Born in middle England, in the heart of Yorkshire in 1977, Hamza has been involved in the activism sphere since early adulthood. In the fall of 2010, Hamza travelled to Gaza and on his return this spiritual experience breathed new life, colour & message into his expression. Ever since, his work has taken new dimensions continuing the labyrinth & indeed spirit of his artistic heroes Emory Douglas & Naji al-Ali that he proceeded. Hamza’s work has featured at the Islamic Human Rights Commission in London, in the I Am Hiphop Magazine & a permanent collection in The Palestine Poster Project Archives.
Few days ago, I had a chance to do an interview with Hamza via email. you can read it below.
BLMNews: First of all, it will be great if you introduce yourself for our readers. I know that you’re interested in art works.
Hamza: Thank you first of all for reaching out and conducting this interview with me I am very appreciative. My name is Mohammad Hamza, I was born and bred in Bradford, England. I have always been politically active. I launched Intifada Street, a revolutionary & resistance based expression of my art seven years ago and it coincides with my political and strategic view of the world and the dynamics in play within it.
BLMNews: You born in England. How you’ve decided to travel to Gaza?
Hamza: Well, as I indicated earlier I have always been politically and socially active since my teens. Hence, I was fully aware of the Palestine question and the mass atrocity of the Zionist white settler state of Israel conducts not only on the Palestinians but regionally in Lebanon, etc. After the Israeli aggression on Gaza in 2009, in what they referred to as Operation Cast Lead. I felt I reached in myself as a free thinking conscience human being a watershed moment. I could no longer reconcile with myself and reside in the comfort of my relatively safe life in comparison whilst I knew of and was aware of the massacre taking place in Gaza. For even when the bombs are not dropping there is a “Yazeed style” blockade of the people. So I joined a convoy which attempted to break the illegal blockade and set off to Gaza in the fall of 2010.
BLMNews: You have a lot of art works about Gaza and resistance in your website intifadastreet.com. Did you truly believe in the idea of resistance?
Hamza: Resistance is in every facet of my being. I make no apology for it or refrain to singing the praises of those that resist the evil force of occupation, imperialism, sectarianism, racism, Zionism & colonialism. One may ask the central question for where does this come from? It can’t be something we are predisposed to otherwise as an individual, as a community, as a people, as a human race we would all be doing something to reduce such vices of oppression. So when I ask myself that question it’s clear to me what has had the greatest influence on my life and that’s the struggle of truth vs falsehood. The story of Imam Hussain(as) in Karbala against the tyrant of Yazeed (la). And it’s from the message of the Ahlulbayt (as) in their entirety I uphold this greater principle to stand up for what is right & what is just even at personal detriment and loss.
BLMNews: What do you think about media and propaganda against any resistance movements? Do you figure out any solution to fight back?
Hamza: Well, it’s always going to be a counter force of the enemy to reduce the impact, marginalize the message, blur the historical roots of organisations, and manufacture consent from their masses thru means of propaganda. It’s a conditioning that is daily apparent from billboards to TV, from social conditioning at home to educational condition at school. The enemy by his or her nature is meant to do all this so I don’t really fault them it’s in their DNA that’s why they are the enemy. My critique is almost always of my own and of ourselves. How and what are we doing to counter that narrative? It is why I do what I do with visual art of reach out with Intifada Street. I want people to peep the game as they say. To see an alternative view that’s being oppressed by the main and lame stream of media. Sadly, we don’t have the support of mass corporations behind people like me and it’s hard to project our voice so to speak but we do what we can. It’s also why I am a great proponent of support artists amongst us that object to the status quo.
BLMNews: I know that the idea of supporting these kind of groups, the resistance I mean, has some consequences in some European countries and US. So did you face any difficulty in your work?
Hamza: Sincerely, I have had some issues and it a given in one sense when you are opposing the direction the country you reside in is going. It’s part of the territory you will face certain challenges and obstacles. It’s something I find stressful at times and even annoying but in no way does it make me refrain from being who I am as a person and an artist. I cannot separate myself from the revolutionary principles I subscribe to.
BLMNews: I saw face of a lot of hero’s in your website. Che, MuhammadAli and of course Malcolm X. how much do you know these people?
