were 32 cases of “honor killings” in the occupied Palestinian territories between 2004 and 2006. Thirteen women were killed in “honor killings” in 2009, according to a report by UN Women (PDF).
Harsh economic and social conditions in the occupied territories have also contributed to violence against women.
A revolution so that women are one hundred percent equal with men
Laws that treat honor crimes more leniently – often a legacy of colonial times – remain on the books in several countries, including Jordan. DAM’s Tamer Nafar told The Electronic Intifada he hopes that this video will send a message “to the leaders in the Middle East so they can fix the law. Murder is murder, it doesn’t matter what is the cause.”
Nafar says the message is also aimed more broadly: “It’s a message to my people, to all Arabs, that our revolutions aren’t just against oppression from politics and leaderships. It must be a revolution so that women are one hundred percent equal with men.”
Produced with the support of UN Women, the striking and dramatic video was directed by Jacqueline Reem Salloum and Suhel Nafar. Salloum directed the acclaimed 2008 film Slingshot Hip Hop which helped introduce DAM, who are from the city of Lydd in an area of historic Palestine captured by Israel in 1948, and Palestine’s burgeoning hip hop scene to the world.
In May, Nafar and Salloum collaborated on a short film Yala to the Moon.
New DAM album
“If I could go back in time” is one of the tracks on DAM’s much anticipated second album “Dabke on the moon - Nudbok al Amar,” due to be released later this month.
Whereas DAM’s first album “Dedication” documented reality, according to a press release, the new album “is a feature musical based on reality, telling real stories though fiction” and is “more melodic and alive with Arab pop sounds.”