Irritated...

gypsy8522

New member
I didn't know exactly where to post this topic but anyway.. I'm sick and tired of getting into silly arguments on youtube such as the comments made by fanatic idiots.. it is irritating me :mad::mad::mad:


First I get a message from an Israeli Jew that says "camel riders stop stealing our culture" What the....???? Last time I checked, judaism is not a culture, but rather a religion. This person is like many Israelis came from Europe (he's from Albania) so he has no connection to Middle Eastern anything. I also don't see how Egyptian music and dancing fits into "their" culture. I've heard all sorts of stories, like belly dancing was a godess temple dance, or that it originated in India.. but I wonder how on earth anyone can come up with a story like that!!!!!

I notice too many camel insults going around these days. So, if we're riding cars now does it mean that we should forget or be ashamed of our past?? I love going into the desert and riding camels.. until this day there's people who still live like that, the same way in the west there is people who prefer to live in farms.

Another fanatic who left offensive comments (which of course, I deleted)on videos of a famous dancer that I had put up. Next thing he replies to a comment I had made about the same dancer (video posted by someone else) where he continued the name calling. The funny thing is when I clicked on his channel he had only two things on his "favorite videos", one of them was a clip of that dancer. I don't understand WHY he would keep searching and watching her stuff, then trash her by saying what she's doing is "haram". I'm assuming it would be just as bad to be looking at 'sinful stuff' as it is to be doing the sin.
 

Moon

New member
I'm also annoyed by such comments, Gypsy. I don't receive them myself, but I see them pretty often when watching clips of European, American or Isreali dancers. Insulting things like "white girls can't bellydance" and "stop stealing our culture" etc. When I check the profile of these persons, they are often from the US or an Europian country. They probably have Middel Eastern ancestors, but still... Most of the time they don't even have bellydance-related videos in their favourites. Those comments make me sad and I always mark them as spam. I don't understand why the people who uploaded the video don't delete those comments.
Fortunately, sometimes I see a reaction by other Middle Eastern persons who say something like "Shut up, you are the one giving our culture a bad name."
I honestly don't understand why those people are so angry... Maybe some Americans and English should tell them to stop speaking English, because that is part of their culture? :mad:
 

Mya

New member
I've heard all sorts of stories, like belly dancing was a godess temple dance, or that it originated in India.. but I wonder how on earth anyone can come up with a story like that!!!!!
i've heard the india one as well. i've never demerited it because i don't know enough about anything yet to do so but the explanation was that those types of movement left india with the gypsies and were developed into the artform as we know it when the gypsies passed through/settled in various areas, presumably what we call the nations of origin.
 

Suheir

New member
Aww, I'm so sorry you're having to put up with all this crappy nonsense. Your clips on YouTube are fantastic, these idiots just have nothing better to do.
 

Safran

New member
Dear, the only correct thing to do is just to ignore them. I know it is not easy, I also get furious when I read comments in youtube (or actually even online newspapers)... There is so much anger and stupidity out there, and people are not shy to show it. If you start reacting to those comments, you'll only be dragged into a nasty argument.

I am sure you can either disable comments or make sure you approve them before appearing on youtube when it comes to videos you've posted yourself. And on the other videos... just look at the video, it is what matters...
 

Aisha Azar

New member
Infuriated

Dear Gypsy,
When we put things out there in public, there is always some idiot who will respond completely out of line to what we are doing. It is the price paid for being in the public eye. I am sorry that this Jerk is being so rude. I recently had a situation on this forum where a Christian Arab was insisting that I am a Muslim, when in reality I am not, but I just try to be respectful of Muslim and other religious traditions. It can be very frustrating!!!
One of my friends went to high school here in America. She tells the story of how, after she learned to speak English and was able to tell people she was Arab, she would get a lot of "camel" remarks. She had never even seen a live camel. She had lived in a city in Jordan all of her life! Her family drove a Russian car called a Moscowvitch. Most of the people she knew in America were not even culturally aware enough to know that Russians HAD cars!! She began to understand that in many ways, she was more worldly than the people who were looking at here as if she was a "Saidi".
Regards,
A'isha
 
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Salome

Administrator
When I watch YouTube videos I almost never scroll down to read the comments. If I maintained an account I guess it'd be different, I'd need to moderate it... But so many videos have the same theme in comment land: there is the cursory spam about how it was an ok video but we should check out some sexycam girl channel or something, then someone says something terrific, then someone says something really nasty and I find it all a big waste of time...
 

charlieL

New member
Just ignore those jerks. Now the trend is that in almost every bellydance video we see links to pornography sites,
 

Reen.Blom

New member
Best thing is to ignore.... It is not only about bellydance but other things as well.... I had enought useless battles on forums, only get a shower of hatered and prejudice.... sad reality....
 

gypsy8522

New member
The only comments that make me furious are the ones talking about religion, which is supposed to be a sacred thing. I don't like it when people express their religous views on anything that has to do with art or culture. Look what has happened to the world ever since we started mixing religion with politics!



