Guilt by association abounds in current American society. Middle Eastern belly dance is the latest victim.
The American belly dance community is under attack due to ignorance, fear and hate. Because our art form originates on the continent of Africa, in particular the Middle East, it is being targeted. Belly dance instructors and performers are being taunted, ridiculed and threatened. Some are being labeled terrorists by embracing this ancient dance with its ethnic music and culture. The atmosphere is worse than after 9/11 when everything Arabic was suspect. With the media and vocal politicians, anything related to the Middle East and Muslim culture is suspect.
First of all, Daesh (an insult), as I prefer to call the terrorists (as the acronym ISIS lends credence to their belief that they represent the Muslim state, which they don’t and insults Isis, the winged Egyptian goddess of the earth, motherhood, fertility, magic and love) represses women, dance, music and art. To align our dance to a group that imposes strict Sharia law is ludicrous. By dancing, women are denouncing Daesh’s repression of women and the freedom of expression that dance and music allows.
Second, to be threatened by women in beads and bangles, coins and makeup is absurd. To equate performers with terrorists is as extreme as the beliefs held by the terrorists. Belly dancers are just entertainers.
Third, the United States is supposed to be the home of the free. Freedom of expression is supposedly allowed and not to be suppressed. Diversity is supposed to be embraced and unity the ideal. By suppressing art and culture, American society is no better than the laws imposed by the terrorists.
Belly dance is a folk dance that predates the Abrahamic faiths, including Islam. It is a matriarchal folk dance paying homage to Mother Earth and creation. It is a dance of reproduction and childbirth. The movements have been passed down from generation to generation of women. Women danced and continue to dance for one another. In the United States, we have the freedom to share our unique dance with the public as well. It is a dance of joy, life and love.
Before hating something, research it. It is far too easy to condemn something that you know little about.
Stop the hate!