Sunday, 25 January 2009

Activist samba in Israel

Rhythms of Resistance samba band has 'branches' all over the world: London and Amsterdam are the original bands. We have spawned other bands in Manchester, Oxford, Paris, Cordoba (new one), Berlin, Turin, Bremen, Mexico City amongst others. There is also a Rhythms of Resistance in Israel. To be an activist band in Israel today is uneasy. One of the members recently sent out a rather despairing report about joining the protest against the bombardment of Gaza and commented on the general state of affairs for the 'opposition' in Israel.

"We are a band of a few but very devoted players (around 20 people max) and we are playing in most of the left-wing events. especially this last month of war.
I think that the anti-Zionist left-wing movement in Israel is dying. The consensus is becoming more and more Zionist, patriotic, and fascist. This last war was one of Israel's biggest crams (sic), and it was so scary and so depressing to feel the complete sport of the Israeli society. Even the Palestinians didn't protest as much as expected. The left-wing resistance and especially the Palestinian resistors is being strangled by the police. Hundreds of people got arrested for protesting against the war, and some are still sitting in jail. The general feeling here is frustration and deprecation from the situation and from our power to affect any of it. Many people don't come to demos from fear of the police, frustration and a lack of faith.
I think that we really help keeping the movement alive. People are coming especially to demos because they know we are going to be there. We give joy and power to our serenading. People are dancing around us and shouting with us and with our drumming. We make a strong sound that a small movement, like we are in Israel, cannot make only by their voices.
We make the demos more energised and fun and hope full.
I guess that in black days like this, a ROR band can give a lot, especially to the protesters."


  1. Do the London ROR have any upcoming marches they are participating in to support this one? I would love to involve my daughter in another march or similar and this time perhaps be nearer the drumming rather then the boring Quakers, see how she likes the noisy end of protesting!

  2. Mainframeguy
    Check out the RoR link on my blogroll list. You can email them and ask where their next practice is. It's every Wednesday, in your neck of the woods I believe.

  3. I'm glad there's one in Oxford; I'll look out for them.

    Music and the arts are a very good way to resist oppression. In fact a disdain for the arts is one of the "14 Signs of Fascism" and it's often the artists who are most feared by the government. This is because art is a shortcut to the soul. It delivers its message in a simple emotional way that stimulates the subconscious and the brain's right hemisphere.

    I'm always reminded of the rise of Augusto Pinochet in Chile, a brutal military coup supported by the United States. One of Pinochet's biggest opponents was a very famous guitarist. He was one of the first to be locked in a sports ground with all the other dissidents. When he tried to play the police broke his fingers, so he just sang a-capella; so they beat him to death. But if we all stand together they can't do that to us!

  4. What an interesting comment Ben.
    I didn't know about the 14 signs of fascism.
    Victor Jara is the Chilean guitarist. I remember reading about him on the front page of the NME.
    This is one of the reasons that I had to be in Chile when Pinochet was voted out of government in 1989.
    I thought there would be celebrations on the street everywhere, but no, the people were still so cowed they did not dare.
    Military police (wearing what looked suspiciously like nazi uniforms) everywhere and tear gas in the streets. I had to duck regularly into shops and bank to avoid the gassing.
    Nobody would talk,even casually, if you did you would be accused of being a 'sapo',(toad) a spy.

  5. like the wo/man said way back... when the rhythm of the music changes the walls of the city shake....

  6. did you know about the 14 signs of fascism Mr Trippy?

  7. Hi. I live in palestine/israel and am looking for an activist samba band to play with. Could you give me your friends contact into?

  8. I think economads is barking up the wrong tree! But if you can be helpful - well that would be amazing....


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