Middle East Research and Information Project: Critical Coverage of the Middle East Since 1971

The collapse of the Berlin Wall has forced Western Europe to rethink its identity. In the past its conception of itself as a haven of democracy and civilization depended in part on a contrast to the evils of the Communist bloc. Today there is a revived notion of Europe as “Christendom,” in contradistinction to “Islam.” This time, unlike the period preceding Columbus’ project, the Islam in question is not being held back at the frontier (Spain, the Balkans). Today new “minority” populations of Muslim background have penetrated Europe’s very core. Europeans’ anxiety about their identity, and their sense of cultural and economic siege by Muslim immigrants within has emerged as one of the most contentious issues on the continent. [1]

Juan Goytisolo savagely lampoons this hysteria about “foreigners” in his hilariously provocative novel, Landscapes After the Battle. The book opens with the inexplicable appearance of unintelligible scrawls on the walls of the Parisian neighborhood of Le Sentier. [2] At first the natives assume the marks are the secret language of a gang of kids, but then someone spots a man with “kinky black hair” inscribing the mysterious messages. The natives conclude that the scrawls are written in a real alphabet — but backwards — and are the handiwork of “those foreigners who, in ever increasing numbers, were stealthily invading the decrepit buildings abandoned by their former tenants and offering their labor to the well-heeled merchants of Le Sentier.” Then one morning a working-class native of Le Sentier drops in at his local bar for a pick-me-up, only to discover that the sign identifying his tavern has been replaced by one written in that incomprehensible script. Wandering through the neighborhood, he is horrified to find that every sign — the Rex cinema’s marquee, McDonalds, street signs, the placard on the district mayor’s office — has been changed. Even the sign outside the office of the newspaper of “the glorious Party of the working class,” L’Humanite, is now al-Insaniyya. A catastrophic, cacophonous traffic jam has broken out, for neither drivers nor traffic police can decipher the street signs. “Trying to hide his laughter, a swarthy-skinned youngster with kinky hair purveyed his services as guide to whichever helpless soul bid the highest.” “Colonized by those barbarians!” the unnerved Le Sentier native thinks to himself.

Goytisolo’s 1982 send-up of the French immigres nightmare seems remarkably prescient today. French antipathy is particularly virulent when it comes to the “foreigners” from North Africa who write in that “backward” script. France has never come to terms with its colonial history and its bloody war against the Algerian national liberation struggle, which cost 1 million Arab lives. From the frenzied reactions of so many white French men and women, one might imagine that colonialism was a generous project, and that the Arabs in France have no cause to complain about poverty and racism.

So severe are French apprehensions about the immigrés that during the 1989 “hijab affair” (when female Franco-Maghribi lycee students demanded the right to wear Islamic headscarves), the media successfully welded the signifiers “immigrant,” “Muslim fundamentalist” and “invasion,” creating the specter of an Islamic France. [3] President Francois Mitterrand asserted that the country had gone beyond “the threshold of tolerance,” and ex-president Valery Giscard d’Estaing warned of a foreign “invasion.” [4] These opinions of the political elite are widely shared: A 1991 government survey indicated that 71 percent of the French populace think there are too many Arabs in the country, while another 1991 poll showed that more than 30 percent of the electorate supported Jean-Marie Le Pen’s far-right National Front platform calling for the expulsion of immigrés. [5] Former Prime Minister Jacques Chirac, mayor of Paris and leader of the right-wing Rally for the Republic, expressed his sympathy for the decent French working people being driven “understandably crazy” by the “noise and smell” of foreigners. [6]

“Noise and smell” — music and cuisine — are important vehicles through which “foreigners” maintain and construct distinctive identities in France. Probably the most well-known type of “Arab noise” heard in the Franco-Maghribi community is rai music, a genre which began reaching US audiences via alternative radio and nightclubs in the late 1980s and is part of a growing world music phenomenon.

