Sunday, July 10, 2011

Arab-American & North African (!)Heritage Street Festival - NYC July 2011 [vid & pics]

Went to an Arab-American Festival hosted by an organization called NAAP (The Network of Arab-American Professionals

This was NAAP-NY's 9th ANNUAL ARAB-AMERICAN AND NORTH-AFRICAN CULTURAL STREET FESTIVAL (from info I've gathered, it seems the "North African" was an after-thought and a tad perplexing to even some of the Arab participants) Guess the the North-Africans aren’t Arab... and they aren’t American, either…. But, North-African aka Muslim....we still get the message...

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Is this one of those attempts to latch onto the Martin Luther King /African (Black) American fight for equality? Perhaps....

QUESTION asked by a Muslim : " I see something in the name that says "Arab American and North African" why North African (are they not) Arab American? It confused me....not all N. Africans identify as Arab....many from Algeria identify as Berber, not Arab, and Egyptian Copts, by and large, do not identify as Arab.

ANSWERED by a Muslim :  "The closest I can think of at the moment is it's like Americans & African-Americans. It's just an identity & there are sub-identities within this classification...."

Guess the intention of adding this on to their Festival Title is becoming a bit more apparent.

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This festival was the kick-off for NYC's Arab Heritage Week and having been to a few of these festivals as well as the Muslim Day Parade, the focus typically is for the casual observers, aka dhimmis, to see the families, the children, the young people.... all gathering to celebrate.

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To celebrate,"WHAT?" "Being Americans?" With one SMALL display of the American Flag at the entire festival, doesn't seem to be an active part of the "theme" for these festivities....

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Previously, I've seen a display of patriotism at the Muslim Day Parade. Like....the Police Marching Band (eerily) playing "This is My Country". They marched down Madison Avenue with more than one American Flag and did sing the National Anthem. Score one for the Muslim Day Parade....

But NOT the Arab-American Festival of 2011. This Festival was clearly an Arab/Muslim Pride Day (the emphasis was not on the "American")

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Wasn't aware of any Christian or Jewish presence at this ARAB-American Festival, but since there are Christians and Jews in America who come from their own countries that were conquered by Muslims, it's understandable they might not feel PRIDE at a Festival giving praise to their oppressors. The T-shirts say it all....

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No " I HEART America" t-shirts for sale here, which makes the dabka war-like dances of the 'pali's even more unsettling.

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The in-your-face "Pali' militarism dances and the constant waving of Moroccan flags (which seemed new to the scene) seemed very aggressive.

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Perhaps the Moroccan contingent facilitated the adding-on of the North-African title to this Festival as their flags were the most obvious, along with the 'Palis"

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There was a long list of entertainers:

Cheb Yassin (Algeria), Eslam Farouk (Egypt), Khaleed Al Masry ( Egypt), Nadwa Rifai (Lebanon), Noureddine Al-Maghribi (Morocco), Ashraf Alrifai ( Palestine/Jordan), DJ Ibrahim (Syria), Riad Tounesy (Tunisia), Najib Bahri (Tunisia), Ammar Hayel (Yemen), Al Nujoom Debka Troupe (Palestine)
and, the Al Nujoom Debka Troupe 

Dancing, drums, jumping up and down, waving flags of Muslim it... "Muslim and Proud."

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A hard look at the "Pali" tables (lead by our local Commies) explained even more the absentee American Pride ...

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Never met a Commie proud of anything American.

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AND we now have Port-o-potties with "ablution troughs" (guess the sink inside wasn't going to handle the required washings)

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The Festival took place on a quiet street (only 1 block was closed off between Broadway and Lafayette) in the East Village. A block surrounded by NYU and just a stone's throw from Washington Square)

There were  lots of books...

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Here's a 'lovely' poems by  by Remi Kanazi

don’t call it genocide
we don’t want to offend anyone
if we offend them
they’ll never listen to us
we have to be reasonable
1,400 is just a number
no names
no death
we want peace and negotiations

don’t mention Zionism
if you mention Zionism
they’ll call you anti-Semitic
and people will believe them

don’t cite Palestinian sources
no one will believe you
I won’t believe you
trust Israeli sources

don’t ever be angry
if you’re angry
they’ll call you angry
if they’re angry
everyone will call them
understandably emotional

we have to be pragmatic
pragmatism is not euphemism
for concessions
although they may feel that way

don’t mention Allah or martyrs
it reminds them of al Qaeda and 9/11
it’s not your job to fix their ignorance

don’t talk about refugees
or a one-state solution
if we want to win
we have to compromise
the road to peace is just ahead

don’t make analogies that include
the Holocaust, Nazis, or the Warsaw Ghetto
only Israelis are allowed to do this
when discussing wars on
Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, and Iran

don’t mention Yaffa, Haifa, Safad
or where your family is from
but if you do
nod when random people say they love Israel
it doesn’t matter where you came from
you can’t go back

just don’t
and that will lead to doing

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Food (with some good ol' American corn-on-the-cob)

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And, of course, Sheesha & HOOKAHS! What's an Arab Festival without these cancer-causing "sheesha-smoking water-pipes."

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 Found a Muslim site that's not so enamored of this 'new' trend that Muslim males seems to lo-o-ve.  

They ask," Hookah / Sheesha (Shisha) Smoking: Safer than Cigarettes? Haram or Halal?"

Sheesha is the tobacco smoked. Described as, " a fruit molasses tobacco smoked in a hooka (kind of like a bong) that smells absolutely delicious. Comes in strawberry, apple, musk melon, etc."

And we are advised, " It's not very effective if you only take a few hits but still can be enough to get you high off your mind!" Wow....

Where's Mayor "no-smoking-in parks-and-beaches" Bloomberg now? So worried about our health, you think he'd have the smoking police out after this one. Supposedly it's all about the children (says he)

BOTTOM LINE: "If smoking cigarettes is harmful and haram, then hookah smoking is only worse."

Noticed one BIG omission. Not the 'norm' for NYC festivals and rallies. Very odd: WHERE were the ubiquitous NYC police? Not ONE police officer was anywhere to be seen at this festival. Nada.

The Festival went til 6 PM. Arrived around 1:30. Stayed about 45 minutes. Wondered, "When leaving the Columbus (Italian) and St. Paddy's Day (Irish) Parades and festivals, did such displays make me feel alienated from America or stronger?"  Wasn't feeling so wonderful on my way out of this one...

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Constantly reminded by "multi-culti's" that we're descendents of immigrants, shouldn't we be coming together as AMERICANS ? To celebrate OUR country with American Pride?

 Seeing this poster in the subway was actually encouraging:

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