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An Arab Speaks of Many Rivers

Arab Hip-Hop artist, Omar Offendum, made an appearance at a screening of Broken Records at Northwestern University in Evanston Co-sponsored by NU's Students for Justice in Palestine.

A week ago, May 6th, 2011 a very relevant Arab Hip-Hop artist, Omar Offendum, made an appearance at a screening of Broken Records at Northwestern University in Evanston Co-sponsored by NU's Students for Justice in Palestine. Broken Records is  a "New Documentary Explores The World Of Arab Hip-Hop" featured in National Geographic Music. Watch the full documentary below.

Documentary: Broken Records from Broken Records on Vimeo.

The documentary speaks for itself, but Omar had a few words to say. He spoke on his dual citizenship as a Syrian and an American, hence the name of his first album is SyrianamericanA. His performance ranged from rapping over self prodcuded beats to crowd hushing acapellas, switching effortlessly between Arabic and English. One of the most relevant pieces was his translation of a Langston Hughues Poem to Arabic. Originally titled "The Negro Speaks of Rivers."

The Negro Speaks of Rivers

By Langston Hughes 1902–1967

I’ve known rivers: I’ve known rivers ancient as the world and older than the flow of human blood in human veins.
My soul has grown deep like the rivers.
I bathed in the Euphrates when dawns were young. I built my hut near the Congo and it lulled me to sleep. I looked upon the Nile and raised the pyramids above it. I heard the singing of the Mississippi when Abe Lincoln went down to New Orleans, and I’ve seen its muddy bosom turn all golden in the sunset.
I’ve known rivers: Ancient, dusky rivers.
My soul has grown deep like the rivers.

http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/173693

In the wake of Osama Bin Ladens death and the Middle Eastern uprisings we need to continue to speak in tolerance and solidarity with people struggling all over the world. Hip-Hop is a language that speaks many rivers and cannot be assumed to be only the materialistic face we see in pop-culutre. There are many elements to Hip-Hop and this documentary does an excellent job of showing how Hip-Hop is helping to promote creativity and peace through art all over the world. Get involved!

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