Rai from Bordello to Banlieue

Rai developed in western Algeria during the 1920s, when rural migrants pouring into the growing cities of the west, particularly the permissive port town of Oran, brought their music with them. Rai became a mainstay of Orani nightlife in taverns, brothels and cabarets, and was also played on festive occasions like weddings. Unlike other Algerian musical forms, rai performances were associated with dancing, usually in mixed-gender settings. Although from the 1930s until the early 1960s rai artists often sang about social issues, including the national liberation struggle, their standard subjects were wine, love and the problems and pleasures of marginal life. After independence, rai performances were confined primarily to domestic spaces and the demimonde, as a chill descended over public culture with Houari Boumedienne’s state-sponsored puritanism. But when President Chadli Benjedid loosened moral constraints in 1979, rai emerged from the shadows and gained national popularity as its sounds, recording techniques and instrumentation were modernized. [7] When cassette sales of the new “pop” rai took off, producers demanded more risque lyrics from rai singers, in the belief that the music’s marketability depended on its libertine heritage. [8] Cheikha Remitti, for instance, sang:

Oh my love, to gaze upon you is a sin,
It’s you who makes me break my fast.
Oh lover, to gaze upon you is a sin,
It’s you who makes me “eat” during Ramadan.

And she chanted: “When he embraces me, he pricks me like a snake,” and “People adore God, I adore beer.” [9] As the music gained popularity among disaffected Algerian youth, the government attempted to suppress it, banning it from the airwaves and denouncing it as “illiterate” and lacking in “artistic merit.”

In France, meanwhile, “pop” rai became one of the chief means of cultural expression for a minority struggling to carve out an identity in a racist environment. Salah Eddine Bariki’s 1984 study of radio stations serving Franco-Maghribis in Marseilles (which has the largest concentration of Arabs in France) provides an interesting instance of rai’s uses and the hybrid processes of Franco-Maghribi identity formation. [10] The most popular radio programming, he discovered, was during Ramadan Nights, the evenings of celebration following daytime fasting during the holy month, when listeners stayed up late and called the stations to request songs, tell jokes, debate politics or religion, or discuss the meaning of Ramadan for North Africans in France. Almost all callers chose to speak Musulman, their name for the Arabic spoken in France. Most of the Maghribi radio audience Bariki surveyed admitted to drinking alcohol, few condemned mixed (Muslim-Christian or Muslim-Jewish) marriages, about a third had eaten pork, and less than half fasted during Ramadan. But many made a special effort to buy halal meat (slaughtered according to strict Islamic precepts) during the holidays, while a large number claimed they did not drink alcohol for 40 days prior to the holy month (a practice invented by immigrants).

The callers described Ramadan Nights radio programming as a nostalgic return to an ambiance resembling what they had heard of or remembered about Ramadan celebrations in the home country — a time of good food and pleasant relations between parents and children. The evenings of North African entertainment reduced the burden of exile by establishing a mood of community closeness. By far the most common way that listeners reaffirmed their ethnic presence was to call the station to dedicate a song to a relative or friend. And the near unanimous choice of callers during Ramadan in the early 1980s was the Algerian “king of rai,” Cheb Khaled.

The fact that Arabs of Marseilles looked to Cheb Khaled for comfort and solace during Ramadan underscores the complicated and contradictory nature of North African ethnic identity in France. Ever since his career began in the mid-1970s, Cheb Khaled has cultivated the image of a swaggering, dissolute and worldly cabaret singer. “When I sing rai,” Khaled says, “I talk about things directly; I drink alcohol; I love a woman; I am suffering. I speak to the point…. I like Julio Iglesias…but he just sings about women, whereas [I sing] about alcohol, bad luck and women.” [11]

These are not the sentiments normally associated with Ramadan observance in Arab-Islamic countries, but are consistent with rai’s heritage in Algeria. According to Rocine Benkheira, in Algeria during the mid-1980s Cheb Khaled typically opened his concerts with a song about the Prophet Muhammad, then proceeded to sing about drink and women. The Algerian audience danced whether Khaled’s subject was whiskey or the Prophet; no one considered this blasphemous. [12] Such attitudes are congruent with the cultural life in a tolerant country where, despite official puritanism and growing Islamism, mosque attendance remains comparatively low and alcohol is consumed in open view at the numerous taverns of central Algiers and Oran. [13]

