The more optimistic commenters and contributors to this site have said often that the young people of this country will take the lead in exposing the pernicious relationship between the U.S. and Israeli governments. I am a doubter, but seeing the work of Amirah Nasir and Jesse Lieberfeld is making me think that as the late great New York Met manager Casey Stengel used to say about the Amazin’ Mets, “we will build the team with the youth of America.”
Yesterday after reading about 17-year-old Jesse Lieberfeld ‘s fine prize-winning essay that was published in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, I forwarded the essay to an email listserv for local Palestine/Israel activists. Lieberfeld is a high school student who expressed his disillusionment with his local Jewish community in regard to its blind acceptance of Israeli war crimes and suppression of the Palestinian people.
The first response to my forward was a post pointing to an equally impressive effort by another high school student, Amirah Nasir, who I assume is an Arab-American (Update: She's Pakistani but "a big Palestine supporter!"). (She may be this Amirah Nasir, who is a student at Palatine High School in Illinois and was one of 532 high school students to receive an Illinois State Scholars Award.) Ms. Nasir’s four-minute video, billed as a high school project, is titled, “Palestine: Truth & Hope” and is, like Lieberfeld’s essay, a meditation on the American people’s insane propensity to accept our government’s allegiance to Israel. The first half of the video is in the style of the Sana Kassem/Norman Finkelstein video that was posted here about a week ago.
What is startling about Nasir’s video is the use of the Kanye West lyrics which accompany the first part of her short film. West’s words are not about anything other than himself and his own success, but they are an uncanny fit here. The chanting of “it’s amazin’” juxtaposed with the images from Gaza are startling enough, but when you see the image of the IDF soldier pointing his rifle at the young Palestinian boy and hear the words, “I’m a monster, I’m a killer” you know the Kanye song is a direct hit.
Aside from the obvious uses of the lyrics in the video, my personal favorite is that West uses the Yiddish word for expert, or more literally knower, in the following:
I'm a monster, I'm a maven
I know this world is changin’
Never gave in, never gave up
I'm the only thing I'm afraid of
I've responded to the listserv that drew my attention to Amirah’s video with a suggestion that people should show our support for this brave young dissident by commenting on her youtube page and forwarding the video to others. I have started the ball rolling writing as “Madison Bill.”
In order to comment on youtube you must register with Google. It’s a pain, but think of the pain it is for a 17- year-old American of Arab descent to post this amazin’ video.