Thursday, November 30, 2006

Rock and Politic through the Clash - Rock the Casbah

San Diego, November 30, 2006

Such an old song and still up to date with the events of the world....

Rock the Casbah was published in 1982 and inspired by the banning of rock music in Iran......

"The song gives a fictitious account of the ban being defied by the population who proceed to "rock the casbah", causing the King to order jet fighters to bomb any people in violation of the ban. The pilots ignore the orders, and instead play rock music on their cockpit radios. The song does not mention Iran, nor does it give the specifics of any Islamic nation, and in fact it uses Arabic terms instead of Persian, mentioning casbah, sharif, bedouin, and sheikh. This is typical of the Clash, who often mix up some of the particulars in political songs. This is also shown in the line 'He (he being the fictional Muslim king) thinks it's not kosher'. Kosher (Hebrew: כָּשֵר) is a Jewish term and is unlikely to be used by an Islamic king - a deliberate irony further emphasized by featuring an orthodox Jew dancing with a Sheik in the song's video.
It has been reported that "Rock the Casbah" was an unofficial anthem for the American army during the first Gulf War (the line about dropping "bombs between the minarets" being particularly relevant). In fact, it was the first song played by Armed Forces Radio at the start of the war. This has been seen as highly ironic, if not downright insulting, by many Clash fans, given the band's well established left-wing politics and anti-war stance, yet as appropriate by some, as the song is an attack on hypocritical Arab leaders who ban Western influences for their subjects, but are happy to reap the benefits of such influences for themselves.
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I miss the Clash.

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