‘Lowkey’ aka Kareem Dennis meets fellow anti-war activists

British rapper and activist ‘Lowkey’ a.k.a. Kareem Dennis was in Derry this week to meet fellow anti-war and Palestine solidarity campaigners, writes Kevin Mullan.

During a flying visit the hip hop and grime artist was hosted by long-standing activists Gary Donnelly and Eamonn McCann when he called into the Creggan Community Collective in Cromore.

Mr. Dennis was in Ireland to take part in a Féile an Phobail panel discussion entitled ‘Palestine in 2022: Israel’s Attempt to Control Social Media’. He is also scheduled to play a gig in Nancy Mulligan’s in Belfast tonight.

Before that ‘Lowkey’ made a point of visiting Derry to meet members of the Raytheon 9, including Mr. McCann and Councillor Donnelly.

‘Lowkey’ aka Kareem Dennis pictured at the Creggan Community Collective with Eamonn McCann and Gary Donnelly.

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Speaking to the ‘Journal’ on his first visit to Derry he said he was impressed by the examples of grass-roots activism, remarking: “It’s an interesting sort of blueprint for how to bypass the forces of ‘undemocracy.’ Sheldon Wolin [the late US political theorist] called it ‘inverted totalitarianism.’”

“You look at the whole political system. You have far more unelected lords in the houses of parliament than you have elected parliamentarians.

“Fifty per cent of the land is owned by one per cent of the people. The Queen and the Royal family have had involvement in the shaping of over a thousand laws, they have vetted a thousand laws that have passed through parliament. So we don’t have a society which is what it says it is.”

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6 photos of rapper and activist Lowkey’s meeting with Derry anti-war activists

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Mr. Dennis during a visit to Free Derry Corner.

As a rapper ‘Lowkey’ has released three studio albums ‘Dear Listener’ (2008), ‘Soundtrack to the Struggle’ (2011) and ‘Soundtrack to the Struggle 2’ (2019) and is an important agit-pop voice within the genre. However, he told the ‘Journal’ that in Britain those who speak out about the injustices, atrocities and illegalities in Palestine often find themselves subjected to a form of censorship.

“You do have quite well-oiled mechanisms of marginalisation in England, particularly in the way in which the intelligence and the security services interlock and entwine with the media.

“You do have quite successful mechanisms to put people outside the fold of acceptable political subjectivity. Obviously, you have seen with how Corbynism was assassinated.”

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Palestine solidarity march in Derry city centreMr. Dennis traced parallels with what is happening in Gaza and the Westbank with what happend in Ireland in the 1840s and thereafter.

‘Lowkey’ chats to Gary Donnelly in Creggan.

“It’s quite interesting reading about the tactics of the British here.

“ Not only do you see echoes of it with the way the British ruled Palestine but also even in the tactics the Israelis use.

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“For example, during the potato famine they were exporting something like £15m of food stuffs from Ireland to Britain in the midst of a million people dying.

“You also had the evictions by these landlords. What I found so striking about some of the descriptions was that you had house wreckers who were brought with the British officers who were often people who had had their own homes knocked down and had been evicted from the land.

Mr. Dennis with friends at the Che Guevara mural in the Bogside.

“Basically they were forced to do that for the British authorities.

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“You have a similar thing in Israel. It was the British that established in Palestine the demolition of homes for punitive reasons and obviously the Israelis have adopted that as a tactic.

“Even now in Palestine you have people being forced to demolish their own homes in a a way not completely unlike the evictions that happened here.”

‘Youngest journalist’ to speak in Derry ahead of planting of olive tree for Palestine at Free Derry‘Lowkey’ told the ‘Journal’ he believes there is a need now more than ever for a strong anti-war movement. But he said Atlanticism has gained momentum following Putin’s brutal war in Ukraine, which has sparked loud calls for the further expansion of NATO.

“With Ukraine there is now a reinvigorated, renergised cancel culture from above.

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“They are using what is happening to try and pivot to crush the anti-war movement, to really establish a new anti-war movement which is only anti-war against the enemies of NATO and the US, an anti-war movement that focuses on China and Russia, rather than an anti-war movement that focuses on US imperialism,” he claimed.

Eamonn McCann, ‘Lowkey’ and Gary Donnelly in Cromore.