Middle East

This is a bit sad-making. Not least because Ofra Haza is no longer with us, of course, but mostly because not much has changed since she first sang so upliftingly about bringing unity to the Middle East. The Israeli-born singer used her music to represent her own background and Middle Eastern traditions across the cultural divide. She worked hard to be a cultural ambassador for the region, and musically at least, she was able to bring Hebrew, Muslim and Christian together. She certainly succeeded in bringing Middle Eastern music to the West. She was one of the first non-Western performers to achieve truly global popularity. Bringing diversity to pop music is a great achievement, and raising consciousness about political issues can be a big part of a popular star’s impact. But even the most inspiring songs fall short of the kind of power needed to make real political change. Ofra Haza was hoping for healing and unity, and did her best to promote those things, but it wasn’t enough, and today we still take it for granted that the Middle East is ten different kinds of screwed up, and go about our way. Ofra Haza wondered what to do about terrorism in 1989. If she were here today, she would be disappointed to still be wondering the same thing.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s