In the mid-1980s, rai in France began to break out of strictly “ethnic” space when it gained greater public visibility due to an upsurge of Franco-Arab struggles against racism and the burgeoning Parisian world music scene. Rai was featured at multicultural concerts sponsored by SOS-Racisme, a multi-ethnic anti-racist organization established in 1985 to counter escalating anti-Arab violence and to channel the militancy of young Franco-Maghribis. The music gained recognition as a token of ethnic identity for militant beurs (as second-generation Maghribi residents in France were known), as well as winning over a white audience sympathetic to the anti-racist struggle. The genre’s successes in France were one reason why the Algerian government finally stopped suppressing rai in 1985. The same rai producers who once promoted bawdy lyrics now vigorously cleaned them up to make the music palatable to a wider audience. Some sectors of the state bureaucracy promoted rai as an antidote to a growing Islamist trend. [14] But by 1990, Islamist campaigns against rai caused several of its stars (Cheb Khaled, Cheb Mami, Chaba Fadela and Cheb Sahraoui) to relocate in France. Paris became a major rai center, and rai artists began to win an international audience via world music circuits.

Defining Franco-Maghribis

Who is the Franco-Maghribi audience for “Arab noise”? Although French racist discourse lumps all Arabs into a single category, they are in fact a heterogeneous group encompassing Algerians, Moroccans and Tunisians; Arabs and Berbers; “legal” non-citizen residents, citizens and “illegals”; and immigrants and their offspring born in France. An estimated 700,000 Algerian “foreigners” (non-citizens), 575,000 Moroccans and 230,000 Tunisians live in France. Tens of thousands (no one knows for sure) of North Africans reside there without legal permission. Another million French citizens are thought to be of Maghribi origin. [15]

Franco-Maghribis born in France now reject the designation beurs, preferring “Franco-Algerians,” “French Arabs” or “youths originating in North-African immigration” (jeunes issues de l’immigration maghrebine). The bulk of the Franco-Maghribi population, immigrants and beurs, resides in multi-ethnic ghettos — the suburbs, or banlieues — ringing French cities. The loci of the “immigrant problem” is in these modernist architectural nightmares, bleak zones of high-rise apartments with minimal public facilities, substandard schooling and excessive unemployment (70 percent of the children of immigrants in Lyons between the ages of 16 and 25 are unemployed). [16] The banlieues’ spatial marginalization reflects an economic trend towards an ethnicized labor force and increased dependence on undocumented and “reserve” labor in an era of “flexible specialization.” [17]

Franco-Maghribi cultural orientations are also heterogeneous. Moroccan sociologist Adil Jazouli provides a useful map of the various trajectories: the assimilationist, the delinquent, the ethno-nationalist and the hybrid. The assimilationists change their names from Karima to Karine or Boubker to Bob and practice a kind of hyper-conformism to French societal norms. This tendency has given rise to organizations like France-Plus, an electoral pressure group pushing for Franco-Maghribi electoral representation on all party tickets (except Le Pen’s National Front). In the municipal elections of 1989, France-Plus managed to get 390 beurs elected, in contrast to only 12 in 1983. [18] France-Plus, which lacks a social base in the banlieues, is often seen as representing the interests of the “beurgeoisie.” [19] Its chief competitor is SOS-Racisme, which is anti-racist but takes assimilationist positions and likewise enjoys little support in the banlieues. A media-savvy organization with ties to the Socialist Party, SOS-Racisme’s platform of diffuse “multiculturalism” has blunted the distinctly Maghribi thrust of the anti-racist struggle. [20] The second group — the delinquents — are young Franco-Maghribis from the banlieues who seem incapable of fashioning coherent identities, who feel trapped between two distinct cultural poles, neither of which can accommodate them. Denied decent educations or regular employment, they are best known for their random acts of violence and petty criminality. [21] The third segment, the militant ethno-nationalists, affirm allegiance to an Arab or Berber sociocultural universe premised on an eventual return to the homeland. In the meantime they seek to create an autonomous and separate social space, while having minimal contact with (white) French. Also included in this category are the militant Islamists. The hybrids are young Franco-Maghribis who embrace cultural diversity and attempt to fashion a positive, syncretic, minority identity out of their “in-betweenness.” Their slogan is le droit a l’ambiguite. [22] This group attempts to forge a new identity, fusing elements from French and Arab culture.

