Two Palestinian girls have inspired the music scene in the city of Nazareth with the lyrics of their songs. Damar is now part of the once male-dominated world of hip-hop but this time in the Arab world.
Damar, which means destruction in Arabic, is made up of two teenage girls, 16-year-old May Zarkawi and 17-year-old Amani Tatour.
Both girls met at school after sharing similar interests in politics and music. They established their band in 2009, under the guidance and supervision of the Wlad Elharra rap troupe and DJ Alla’ Shehada.
These two young artists say they hope to set a positive example for young girls in Arab societies.
“It was not easy to take our first steps because we were young girls and making rap songs. It was not easy for people to understand us because we were young. There were critics who said that we are girls - what can we do? In the end we sent our message, though we are girls, young and living in a male society,” said May.
She said despite lack of funding their band has been successful because of their sheer determination and hard work.
The rappers say their songs are about growing up and living as part of Israel’s Arab minority.
The girls use their music to criticize Israel’s policy towards Palestinians and are vocal about the security barrier that separates the West Bank.
“It is natural that our message is a political message because we live in the historical Palestine, under occupation. We live with racism which we want to express and tell the people about. But also we have other subjects like women rights, our generations. What can we do and how we can we affect society?” said Amani.
“Also we speak about school, we criticize everything around us as two young ladies looking around,” she said.
The girls say they prefer to be identified as Palestinians living in Israel rather than Israeli Arabs.
There are several artists in the Israeli-Arab community who express their experiences and the struggle of Palestinians using music but these young female artists are carving a niche for themselves at a young age.