I'm also annoyed by such comments, Gypsy. I don't receive them myself, but I see them pretty often when watching clips of European, American or Isreali dancers. Insulting things like "white girls can't bellydance" and "stop stealing our culture" etc. When I check the profile of these persons, they are often from the US or an Europian country. They probably have Middel Eastern ancestors, but still... Most of the time they don't even have bellydance-related videos in their favourites. Those comments make me sad and I always mark them as spam. I don't understand why the people who uploaded the video don't delete those comments.
I see the "white girls can't bellydance" comments on youtube all the time and as much as it sounds insulting and childish, I think a lot of times it is the western dancers that bring it upon themselves. Ive also seen comments by Americans saying things such as "i don't know what the fuss is about, (insert name of American dancer here) can do so much better". I remember seeing a comment on a video of an Israeli dancer saying that "she topped all of the Egyptians". Doesn't this sound racist to you? She is doing Egyptian dance that she learned from Egyptians, she can be nearly as good, but there's no way on earth she could "Top them". The reason is she is only performing the movements. She doesnt have the cultural background, neither does she understand the language... but she does pretend to sing in arabic!

Unfortunately, I've experienced this kind of attitude mostly with people that come from new countries, especially those who don't have a strong ethnic background. I have never see an Indian person comment on a belly dancer's video arguing that it's a temple or fertility dance. I've got many Indian friends and most of them could care less about our dancing, they already have their own cultural dances. I know that belly dancing is the coolest thing at the moment, but a lot of people don't want to understand that it doesn't come on its own. There is music history, language and lifestyle that comes with it, and when you pick up a culture you have to take the good with the bad. Not only take what appeals to you(i.e. movements, costumes) and leave the rest.

Fortunately, sometimes I see a reaction by other Middle Eastern persons who say something like "Shut up, you are the one giving our culture a bad name."
I honestly don't understand why those people are so angry... Maybe some Americans and English should tell them to stop speaking English, because that is part of their culture?
When Middle Eastern people speak English they don't try to make it look like it is a Middle Eastern thing or that it came from the Middle East.
 

Aniseteph

New member
Morons on YouTube? Ignore them; life's too short to pay them any attention. Their issues and their opinions are their problem. You wouldn't bother to listen to them in real life so why do it on-line?

As for the "don't mess with our culture cos you'll never get it" thing - I see what Gypsy means. In context they may have a point, eg. criticising someone for presenting something as the genuine article when it clearly isn't, when it's someone who ought to know better. Some Western dancers might bring it on themselves, but it isn't necessarily the guilty parties who get the comments, it's anyone who isn't to the commenter's taste.

So the same comments go on everything, even people who are genuinely trying to do the right thing (not just wriggling about looking hot in sequins), which IMO is really offensive and divisive. If someone is learning a foreign language you don't beat them up for making mistakes and not having a perfect accent, and tell them not to mess with "your" culture. You don't sneer if they are never going to sound like a native speaker. Even trying to learn a little to get by on holiday is a positive thing, a mark of respect for the language and the people who speak it.

Right, that's enough time delving into the motivations of YouTube commenters. I feel contaminated!
 

Erin

New member
I have only been skimming so if I have missed something important and say something stupid, feel free to point it out. I want to say something about "Culture". There is no pure culture on earth. Cultures have practices that define them, but cultures have been exchanging practices forever. Most major languages on earth contain words from other languages. We develop culture as a result of the environment we live in and we share the things that we have in common. No one lives in a vacuum and to say that any one dancer from any particular background is a better dancer, just because she is from that background is ridiculous and ignorant. For sure, someone who speaks Arabic and understands the content and context of a piece of music can express herself to that content, but those of us who don't speak Arabic, can also express ourselves beautifully to the music itself. The human body only moves in so many ways, granted its a lot of different ways, but we also move to certain rhythms in certain ways, and "belly dance", wherever it originated, is a way for humans to express what the music says to them. Belly dance has also seemed to become much more than Middle Eastern dance. So perhaps for those ignoramuses on YouTube or anywhere else who are ethnocentric and prejudiced, one can ignore them, or if there is a deep seated need to respond ;), one can explain that there are many forms of belly dance, and we can be careful to call the forms what they are; Tribal, Gothic, Middle Eastern, American Belly Dance, etc, etc, and stay true to each particular form until we decide to morph it into something else. Besides, the term "belly dance" is not of Middle Eastern origin anyway. So phththththththth!:D
Respectfully,
Erin
 