North African music offers important channels of public communication for each of these marginalized groups who have few formal institutional channels at their command. Rai has been a means of articulating desires to belong to a collectivity within France that shares a tolerant Arab-Islamic ethno-national identity. Moreover, rai mobilizes a cultural sensibility that is simultaneously Arab, modern and socially progressive. The secular character of rai lyrics and performances reflects a general trend toward secularization of Franco-Maghribi sociocultural life. Religion has become another form of ethnic identification, like holidays, cuisine, language and music. Islamist mobilization in France is actually quite limited. By some estimates, only 5 percent of the “potential” Islamic population are actually practicing Muslims, although Islamic practices like Ramadan are widely, if rather idiosyncratically, observed. [23] Rai singers like Cheb Khaled articulate the younger generation’s rebellion against the constraining mores of the older generation and the Islamists:

I am against Islamic fundamentalists. Young people want to progress. Even now, I can’t smoke in front of my father, not even a cigarette. Young people who want to speak with a girl or live with her can’t talk about it with their parents. In rai music, people can express themselves. We break taboos. That’s why fundamentalists don’t like what we’re doing. [24]

From Rai to Rap

Recently, rai in France has followed various tracks. The “beurgeoisie” and their white liberal and Socialist allies tend to sponsor Arab music concerts and festivals to celebrate the “authentic” culture or folklore of “the people.” Such strategies disguise the “beurgeoisie’s” lack of a social base in the banlieues. Among the Franco-Maghribi masses, rai today is primarily the music of choice for recent immigrants and older beurs. Rai performers who tour the communities mainly play to modest audiences at local dance halls and weddings.

The signal exception is Cheb Khaled, who after years of performing rai for adoring Franco-Maghribi audiences, has begun to “cross over” into the French pop scene. His latest album Khaled (Barclay) features an impressive range and melange of styles, from “folk” and “pop” rai to funk beats, reggae riddims, flamenco stylings and Stephane Grappelli-flavored violin. This spring, Khaled’s hit single “Didi” was “heating up all the dance floors” in France. [25] The “Didi” video, shot in rapid-fire MTV style, blends images of Moorish wood screens, Sufi dancing and the latest hip-hop moves. Khaled’s new crossover commercial appeal is demonstrated by the fact that “Didi” made the Top 10 in the call-in vote for “Hip Hip Hourah,” M6-TV’s music video program, in May 1992.

While Khaled invades the mainstream and other rai artists work the local immigré circuit, it is rap that has emerged as the musical expression of the new generation of Franco-Maghribi youth. They regard “Arab” music like rai (or Kabyle and other Algerian genres) as an important, if somewhat dated, part of their minority heritage, while increasingly viewing rap as the key vehicle for articulating their complex identity. Rap offers a means of expression in French, which minority youth inflect with hip street argot, frankaoui, and African-Americanisms. Rap’s stance vis-a-vis white French society is aggressively confrontational and allows banlieue French youth to feel connected with oppositional “black” culture throughout the world. But rappeurs and rappeuses have not turned their backs on Arab heritage: Malek Sultan, the Algerian member of I AM, France’s most famous rap group, chants in “Do the Rai Thing”: “Cheb Khaled…C’est le Public Enemy Arabe.” [26]

The rap/hip-hop/graffiti culture of the banlieues is also increasingly associated in French racist discourse with criminality — gangs, drugs, welfare scrounging and the violence thought to inhere in immigrant culture. The right-wing press suggests that the big (immigrant) drug dealers of Marseille are using profits from heroin sales to finance “certain Arab movements in France.” [27] The Socialist establishment tries to coopt rap. “Le rap, le graff [graffiti]; I believe in this generation,” claims Culture Minister Jack Lang, who invited rappers to perform at a prime minister’s garden party for National Assembly members. [28] But it is unlikely that commercial success or attempts to mainstream will soon tone down the messages of rappers like MC Solaar: “Ce monde est caca, pipi, cacapipi-taliste.” [29]

