GOOD

Saudi Comedians Rap About Migrant Rights

An O.T. Genasis parody song examines Saudi attitudes towards foreign workers.

You’ll recognize the beat, if not the words, to this Saudi rap video, because it’s actually a parody of the wildly popular O.T. Genasis song, “CoCo,” which is a touching ode to cocaine. But where O.T. sings, “I’m in love with my coco,” these Saudi comedians-cum-rappers sing, “I’m not afraid of my sponsor.” They’re dressed up as Pakistani and Indian migrant workers and rapping about the struggles of being a foreign worker in Saudi Arabia (in a somewhat innappropriate Indo-Pakistani accent).


The song, called “Kafeel” or “sponsor,” refers to the Saudi sponsorship (“kafala”) system that requires foreign workers to have the sponsorship of an employer in order to remain in the country. It was produced by an online network called Telfaz11 and written by a Saudi comedian named Ibraheem Alkirallah. The lyrics of the song force listeners to examine Saudi attitudes and behavior towards foreign workers, who are subject to racism, verbal abuse, and often even physical violence.

“Who makes the intersections? Who made the sewage system? Who carries the trash? Who works at the convenience store? All Saudis forget who drives the taxis,” the Saudi comedians rap.

There are nine million foreign workers in Saudi Arabia, comprising about a third of the total population and almost half the workforce. The country wouldn’t function without them, because they perform much of the work that Saudis are too moneyed for—they work in construction, the service industry, and provide much of the domestic labor.

Working under the kafala system, workers are vulnerable to exploitation by their bosses, who routinely seize their passports and mobile phones upon arrival so they can’t “run away” back to their home countries—often India, Pakistan, Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya, and the Philippines. These workers face the threat of deportation every day. The truth is, migrant workers don’t have the power or the privilege to criticize their employers—be it face-to-face or in a rap song—although their employers are pretty deserving of criticism.

Articles
via Michael Belanger / Flickr

The head of the 1,100-member Federal Judges Association on Monday called an emergency meeting amid concerns over President Donald Trump and Attorney General William Barr's use of the power of the Justice Department for political purposes, such as protecting a long-time friend and confidant of the president.

Keep Reading
Politics
via United for Respect / Twitter

Walmart workers issued a "wake up call" to Alice Walton, an heir to the retailer's $500 billion fortune, in New York on Tuesday by marching to Walton's penthouse and demanding her company pay its 1.5 million workers a living wage and give them reliable, stable work schedules.

The protest was partially a response to the company's so-called "Great Workplace" restructuring initiative which Walmart began testing last year and plans to roll out in at least 1,100 of its 5,300 U.S. stores by the end of 2020.

Keep Reading
Communities
via Rdd dit / YouTube

Two people had the nerve to laugh and smirk at a DUI murder sentencing in Judge Qiana Lillard's courtroom and she took swift action.

Lillard heard giggles coming from the family of Amanda Kosal, 25, who admitted to being drunk when she slammed into an SUV, killing Jerome Zirker, 31, and severely injuring his fiance, Brittany Johnson, 31.

Keep Reading
Communities