In the fall of 2012 Palestinian hip-hop group DAM released a provocative music video titled, “If I Could Go Back in Time,” focusing on so-called “honor crimes.” Despite widespread support for their previous work, “If I Could Go Back in Time” drew considerable criticism for de-contextualizing, romanticizing, and by extension disempowering Palestinian women. Through a critical analysis of this music video as well as the ensuing debate surrounding its interpretation and reception, this article argues that the critical interventions made by politically engaged hip-hop artists, such as DAM, offer a unique vantage point with which to better understand the contested terrain of Palestinian activism. By tracing DAM's long history of political engagement this article examines the discourses that determine “acceptable” forms of activism among competing publics, and further demonstrates how the field of popular culture serves to shape (both positively and negatively) the potential impact of, and audience for, any activist intervention. Drawing from the recent release of the bi-national feature film, Junction 48, this article further explores how DAM front man, Tamer Nafar, has attempted to displace the compassionate gaze of international audiences, respond to colonial logics of elimination, and carve out autonomous spaces for self-reflection and radical vulnerability.

You do not currently have access to this content.