Heavy Metal in the Arab World

“Heavy metal came along with democracy.”

This was said by a nameless man in the documentary film: Global Metal. Although the quote was in reference to the Brazilian revolution of 1985 where the longtime dictator João Goulart was ousted, it is something that that Arab world should consider. 

Heavy metal is emerging in the Middle East. As Bill Kohlhaase puts it, “When kids in Arab countries discovered MTV’s Headbanger’s Ball on satellite TV, the world changed. How? Death metal came to Iran, head banging to Egypt, rap flourished in Palestine, break dancing in Morocco and raves raged in Pakistan,” he declares that music is the liberation for the youth, giving them a voice to finally use. 

Some might say that heavy metal fans are ruthless and evil. ImageThis gif (click on the photo to see the action) is of what metal heads called a “wall of death.” Basically two human walls form and then run at each one another to start a huge mosh pit. It came along with a personal anecdote:

“I once went to a concert with a friend (I don’t remember the band, she dragged me along) when I was 16. They were starting a wall of death and this guy who was flirting with me decides it would be funny to pull my top down, exposing my breasts, then throw me in the middle of this wall of death right as it’s about to meet. When I stumble in the middle and hit the wall someone screamed “STOP! EXPOSED GIRL!” and I thought they were all going to oggle at me. Instead, one guy quickly helped me cover up, three more helped me to my feet, and another asked who did that. When I pointed out the guy, two of them looked at him, me, each other, then nodded and punched the guy in the face before forcing him into the wall that was about to form again.

Metal men are gentlemenly as shit.”

 

I post this to show the Arab world that Metal is not a satanic cult. There is plenty of room for personal religion. The band Orphaned Land is a metal band from Israel which plays across the Arab landscape. Some of their concerts have been raided by the religious police and here is one account of what can happen in these radical Islamist countries:

“Farhi said a while back, an Egyptian fan got six months in jail because he had an Orphaned Land CD. The authorities said the music was Satanism.”

Metal is a voice for the youth. The Arab states must accept it. I suppose this is the best way to describe it :

“People stereotype heavy metal as something who is not the way it truly is, we are breaking all stereotypes,” Farhi said. “Simply as that. Of music, of religion, of politics, of nationality: We are just here to break it.”

 

So yes, metal can be scary to those in power. Because metal is changing politics, but NOT religion. Totalitarian regimes may crumble do to the power of metal, but what is wrong with that? 

http://www.theworld.org/2011/02/israel-orphaned-land/

http://ieweekly.com/2009/02/arts/books/heavy-metal-islam-rock-resistance-and-the-struggle-for-the-soul-of-islam-by-mark-levine/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0FEouMLA_AM

This last link is Part 1 of the film Global Metal^^

 

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About ethurston359

I am a Classics major at Roger Williams University.

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