Hamza: These are the iconic figures of the 20th century along with Imam Khomeini and many others that I grew up to and reading about. Maybe it was the rebel within me but I always had a great affection for their qualities of bravery against all odds standing up to governments and oppressive forces for the causes of justice and rights. So they had a great impact on me no doubt growing up and as I got older and I searched on my own I just increased in my love for them and what they contributed to human kind that I reflect my love for them thru my art.
BLMNews: Let’s talk more about Malcolm. How much do you read about him? Do you think his efforts in the fight against racism have been work?
Hamza: Malcolm X the great revolutionary figure of what is described as the “civil rights era” has been the greatest influence in defining my political articulation of the world and the fight against colonisation. I remember as a thirteen year old reading the Alex Haley autobiography on Malcolm that left a forever impact on me. I had the great pleasure of becoming friends with his grandson, the late great Malcolm Latif Shabazz. He was a follower of the Ahlulbayt(as) and we had a close acquaintance until his infinite potential was so tragically cut short when he was martyred in Mexico on the 9th of May, 2013. I recall when he first reached out to me in the infancy of my artistic expression and encouraged me. He was a great sense of support and his void is felt greatly.
He rather like his grandfather devoted his adult life to counter white supremacy and racism. I always feel it’s a constant struggle fighting against vices of oppression and racism is one of its poisonous tentacles. Malcolm gave me pride, showed his people and all people of conscience a blueprint on tackling such notions. He was a courageous figure who as Ossie Davis said of in his beautiful eulogy “…we will know him then for what he was and is – a Prince – our own black shining Prince! – who didn’t hesitate to die, because he loved us so.”
BLMNews: In your point of view, which one of famous black movements, like NOI, NACCP, BLM and etc., could be the real voice of the Black community?
Hamza: I don’t subscribe to any of them for many different reasons it’s a matter of critique. The NOI, because their complicity and creating an atmosphere of murder on Malcolm and likely their involvement with the CIA in his assassination. It’s something I have never forgiven the leadership of Farrakhan for.
The NACCP have always had funding and close acquaintance with white liberals and Zionist bodies which makes it have no credibility in the struggle of the Global South.
As for the BLM more of the same but it’s clearly an organisation funded and facilitated by the xenophobic George Soros who is a known Zionist.
That said I’m all for joining organisations and mobilising but it’s just as important not to consign to any organisation unless it has a coherent lexicon and principle in tackling racism.
It is why I have a great admiration and respect for the late Kwame Ture (formerly Stockley Carmichael) as makes the forces at play be known that are are actually in contradiction to the principles they claim to hold. Kwame made this be known in his great lecture/writings on Zionism and white supremacy.
BLMNews: Do you think the black movements and other resistance voices can reach to a common goal? Is there any common goal at all?
Hamza: The common goal must be to overturn an unfair and unjust system of white supremacy but it’s not about a regional struggle of black rights just in the United States but has to be closely conducted with the Global South. Anything that contradicts that is something that’s designed to fail and never truly reach the common goal which must be equality, justice and freedom across the board.
BLMNews: As the last question, tell us about the future. What’s your plan? Do you keep your focus on doing art works to support resistance?
Hamza: Well as artist I have solemnly sweated to fight oppression with whatever limited means I have. That said Intifada Street is a labour of love. The great revolutionary artists that have been an inspiration to me the likes of Naji al-Ali and Emory Douglas have faced these same challenges and their work over the passing of time has come to be realised and appreciated. So in those foot steps I chose to keep keeping on. The rest I leave to the Master of the Universe Allah only the mistakes have been mine.
I hope I can keep the fire and passion I have as a relatively young man going but there’s no promise of tomorrow. Inshallah I would like to build on what I have done to reach a wider and greater audience so I can help raise awareness and bring to the fore the massive disparage of wealth, the usurping of resources from the Global South, and the push of imperialism that has left whole countries & regions in total ruin. If I can highlight that & in doing so sustain myself I would consider my purpose of life a life of purpose.
I am humble and rational enough to know I am one man and I’m doing all I can often around the clock. Those mosh close to me would vouch for that fact. My greatest fear is fading out but long before my passion does I will. Thank you agains for reaching out to me. I have an intense love for Iran and its resistance against imperialism and Zionism. So I truly hope one day I will get the opportunity to showcase an exhibition somewhere in downtown Tehran and converse with those like me I’m that great nation. If people would like to follow my work they can find my page on Facebook Intifada Street, on twitter and Instagram @hanz_revo or additionally via my website www.intifadastreet.com.