Aisha Azar

New member
Dance, etc

Dear Gypsy,
Responses in context so I don't get confused


QUOTE=gypsy8522;44272]The only comments that make me furious are the ones talking about religion, which is supposed to be a sacred thing. I don't like it when people express their religous views on anything that has to do with art or culture. Look what has happened to the world ever since we started mixing religion with politics!


A. writes- Personally, I find my religious beliefs do not stop at this place or that, but include every second of my life. I could not separate them out if I wanted to.

I see the "white girls can't bellydance" comments on youtube all the time and as much as it sounds insulting and childish, I think a lot of times it is the western dancers that bring it upon themselves. Ive also seen comments by Americans saying things such as "i don't know what the fuss is about, (insert name of American dancer here) can do so much better".


A. writes- I so totally agree with you. When I hear comments about how you can do whatever you want and still call it "belly dance", it makes me pretty unhappy. Then you get the crowd, (like Erin) who say that "belly dance" is an American term. What they neglect to add is that it is an American term that refers to a specific Middle Eastern dance. Belly dance may not literally mean "Dance of the East", but that is the dance it refers to exactly. I also agree that no one can ever do it better than the natives who are professional dancers and great at what they do!! There may be some few who can do it well, who are not natives, but there is no way to be better than a dancer who does not have to spend her life learning cultural context because it is in her completely!!

I remember seeing a comment on a video of an Israeli dancer saying that "she topped all of the Egyptians".

A. writes- This is a bogus comment, made by a person who does not understand the dance with any depth. There is no way, in performing Egyptian belly dance, that anyone can "top all of the Egyptians".


Doesn't this sound racist to you? She is doing Egyptian dance that she learned from Egyptians, she can be nearly as good, but there's no way on earth she could "Top them". The reason is she is only performing the movements. She doesnt have the cultural background, neither does she understand the language... but she does pretend to sing in arabic!

A. writes- I believe that there are some people who have an innate feeling for something from a culture outside their own, but anyone who says that any person is better than the original thing is not seeing the whole picture!!

Unfortunately, I've experienced this kind of attitude mostly with people that come from new countries, especially those who don't have a strong ethnic background. I have never see an Indian person comment on a belly dancer's video arguing that it's a temple or fertility dance. I've got many Indian friends and most of them could care less about our dancing, they already have their own cultural dances. I know that belly dancing is the coolest thing at the moment, but a lot of people don't want to understand that it doesn't come on its own. There is music history, language and lifestyle that comes with it, and when you pick up a culture you have to take the good with the bad. Not only take what appeals to you(i.e. movements, costumes) and leave the rest.


A. writes- I am an American, from a pretty new country if we go by the political designation of what a country is, but I have been saying this same thing for many, many years. I get a lot of flack for it, but I have stood by my statements that dance does not develop in a vacuum, and can not be separated out from its cultural context without losing its essence. If somebody wants to do a fusion, or create a new dance, they should take the responsibility and call it by some other name than belly dance. I am glad that you wrote on this subject, because it is good for people to hear it from someone within the culture, I think, so they can see I am not just making stuff up here. The dance is part of a cultural heritage and if we negate that, then we no longer have the dance.



When Middle Eastern people speak English they don't try to make it look like it is a Middle Eastern thing or that it came from the Middle East.[/QUOTE]


A writes- That is part of my issue with calling all of the fusion dances "belly dance". It is very misleading to the general public, who often do not have enough education to be able to discern what is authentic ethnic belly dance and what is not. They often think it is all the Middle Eastern ethnic dance when it is not. Thank you for an important post.

