A controversial hip-hop song titled ‘Harbu Darbu,’ meaning ‘swords and strikes’ in Syrian Arabic, has sparked outrage as it trends on Israel’s YouTube and Spotify charts. The song, performed by Ness Van Stilla, advocates for violence against Palestinians in Gaza and explicitly calls for the killing of notable figures supporting Palestine, including supermodel Bella Hadid, singer Dua Lipa, and adult film star Mia Khalifa.
The lyrics depict a desire to rain destruction on Hamas, referring to them as the Binlical Amalek, with a promise to obliterate them. The chorus explicitly urges the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) combat units to destroy all of Gaza. The song concludes with a list of names, including Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, senior Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, Bella Hadid, Dua Lipa, and Mia Khalifa, all labeled as enemies of Israel.
The #1 song in Israel calls for genocide against Palestinian and specifically for the IOF to kill Bella Hadid, Dua Lipa, and Mia Khalifa. pic.twitter.com/jq8vM8WIHK
— AHMED | أحمد (@ASE) December 2, 2023
Controversial Track Gains Traction on International Music Platforms
Despite the widespread celebration of Spotify Wrapped, revealing users’ annual musical preferences, a disturbing revelation emerged as ‘Harbu Darbu’ climbed the charts on YouTube, Spotify, and other streaming services in Israel. The song’s initial seconds express disdain for those advocating for a free Palestine, using derogatory language and invoking the term “Amalek” to justify the killings of people in Gaza.
The track’s barbaric nature extends to glorifying the killings and displacement of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, with explicit references to writing names on bombs intended for Gaza’s children. Additionally, the lyrics directly threaten influential figures supporting the Palestinian cause, creating further concern about the impact of such content on international platforms.
Against the backdrop of the song’s rise to popularity, the conflict in Gaza persists. Current figures report over 21,000 Palestinians killed by Israel, including those presumed dead under rubble. Relentless bombing has displaced nearly 1.9 million Palestinians, comprising 80% of Gaza’s population. The dire humanitarian situation, marked by starvation, untreated viruses, dehydration, and inadequate living conditions, contrasts sharply with the song’s disturbing lyrics.
Critics argue that such music contributes to an environment of racism and supports the ongoing crisis in Gaza. The controversy surrounding ‘Harbu Darbu’ raises questions about the impact of inflammatory content on public opinion, especially in regions directly affected by geopolitical conflicts.
Identity Crisis and Cultural Appropriation
Apart from the alarming content, the song’s title in Syrian Arabic, repeated use of Arabic words in the lyrics, and the music video depicting the performers dressed as if in Arab nomadic attire, raise concerns about identity and cultural appropriation. Critics point to an identity crisis among the creators, highlighting the discrepancy between their Eastern European roots and the imagery presented in the song.
As debates surrounding the song continue, its popularity on international music platforms sheds light on the intersection of music, politics, and identity in the midst of ongoing geopolitical conflicts.