M1 of dead prez on Six-City Speaking Tour on Gaza
By Aaris A. Schroeder
M1, one part of political hip-hop duo dead prez has been on a speaking tour, “From the Ghetto to Gaza;” in an effort to educate Americans about his experience and the reality of what is going on in the region, Sept. 23-29, ‘09 throughout Northern-CA visiting Oakland, San Francisco, San Jose, Santa Cruz and Sonoma County, starting off in Sacramento at the Capitol Garage, a café-style venue that is known for hip-hop and reggae events.
The cost to hear M1 speak was only $5 at the door and benefited local Hip-Hop Congress Community Chapter for Sacramento as well as S.F. Bay View Newspaper and BlockReportRadio.com. M1’s goals are to stop the war that is at hand in the Middle-East and help the poor and oppressed people of the world, he says.
“The main purpose of the tour is to politically educate our community about what is happening on a international scale. The Block Report, the Bay View and dead prez have international world views,” says [Prison of Conscious Community] P.O.C.C. Minister of Information JR.
M1 was to meet up with others to begin a caravan in Cairo through the Gaza strip to provide resources to people who had been held under an Israeli embargo. Once the caravan arrived at their hotel, there were Egyptian government agents who were told to “follow and document every word and action taken by the Viva Palestina group” according to M1.
According to M1 the government wasn’t making it easy for his group, which included British Parliamentarian George Galloway, organizer of the mission, Green Party presidential nominee who ran against Barak Obama; Cynthia McKinney who was previously arrested and jailed by the Israeli government for seven days and freed by the Lebanese; Charles Barron, former Black Panther and emcees S.O.U.L. Purpose of the U.S. and Iran and Lowkey of Britain to obtain entrance to Palestine. The agents made it nearly impossible for the group to leave the hotel room and also, according to M1 relieved them of “thousands of dollars and pounds” of humanitarian aid, including mattresses, medical supplies, school supplies, books and more without the caravan’s knowledge. Finally, the group was allotted only 24 hours to be in and out of Gaza and told not to bring supplies.
Palestinians were not allowed to leave Cairo nor could they have access from the Gaza Strip on the other side. M1 explained how it made him feel, seeing families at the border’s checkpoint, trying to cross the border. “Cairo is one of the dirtiest cities you have ever seen in your entire life,” says M1.
“Hip-hop is strong in the Middle-East. They don’t encourage hip-hop to be said or done, it just happens,” says M1 who explains that the government doesn’t control hip-hop so it is a true underground movement.
“Hip-hop is the right wing of the state [in the U.S.], including hip-hop media – except for Hip-Hop Congress,” says M1 who tells Hip-Hop Congress that they can help out by creating events in an effort to spread knowledge about what is going down in Palestine.
“A lot of people think they know what is going on,” says M1 who also reports that a lot of hip-hop artists want to make songs about what is going on but it is hard to when they haven’t experienced it first hand. He gave the example of Sean Bell being gunned down in Queens, NY and not understanding the dynamic of the secret police force.
M1 and others realized they were only there to do public relations for the Gaza Government. He also states that their government was to parade around English and American citizens in a media effort. M1 believes that the government that runs Gaza is not the best government for Palestine.
“I found that Hamas was very aggressive [and] uses fear [to control its people],” according to M1.
“I thought to myself [that we were] giving goods and services to the people, in reality, we were giving it to the government,” says M1 who didn’t want to parade around helping Palestine and then to have U.S. media report that they helped a terrorist country.
In the end, the group was able to drop off the supplies to the people of Gaza and then returned home.
“I want to be able to tell the truth from a revolutionary perspective,” says M1.