Regards,
A'isha
 

Moon

New member
Gypsy said:
I see the "white girls can't bellydance" comments on youtube all the time and as much as it sounds insulting and childish, I think a lot of times it is the western dancers that bring it upon themselves. Ive also seen comments by Americans saying things such as "i don't know what the fuss is about, (insert name of American dancer here) can do so much better".
Ofcourse comments like that are just as annoying. But the "white girls" comments aren't only to the BDSS or silly girls trying to be sexy in their own bedroom. They are also made to Western dancers who appreciate the art, and the culture it comes from and try very hard to become a better dancer. Or to students who perform a choreography made by a teacher who appreciates the art and culture, but aren't the best dancers yet because they're students. And it's particularly the "white girls" comment that offends me, because I don't believe dancing has anything to do with your skin colour. That's just as silly as saying very dark skinned Egyptians are better dancers than Egyptians who dye their hair blonde... They could also say "I think Egyptian dancers are mostly better than Western dancers, because they grew up in the culture and therefor understand it better" and then I would agree with them. It's the angry, racist-like way in which they express themselves that bothers me and ofcourse I don't agree with people saying Rachel Brice is a better bellydancer than Fifi Abdou. I'm also bothered by people saying "I do whatever I want and the culture doesn't matter", or who claim bellydancer originated in goddess temples or whatever.

And the language remark wasn't meant seriously ofcourse. I really appreciate it when people from other cultures do their best to learn to speak another language. And I understand they often won't speak it fluently and many will always have some kind of accent. But there are also foreigners who will eventually speak their second language better than some of the natives. (And I think the same can happen with Western bellydancers, though most of them will always have some kind of "western accent")
 

gypsy8522

New member
No one lives in a vacuum and to say that any one dancer from any particular background is a better dancer, just because she is from that background is ridiculous and ignorant.
Actually, what I was saying is the total opposite. You twisted my statement. Saying that a dancer who is NOT from a Middle Eastern background is better than the natives.... is (taken from your own words!) ridiculous and ignorant.


For sure, someone who speaks Arabic and understands the content and context of a piece of music can express herself to that content, but those of us who don't speak Arabic, can also express ourselves beautifully to the music itself.
So are you telling me that as long as a dancer expresses herself beautifully, it is belly dance? And the content and context of a piece of music is just an "extra" and it is not really that relevant?
Audiences from all over the Arab world used to fly to Egypt to attend an Om Kalthoum concert. Those poeple didn't spend weeks on travel only so they can sit for three hours and listen to sounds of the flute or the violin. Do you see what I'm trying to say? It is the whole package, you nit pick the things that you do not like and that you do not bother to take the time to understand, the result is you get something completely different and odd. Which brings us to this..........................


No one lives in a vacuum
EXACTLY!


Besides, the term "belly dance" is not of Middle Eastern origin anyway.
This reminded me of a website I was surfing earlier this week, called "Freedom Blog" , where a blogger wrote this:

"Firstly it’s not their oil, it’s America’s oil. The fact they were born and live there, is unimportant."

I can change my name tomorrow, and I can change it to a totally lame name... or I can pick a western name, like Lauren... it still won't deny the fact that deep inside of me I am the Arabic girl that came from the Middle East. Calling things by a different name so no one gets offended or finds out the truth... it can fool the ignorant, but there will always be those who are keen to find out the truth.





and "belly dance", wherever it originated,
Belly dance....... wherever it originated. Are we saying that we DON'T know where it originated, or WE'RE PRETENDING WE DON'T know where it originated? Heck, even George Bush knows this!


Belly dance has also seemed to become much more than Middle Eastern dance.

I don't see what it is exactly that has changed so much. When I look at Hip Hop culture for example, I see how it has evolved over the years and truly become a component of American culture. First, artists started by blending different rhythms(taken from different regions) which of course have to compliment American, or at least western, music or it would sound odd. After that they started creating different styles of dancing that evolved with time as the music was evolving. The dancing and music gelled together to create a formula that works. Also, the type of language and lyrics incorporated into hip hop songs are derived from hip hop culture in real life. When I listen to their music I can see how relates to the (African) American lifestyle and reflects that culture in a way. When artists like Usher or Beyonce dance, are they only dancing to the beats, or is it something else that sets them apart from others? I am sure the environment they grew up in played a role. Now going back to Middle Eastern dancing, or "belly dancing", I haven't heard of any new western songs being introduced to "belly dance", and I'm not sure if that would work since East and West are two opposites just as cold and heat are opposites!!!! Most songs STILL are from the Middle East, and the very few music selections that are not from "over there" are dominated by Middle Eastern rhythms. The songs lyrics are still Middle Eastern, and Dolce and Gabbana haven't started designing hipscarfs or Saidi dresses yet... so, what makes it seem to you that "belly dance" has become "much more than Middle Eastern dance"??????


