According to the Associated Press, eight years after the invasion of America into Iraq, Gangsta Rap has finally made its mark. As if the devastation of 1.5 million Iraqis killed by the invasion of their home wasn’t enough, they now have to deal with the growing secular violence influenced by violent Rap music. According to the report teenagers and young adults are running around with baggy pants, gang tattoos and American slang committing violent crimes in the name of “being gangsta”. The poisonous violent American culture has found a home among the violent sectarian religious violence of Iraq.
The effect of American culture should not be a surprise. A quarter of the 8 million population has been born since the US invasion in 2003. Almost half of the current population is under 19 years of age. its a common sight according to the report to see young men in Baghdad park break dancing in the afternoon. Tattoos containing the words “Gangsta” have now begin appearing in a culture that saw tattoos as a blasphemy, essentially vandalizing the body that Allah gave them.
With the physical war of imperialism and the economic imperialism that inevitably follows it, it is only following a pattern of history that cultural imperialism follows it. It is a repeated patten throughout history, when a land is conquered, its indigenous culture is usually slowly corroded by the culture of the invaders. Great examples of this can be seen in the British occupation of India, Japanese occupation of Korea and American occupation of the Philippines. Few countries, notably Pureto Rico, have managed to escape this phenomenon.
Iraqi sociologist Dr. Fawzia A. al-Attia for the University of Baghdad says there is s a growing trend of Iraqi youth refusing to wear school uniforms and engaging in love affairs that were previously forbidden. Disrespect is now being brought upon once respected elders. Dr. al-Attia spoke in detail:
“There was no plan to contain this sudden openness. Teenagers, especially in the poor areas where parents are humble of origin and humble education, started to adopt the negative aspects of the American society because they think by imitating the Americans, they obtain a higher status in society.”
Iraqi police are now dealing with a phenomenon never seen before in the country: gang-style violence. Most violent crime committed in Iraq is committed by sectarian religions, much of it is still poverty related or personal discrepancies between individuals. However violent crime for the sake of gaining a reputation is on the rise, something the police and elders have little or no experience in.
Even with all the death a destruction caused by the “coalition of the willing”, the poisoning of Iraqi rivers by US military, the birth defects and radiation poisoning in Fallujah, the last element of the Iraqis had (their culture) is now being slowly eroded away. The Imams did warn that this type of occurrence was going to take place. Unfortunately this fact will give them a certain amount of credibility in the eyes of the Iraqi population and may spark a religious fundamentalist turn. Only time will tell.
“U.S. leaves ‘gangsta’ legacy in Iraq”, Bushra Juhi, Associated Press