Both rap and rai are vehicles through which Franco-Maghribis identify simultaneously with French and Arab cultures and resist French ethnocentrism and Algerian conservatism. Yet the pressures from both sides often seem overwhelming. Memories of French racist violence, colonial and post-colonial, remain vivid: for instance, the 300 Algerian immigrants killed in Paris in October 1961. Protesters carried the photo of Habib Grimzi, an Algerian who died after being tossed from a speeding train by French soldiers in November 1983, at the head of the 100,000-strong December 1983 march on Paris. The racist violence, moreover, has increased. The position of Franco-Maghribis was particularly vulnerable during the Gulf war, when French newspaper headlines howled about “The Arab Threat in France” and “Arab Terrorism in France,” and Giscard d’Estaing’s ex-interior minister, Michel Poniatowski, suggested the mass expulsion of immigrants. [30] A poll in Le Figaro taken during the war showed that 70 percent of all French “Muslims” (i.e., Arabs) feared they would become targets of terrorist attacks, and more than half felt that the war could lead France to deport Muslim immigrants. [31]

Meanwhile, hybrid cultural forms have been under attack in Algeria, where conservative forces consider music like rai not merely “noise” but “illicit” and “immoral.” In March 1991, the Algerian Islamist party, the Front Islamique du Salut (Islamic Salvation Front, or FIS) mounted a vigorous campaign against the public performance of music (rai and other genres) during Ramadan. On March 21, 1991, 14 persons were injured in Algiers when young Islamists, attempting to torch a performance hall and stop a concert, clashed with police. A few days later, crowds led by FIS militants threw bottles and stones at another concert audience, injuring several fans. An anti-rai plank was a central part of FIS’s electoral platform in December 1991. [32] Franco-Maghribi writer Mohamed Kacimi attended a Friday prayer service in late 1990 at an Algiers mosque in which FIS second-in-command Ali Benhadj delivered the following speech: “As for the secularists, pseudo-democrats, atheists, feminists and francophones, and other evil-doers [suppots de Satan], the day when we gain power we’ll put boats at their disposal which will take them to their motherland, France.” The crowd at the mosque, Kacimi reports, was entranced. Given such hostility to hybridity in France and Algeria, where, he wondered, should the Franco-Maghribis go? [33]

El Harba Wayn?

Kacimi’s question recalls Cheb Khaled’s celebrated song of alienated fury “El Harba Wayn?” (To Flee but Where?), taken up as an anthem by Algerian youths during the violent urban insurgencies of October 1988 which resulted in some 500 deaths. [34] The song goes:

Where has youth gone?
Where are the brave ones?
The rich gorge themselves,
The poor work themselves to death,
The Islamic charlatans show their true face.
So what’s the solution? We’ll check it out.
You can always cry or complain
Or escape…but where?
The good times are gone,
With their celebrations and prosperity.
Baraka has fled
And selfishness destroyed solidarity…
Where in this organized chaos
Are the men of yesteryear
And the proud women?
Youth no longer answers,
This life is nothing to smile about.
Let’s stop saying: everything’s all right…
Gold has turned into worthless lead
Whose cover stifles all understanding…
There’s only flight…but where?

Rai is one line of flight, a cultural border zone of syncretism and creative interminglings of French and Arab. At once “ethnic” and French, rai is a front in a wider cultural struggle that “despite racist opposition” is recasting French national identity, performing a kind of genetic mutation of French culture. While the “beurgeoisie” enters the political structures, the cultural arena is full of dynamic examples of popular Franco-Maghribi practices of “inter-culturation” which problematize dominant Eurocentric notions of what it means to be French. [35] Khaled has hit the pop charts with music that combines the Maghribi drumbeats of the derbouka with African-American funk. Dazibao, an acid-rock band, sings in Arabic and performs with a smoke machine. Jimmy Oihid croons in blues and jazz-funk styles, and his concerts include a song for the Palestinians. Carte de Sejour (“residence card”), a band of Franco-Maghribi rockers, sing in French and Arabic and play guitar riffs tinged with subtle arabesques. Rappers like I AM and Human Spirit mix reggae, Nigerian highlife, African-American beats and Arab melodic strains. Amina, France’s most famous pop musician of North African (Tunisian) origin, was the nation’s representative at the 1991 Eurovision contest (a decidedly mainstream affair). She sings cabaret ballads and disco-funk in French and Arabic, backed by Euro-French, West African, North African and Israeli musicians. “I will continue preaching for the mixture of cultures,” Amina proclaims. “The more hybridization we have, the less we’ll hear about claims to [a pure] culture.” [36]

