Sunday, December 16, 2007

"al-andalus without arab muslims"

just now i have been listening to a program on Public Radio International called, i think, "afro-pop." this segment deals with jewish music in africa. amazingly, the section on the restoration of christian monarchies' control over the entire iberian peninsula in 1492 makes not one mention of arabs or muslims, who were expelled and persecuted alongside the jews. likewise, the observation is made that jews lived and thrived in "al-andalus," in spain, from the 8th to the 15th century without a word to hint that "al-andalus" was an arab kingdom. and finally, no mention is made of either arab or islamic civilization in north africa, where most of these iberian jews sought refuge after the reconquest of spain. by using the name "north africa," the commentator is able to avoid the messy reality of history: that in iberia and north africa, jewish civilization intertwined with arab civilization. at the end of the segment, a moroccan jewish singer sings an algerian song. it is arab music, plain and simple. but the word is never spoken. the interconnectedness of the peoples of the middle east does not fit the mainstream media's neat and orderly narrative of "ancient hatreds" and other myths -- myths which are so profitable to the military-industrial complex.

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