[Breakingthesilence] No one expects an apology from the W.Essex Zapatista

paki.tv at cyber-rights.net paki.tv at cyber-rights.net
Dim 10 Oct 15:50:07 CEST 2004


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Having considered Kev's e-mail, I suddenly realised that Asim and I had
been treaing him in exactly the way we ourselves object to. Some time
ago Kev raised the issue of homophobia in relation to Dancehall music
and the Inverted Coconuts set at the proposed Cultural program in Resnik.

In the event, the Resnik crew were starved of funds, had no insurance
and the whole event was shut down by the police. You might not be aware
of the bad feeling this caused. We even had a dispute with someone we
had travelled down with from London, who insisted that we should not
use the collective travel fund to go five kilometres down the road from
Jajinci to Resnik - this pennypinching meanness was after a collective
discussion where we had concluded that we would be going to whatever
venue we considered appropriate. We couldn't be bothered to argue about
the issue at the time, but it did considerable sour the atmosphere.

However we made very welcome in Resnik and participated in what turned
into more of a neoist apartment festival than a cultural programme. This
was in great contrast to the Jajinci site, where we are sad to report
some people from Eastern Europe left early because they did not have
enough money to pay for food and were called parasites.
(see www.aloofhosting.com/realpga/)

Anyway, whilst staying there we had a very usefull discussion precisely
about homophobia and Dancehall music. I am afriad it's been a bit of
a while but I shall attempt to summarise it from memory.

We find ourselves enjoying music which has reactionary lyrics, such as
Oi music and Dancehall. Usually this music is made by or for young men
who feel excluded from mainstream society, but respond by attacking other
people who are even more marginalised than themselves. In Jamaica, things
are perhaps more intense than elsewhere, in that homophobia is pandemic
there.

We found parallels between the Caribbean and the Serbian situation. Both
have a strong Orthodox Christian culture embued with a sense of nationalist
redemption. The Orthodox (Serbian) massacres of Catholics (Croats) have
been very extensive, and most people are aware that they were a particularly
brutal part of civil war in Yugoslavia (along with other examples of
ethnic cleansing). There have been similar attacks in the Caribbean such
as the burning down of a Catholic church and murder of a nun following
a Capleton concert in St Lucia.

However we should not see Orthodox Christianity as the centre of the
problem though. Caribbean and Serbian society have also suffered from
slavery, indeed slaves were being sold in Belgrade after the British
had banned the slave trade in the British caribbean. One of the issue
raised about homosexuality in Jamaica is that rape was used a method
of breaking down the sense of self of enslaved African men as well as
women.

When we went on the electricians road block our Serbian friends told
us when the music was playing nationalist music and when it was playing
homophobic music.

All the comrades in Resnik were aware of the problem and felt that producing
their own music as a form of propaganda through the Black Block Musical
Propaganda Machine.

I am sorry it has taken so long to report back to you on this, but I
have to admit we were a bit put off by your suggestion that it should
be a Serbian person who spoke to them about this issue. We found all
the Resnik crew very open people, most with very good English who took
these issues seriously.

We hope this clarifies the issue for you. On a personal note, I live
a few hundred yards from the London Arena, where the MOBO awards were
given a couple of years ago. Gay rights activists protested the participation
of homophobic dancehall artists. Both Asim and myself were subjected
to homophobic abuse at that time, and a couple of weeks later the riot
police came unto the estate where I live to quell an anti-gay disturbance.
Only one victim of the mob was hospitalised. Sometimes it happens that
activists do not properly understand the impact of their interventions
on the community in which they intrude.

Fabian
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