Maybe one day the “decent” people in France will be those who listen avidly to the sounds of Cheb Khaled or I AM’s Malek Sultan, and who consider the speeches of Le Pen and Chirac to be obnoxious “noise.” Maybe one day its natives will decipher the graffiti, and learn that L’Humanite and al-Insaniyya are synonyms.

Endnotes

[1] David Morley and Kevin Robins, “No Place Like Heimat. Images of Home(land) in European Culture,” New Formations 12 (1990).
[2] Juan Goytisolo, Landscapes After the Battle (trans. Helen Lane) (New York: Seaver Books, 1987).
[3] Andre Koulberg, L’Affaire du voile islamique: Comment perdre une bataille symbolique (Marseille: Fenetre Sur Cour, 1991), shows that in the media onslaught the fact that 48 percent of French Muslims opposed wearing the hijab was ignored (p. 34).
[4] New York Times, May 27, 1990; Paul-Marie de la Gorce, “Chirac joue du tam-tam,” Jeune Afrique, July 3-9, 1991; Daniel Singer, “Le Pen’s Pals: Blood and Soil,” The Nation, December 23, 1991.
[5] The government survey also found that 24 percent think there are too many Jews in France (Le Monde, March 22, 1991). For the second poll, see New York Times, December 1, 1991. A March 1992 report by the National Consultative Commission on the Rights or Man found that nearly half of the French expressed open antipathy toward North Africans, while 40 percent claimed to dislike the beurs (Fedrigot Olivier, Minute-La France, April 8-14, 1992, p. 15).
[6] Washington Post, July 12, 1991; Stuart Hall, “Europe’s Other Self,” Marxism Today (August 1991), p. 18.
[7] See David McMurray and Ted Swedenburg, “Rai Tide Rising,” Middle East Report 169 (March-April 1991); Marie Virolle-Souibes, “Le rai entre resistance et recuperation” Revue d’etudes du monde musulman et mediterraneen 51 (1989), pp. 51-52.
[8] Virolle-Souibes, p. 59.
[9] Marie Virolle-Souibes, “Le ray, cote femmes: Entre alchimie de la douleur et spleen sans ideal, quelques fragments de discours hedonique,” Peuples Mediterraneens 44-45 (1988), pp. 208, 211, 214.
[10] “Identite religieuse, identite culturelle en situation immigree,” in Jean-Robert Henry et al, Nouveaux enjeux culturels au maghreb (Paris: Editions du CNRS, 1986), pp. 427-445.
[11] Banning Eyre, “A King in Exile: The Royal Rai of Cheb Khaled,” Option 39 (July-August 1991), p. 44; Jean-Francois Bizot, “Sex and Soul in the Maghreb,” The Face 98 (May-June 1988), pp. 88-89.
[12] Bocine Benkheira, “De la musique avant toute chose: Remarques sur le rai,” Peuples Mediterraneens 35-36 (April-September 1986), p. 176.
[13] Arun Kapil, “Algeria’s Elections Show Islamist Strength,” Middle East Report 166 (September-October 1990), p. 36.
[14] Among those involved in the cleanup was Rachid Baba, producer of one of the most acclaimed rai releases marketed in the US, Rai Rebels. See Virolle-Souibes, “Le rai entre resistance,” p. 60; Benkheira, p. 177.
[15] Pierre Lanier, Les nouveaux visages de l’immigration (Lyon: Chronique Sociale, 1991), pp. 16-17. An indication of the number of “illegal” residents in France is the fact that 131,000 came forward to claim citizenship when an amnesty for undocumented residents was proclaimed in 1981 (Lanier, p. 14).
