Chapter 15: Wa’laah – Why? The Middle East and Progress

The penultimate track on After Vengeance is an electronic fusion protest song against extremism and conservatism…in the Arab and Muslim world. In Iran. In Pakistan. In Muslim majority countries with illiberal and backwards constitutions. With political parties run by tyrannical majorities who trample on the rights of minorities, of women, of intellectuals, singers, poets, anyone that dares to challenge them. Mob rule.

A collection of flags sure to haunt the dreams (and nightmares) of many a foreign policy wonk.

Yes, I am critical of the American right, but there is our right wing and then there is THIS Right Wing. Having said, political parties run by tyrannical majorities who trample on the rights of minorities and women? Mob rule? Remind you of anybody?

I don’t know, is there really a difference? Sure. Perhaps. Our right wingers smell nicer. Well at least they did before the stinky fucks who invaded the Capital turned up. But I digress.

In Pakistan. In Iran. Even in newly ‘liberated’ Iraq. Women, minorities, non-believers, homosexuals, Christians, secularists, critics, anyone that doesn’t conform is the enemy. A slave to a repressive and jealous, insecure system. Whose responsibility is it to change? Pakistanis? Iranians? Or the West?

Hurriya: The Arabic word for freedom.

We spent 20 years and billions in Afghanistan. We could not stop it from deteriorating. Why? Wa’laah? Is it the fault of the West? I ask my Afghan, Arab, Persian and Pakistani brothers and sisters. To what extent are ‘we the people’ responsible for our own predicaments? Why do we support know-nothing mullahs and intellectually bankrupt politicians who want to keep us in the dark ages? Why do we fight one another in one bloody civil war after another? Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Nigeria, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Yemen. Why do our daughters cry and our sons die?

Broken record. He needs to shut up and listen to the lady above.

Why the Fascism? Why the extremism? Where is freedom? Where is democracy?

Special thanks to good buddy Redouane of Lela Hell again for helping me with the Algerian Arabic.

Looks like some sort of mutant Minimoog doesn’t it? It’s actually better. The scrumptious Softube Model 72. A lot of the darker sounds on the album came from the Model 72. Now that’s what I call a supermodel.

Wa’laah is asking questions.

Musically and lyrically, I wanted to give a shout out to one of other heroes, Rachid Taha, the Franco Algerian father of Rock, Electronic and North African fusion. He passed away in 2018 just before his 60th birthday. I’d like to think he’d enjoy and appreciate Wa’laah. I hope you do too.

What in the world am I wearing and why? Oh well, who cares, it’s Rachid Taha. Also, don’t smoke kids. I haven’t touched a cigarette since 2009. This was Philly, PA in 2005. Photo by Melissa S.

I wanted the track to stay restless, to search and change tempos, to signify the anger and chaos that we in the West might catch a glimpse of on the news, before switching to Tiger King on Netflix.

Also, this is the other track on the record that comprises the mini- Leftfield part of it. A little indulgent perhaps, but I’m glad how it turned out. It was a challenging song, lyrically and musically, but one I’m proud of. I hope it moves you, and not just on the dance floor.

Next: Donna.

Lyrics:

Why the hate?
Why the anger?
Where is your golden age?
Why the lies?

Why are you oppressing women?
Why the corruption?
Where is Democracy?
Why are you silent?

Why do we fight each other?
Why do we hate the West?
Why do our sons die?
Why do our daughters cry?
It’s all a lie
It’s all a lie
Live your life
Live it and let me live
Live it and let me live

Why are the youth aimless?
Why the brainwashing?
Where are the schools?
Why can’t a girl read?

Why the evil?
Why the civil wars?
Where is moderation?
Why the fascism?

Where is secularism?
Why are your eyes closed?
Open them now
Or forever remain in the dark
Wa’lah wa’lah…

Taliban means student in Pashto. Funny, because you never see these ‘students’ carrying books. You see them carrying AK-47s…and shooting at students. An example of total moral and intellectual bankruptcy.