Fri. Apr 19th, 2019

The provocative truth of Jowan Safadi, the 'enfant terrible' of Palestinian rock

La verdad provocativa de Jowan Safadi, el ‘enfant terrible’ del rock palestino

The Palestinian-Israeli underground rock singer Jowan Safadi He was born in Nazareth 45 years ago and has become famous, and ultimately controversial, for writing lyrics considered scandalous both by the more recalcitrant Israeli bourgeois society and by the more conservative Arab. "I do not identify with anything I did not choose to be, such as being Palestinian or Arab or anything," he says at the beginning of Namrud, the problematic, the first full-length documentary by Fernando Romero Forsthuber, Sevillian director based in Vienna.

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The film is a journey through that free spirit that responds to the name of Safadi, a man without hairs on the tongue that charges against intolerance through his songs. "If the lyrics are very political you offend the Israelis, if you mess with religion, you offend the religious and if they talk about sex, the conservatives."

Jowan Safadi with his inseparable guitar

Jowan Safadi with his inseparable guitar

And all of this within the framework of a country, Israel, which is practically bothered every time it opens its mouth as a descendant of those close to 150,000 native Palestinians who could stay on their land when the State of Israel was created in 1948. Jowan has been investigated for "incitement to terrorism"; has been accused of blasphemy for the song "Poor infidels", arrested, fined and invited to leave for speaking openly of the confusion between two worlds: the occupation and religious fascism.

"Religion is a red line!", Comments one of the guests to a program to which the singer is interviewed, indignantly. But he proposes to think and debate without hesitation about it while others are drawing limits without the possibility of dialogue.

The film approaches the intimacy of Jowan sneaking into every corner of his home assuming alone the paternity of his teenage son, Don. So, we see him awaken affectionately to that kid who wants to leave school and who takes refuge in boxing waiting to be able to become a veterinarian one day. Both exchange opinions in perfect English and chat about the future walking along the beach with their dog Bandar. Safadi only wants that he and his people can feel safe in a place with possibilities to prosper without having to look down or shut up under the threat of hurt feelings.

Jowan with his son and his dog in a frame of the documentary

Jowan with his son and his dog in a frame of the documentary

The light invades this piece of forced viewing that invites a leisurely debate to understand a little more how one of the oldest and most complex territorial conflicts in the world is experienced in the skin of a committed artist who rebels against those monsters who try control your head.

We also see him talking with his mother, a woman who spends most of her time praying, and with her father, a tireless worker who pleads for a longed for peace without more victims along the way. There have already been enough for too many years. "You have to get out of the box. Do something that is not expected, "Jowan says, referring to the need to bring about changes that will come in the form of an issue that helps to strengthen ties between Palestinians and Israelis. The military operation 'Protective margin' with death requests to the Arabs awakens in him the need to address the Jewish public. It's been 20 years since he started singing alone in Arabic and the song protests Be Arab, sung in Hebrew, is an important step that manages to go viral. In it he reminds the Mizrají public of Israel that they were once Arabs, in a direct and simple message. "When the lie is mainstream, the truth is provocative," he maintains.

Through rage and complaint, the end of the video clip shows us an optimistic scenario where the author claims to shake hands in a true equality of conditions, with rights for all, not between occupied-occupants.

"My goal is not to succeed," he exclaims. He just wants to be a human without nationality, party, religion or identity. Together with his guitar and his voice, he turns freedom of expression into a flag. "I do not live in the State of Israel, but under its authority," he says. Safadi struggles in its own way against homophobia and fear, repression and injustice installed as a way of life. And music serves as an effective tool to not serve a system that aims to manipulate and condemn any critical position.

To that clamor have been added several artists such as Cesk Freixas, The Sey Sisters, Josep Valtònyc and Guillem Roma with the will to vindicate the freedom of expression that is implicit in all artistic creation. Namrud the problematic, which refers to the biblical character who built the Tower of Babel, is part of the Docs Barcelona of the month and is officially released this Thursday at Girona's cinemas in Girona at 7.30pm (C / Girona, 175). After the screening there will be a subsequent conversation via Skype with Fernando Romero Fersthuber.

My goal is not to succeed. I just want to be a human without nationality, party, religion or identity "

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