No one lives in a vacuum
I say "belly dance" doesn't live in a vacuum.

Middle Eastern Culture + Middle Eastern Music + Middle Eastern dancing = Belly Dancing

"expressing oneself beautifully" + hip shaking + cute costume = Something Else!
 
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Aisha Azar

New member
Understanding the language

Ofcourse comments like that are just as annoying. But the "white girls" comments aren't only to the BDSS or silly girls trying to be sexy in their own bedroom. They are also made to Western dancers who appreciate the art, and the culture it comes from and try very hard to become a better dancer. Or to students who perform a choreography made by a teacher who appreciates the art and culture, but aren't the best dancers yet because they're students. And it's particularly the "white girls" comment that offends me, because I don't believe dancing has anything to do with your skin colour. That's just as silly as saying very dark skinned Egyptians are better dancers than Egyptians who dye their hair blonde... They could also say "I think Egyptian dancers are mostly better than Western dancers, because they grew up in the culture and therefor understand it better" and then I would agree with them. It's the angry, racist-like way in which they express themselves that bothers me and ofcourse I don't agree with people saying Rachel Brice is a better bellydancer than Fifi Abdou. I'm also bothered by people saying "I do whatever I want and the culture doesn't matter", or who claim bellydancer originated in goddess temples or whatever.

And the language remark wasn't meant seriously ofcourse. I really appreciate it when people from other cultures do their best to learn to speak another language. And I understand they often won't speak it fluently and many will always have some kind of accent. But there are also foreigners who will eventually speak their second language better than some of the natives. (And I think the same can happen with Western bellydancers, though most of them will always have some kind of "western accent")

Dear Moon,
In some of the Arab cultures, the word "Blond" is used to refer, not to hair color, but to light skin. Sometimes it is a compliment. Usually foreigners who are learning a second language will not speak the language nearly as well if they do not learn it in childhood. Maybe Adiemus could talk more about the part of the brain where language is learned and how it does not retain its full capacity after a certain age in childhood in most people.
I think that the problem is not with dancers who are seriously trying to learn about the culture and the dance but are still relatively new dancers who are taking the cultural link seriously. I think the problem is when people just call whatever they choose to do "belly dance", and make statements that try to divorce the dance from its specific cultures of origin. Such treatment of other peoples' things has been an issue since the first colonists set foot in other countries and took power and resources resources away from native peoples. In many ways, when we say that the dance does not "really belong" to the people whose dance it is, then we commit that same kind of crime. Attempts at negating and destroying a person's culture is part of the psychology of empiricism and many countries of the Middle East and North Africa are still not entirely free of foreign rule. I know this seems like a stretch to some people, to equate stealing the resources of a culture with not respecting the origins of the dance, but in reality, there is a behavioral connection.
Regards,
A'isha
 
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LLAIMA

New member
I completely agree w what gipsy and A'sha are saying, Cuban rythms and Flamenco rithms face the same problems.
Now, when it comes to Raks Sharki, I try to watch enything Egyptian, because I'm going to be dancing to Egyptian music which has a different air than Greek or Turkish music... there are so many cultural aspect to just one nation...there a symilarities among middle eastern people, but an egyptian is not going to have the same gestures as a Saudi, and those are little details expressed through the dance and music.
 

Moon

New member
I think I'm somehow expressing myself wrong, because people keep misunderstanding me. I think it's perfectly normal when people of the middle east are offended by people from other cultures when these people say they don't care about the culture and bellydance belongs to the world and they can fuse it in every way they like and stuff like that. But I feel offended by angry remarks as a reaction on videos of students dancing on haflas etc. who enjoy the art and try very hard but are just not there yet. The same way I don't like it when someone says "fat" to a great, chubby dancer, or when people (sometimes also people from the middle east!) like a sleazy "bellydancer" in a skimpy outfit that can't even do one move well.
Someone posted a video of me on youtube without my permission a while back, and I'm glad that person doesn't allow comments for the video, because it would have made me very sad if some middle eastern person, or some American guy who's great grand parents came from the Middle east, would have said that a "white girl" like me doesn't have the right to learn bellydance.
Yes, some Western dancers deserve comments like that (though I would prefer the commenters to refer to "that dancer" and not act like all light skinned dancers are the same) but there are enough Western dancers who respect the culture, try very hard, or still have a lot to learn because they didn't find the right teacher yet. Those dancers would benefit a lot more from useful advice as to what they need to become a better dancer, than from rude remarks about their skin colour.
 
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