The Children Are the Future
“Muslim history is full of characters and movements that seemed far out of the mainstream in their day, but that nevertheless helped bring about far-reaching changes in their societies” (LeVine, 2) Throughout history, music has been used to express the desire for change, for freedom. Music has become a mean though which oppressed groups communicate with society, at a domestic and international level. Although genres have changed, musical movements have always been the most influential way to instigate social change. The newest musical generation is inspired by previous musical idols; they will draw parallels between their struggles even if the origin is across the globe. In every generation, music is transform as a political tool that will bring about social change. The reason could be that music, no matter how underground or ‘radical’, it ends up being mainstream, leaving it open to the public. In the book Heavy Metal Islam: Rock, Resistance, and the Struggle for the Soul of Islam by Mark LeVine examines the influence of ‘Western’ influence, especially music, in the Muslim world and how the music movement has brought freedom of expression to an oppressed community. Throughout the book, LeVine demonstrates how the combination of political, social, and musical ideals have finally given people a way to fight the constant domination of violence and death in their lives. “The wide variety of music listened to by young people across MENA reveals that the Muslim world is as diverse as are its music scenes… “(LeVine, 5)
The one of the focus of LeVine is the importance of youth culture in the musical and political movement in the Middle East. It is clear that a big percent of the Middle East’s population is of a young age. The young population in these countries is part of a conflict that started many generations ago. They have learned to live in an area of constant danger, in their young lives they have not been able to express freely or to live without fear. All these oppressive factors have led youth movements through the Middle East to search for methods through which they can express their discontent not only within their society but also to the international audience as well. Why is youth involvement important in the Middle East struggle? Young generations have, not been deeply exposed to the beliefs that have created the conflict; all they have in their minds is the future. Their main concern is the future, what kind of world will their children have. Youth have no concern for the past; though they do sustain some traditions, the promise of a better future seems like a more tangible goal, than fixing the past. The New York Times released a series of interviews of young Arabs and their opinions about the conflict in the Middle East. One of the interviewees is Mousheera Abu Shmas where she declares, “I think this is the time for the youth to take matters into their own hands.” Mousheera argues the importance of Arab youth that because of their young age they are more open to new philosophies. Their knowledge of the modern world makes them the perfect conduct for change to happen. The young population has the desire of a better situation; this willingness makes them their own liberators. Another of the interviewees is Muhammad al-Zawam, he states an almost responsive view about the participation of Arab youth in Libya’s revolution, “We started this revolution for the sake of the coming generation… This revolution is not for me.” Regardless of his young age, Muhammad claims that their efforts are driven by the hope of making their countries a better place. He acknowledges that change takes time, and he embraces the fact that change will not happen for him to experience it, yet he wants future generations to not struggle the way his did. In contrast to these opinions from political active young Arabs, LeVine follows a cultural and artistic driven revolution movement. Even though, young musicians...
Cited: Aidi, Hisham. “Muslim youth culture in ‘Rebel Music’.” Youtube. Youtube, 21 Aug. 2014. Web. 11 Nov. 2014
Al-Zawam, Muhammad. “A New Arab Generation Finds Its Voice”. New York Times. 2011. Web.
LeVine, Mark. “Heavy Metal Islam: Rock, Resistance, and the struggle for the Soul of Islam”. New York: Broadway Books, 2008. Print
Shmas Abu, Mousheera. “A New Arab Generation Finds Its Voice”. New York Times. 2011. Web.
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