[16] Some beurs are French citizens, some are foreigners and others binationals. Algerian children born in France after January 1, 1963 automatically received French citizenship, while those born before this date remain Algerian citizens. See Azouz Begag, “The ‘Beurs,’ Children of North-African Immigrants in France: The Issue of Integration” Journal of Ethnic Studies 18/1 (1990), pp. 4, 6.
[17] Sami Nair, Le regard des vainquers: Les enjeux franqais de l’immigration (Paris: Bernard Grasset, 1992), pp. 39-46.
[18] Begag, p. 9.
[19] Farid Aychoune, “Une mouvance en questions,” Qantara 3 (April-June 1992), p. 15.
[20] Adil Jazouli, Les annees banlieues (Paris: editions du Seuil, 1992); Farid Archoune, Nes en banlieue (Paris: Editions Ramsay, 1991).
[21] Majid’s gang in Mehdi Charef’s Tea in the Harem (trans. Ed Emery) (London: Serpent’s Tail, 1989) is reminiscent of this tendency. This group provides the media with suspects whenever violence erupts in the banlieues. See, for instance, Patricia Tourancheau’s report on the March 1991 Sartrouville riots (Liberation, March 30-31, 1991) and Paul Moreira on the November 1990 Vaulx-en-Velin riots (Le Monde Diplomatique, December 1990).
[22] Adil Jazouli, La nouvelle generation de l’immigration maghrebine: Essai d’analyse sociologique (Paris: Centre d’Information et d’lhudes sur les Migrations, 1982), p. 27.
[23] Jazouli, Les annees banlieues, pp. 133-34; Daniel Singer, “In the Heart of Le Pen Country,” The Nation, June 18, 1988; William Safran, “Islamization in Western Europe: Political Consequences and Historical Parallels,” Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 485 (May 1986), p. 104.
[24] Eyre, p. 45.
[25] Dominique Guillerm, Max, May 1992, p. 21. The album was produced by noted producers Don Was (of Was Not Was) and Michael Brooks of 4AD Records.
[26] See Rabah Mezouane, “Le rap, complainte des maudits,” Le Monde Diplomatique (December 1990), pp. 4-5; Nicole Leibowitz, “Attali: ‘Le rap remplace le bal,’ ” Le Nouvel Observateur, June 18, 1992; Georges Lapassade, “Quest-ce que le hip-hop?” Hommes et Migrations (October 1991), pp. 31-34.
[27] Minute-La France, April 8, 1992.
[28] New York Times, February 6, 1992; International Herald Tribune, July 4, 1991.
[29] Bernard Zakri and Pascal Azoulay, “Pour le metissage,” Actuel (February 1991).
[30] Rabha Attaf, “Ecoutez: comment ferons-nous la paix?” Actuel (February 1991), p. 55. On racist violence in the 1980s, see Jazouli, Les annees banlieues, and Archoune, Nes en banlieue.
[31] Christian Science Monitor, January 31, 1991. For a vivid account of the North African experience in France during the Gulf war, see Tahar Ben Jelloun, “I Am an Arab, I Am Suspect,” The Nation, April 15, 1991.
[32] Foreign Broadcast Information Service, Near East and South Asia Daily Reports, March 27, 1991, p. 5; Liberation, March 28, 1991; Village Voice, January 14, 1992.
[33] Attaf, p. 55.
[34] Miriam Rosen, “On Rai,” Artforum (September 1990), p. 23. Baraka is the spiritual power said to inhere in sharifs, the descendants of the Prophet Muhammad. This translation is adapted from Steve Arra’s on the liner notes to Cheb Khaled’s release, Fuir mais ou?
[35] Kobena Mercer, “Black Hair/Style Politics,” New Formations 3 (1987).
[36] Attaf, p. 52.

How to cite this article:

Joan Gross, David Mcmurray, Ted Swedenburg "Rai, Rap and Ramadan Nights," Middle East Report 178 (September/October 1992).
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