Listen: Rapping amid Palestine’s ruins

Kareem, the protagonist of a new feature film about a Palestinian hip-hop artist, embodies “the sequel to what happened in the Nakba,” said Tamer Nafar, who co-wrote and stars in Junction 48.

The character Kareem, Nafar told The Electronic Intifada, was inspired by his own life. Nafar is an emcee in the hip-hop trio DAM.

Like Nafar, Kareem is a rising star living in Lydd, a city near Tel Aviv in present-day Israel. 

Lydd was the site of one of the worst episodes in the Nakba, the 1948 ethnic cleansing of Palestine. In July of that year, some 50,000 Palestinians were driven out of the town by Zionist militias and expelled to the West Bank. 

Nearly 70 years later, residents continue to resist discriminatory Israeli policies targeting Palestinians and their homes in Lydd.

The ongoing oppression and displacement of Palestinians inside Israel – what Palestinians call ‘48 – inspires the storyline of Junction 48.

Nafar and director Udi Aloni understood that to properly depict life in Lydd, and the characters’ conflicts, the continuing trauma of the Nakba would have to be prominently featured. 

“In order for us to deliver a true universal message, we have to be extremely particular in the details of what Lydd is,” Aloni told The Electronic Intifada. “What it [means] to be a Palestinian within Israel, who we call 48ers, what is this place that you live [in], the apartheid that is not so obvious to the people outside of Israel.” 

Read more about the film here

Listen to the full interview with Tamer Nafar and Udi Aloni via the media player above.

Theme music by Sharif Zakout

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Nora Barrows-Friedman

Nora Barrows-Friedman's picture

Nora Barrows-Friedman is a staff writer and associate editor at The Electronic Intifada, and is the author of In Our Power: US Students Organize for Justice in Palestine (Just World Books, 2014).