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metal talk
3rd February 2017


Marwan Hussein, the drummer of Iraqi Metal band Acrassicauda, has blasted US President Donald Trump, saying his recent actions regarding immigration are those of someone with "the mentality of a five-year-old-bully".

Trump's recent executive order bars travel from Middle Eastern countries and Hussein told Rolling Stone. "everybody is in shock".

Like his bandmates in the thrash Metal band, Hussein came to the US from Baghdad as a refugee nine years ago and became a full US citizen in 2015. He has been applying to have his mother, whom he saw last in 2011, come to the US for years but she has been denied, along with Muslims detained in US airports who now face an uncertain future.

"Now it's like the whole case stopped, just because of the banning issue," he says. "Right now I'm trying to figure out if I can bring her over here, and if I do, what rights she has and if it would be possible to see her. It's all speculation. Nothing is for sure."

Acrassicauda came to prominence via the 2007 documentary 'Heavy Metal In Baghdad' and have maintained an apolitical stance, however: "Now there is no escape from that," Hussein says. "We've got to talk about it. This is the first time in my life, I'm doing an interview where I speak my mind as though I'm speaking to a friend.

"The whole thing is surreal. I think to myself, 'Are we being punked in here? Where's the cameras?' It's ridiculous. It's somebody with the mentality of a five-year-old bully and just literally doesn't know what the fuck to do. Who would do that?


"The whole slogan 'Make America Great Again' never made sense to me. It's kind of ironic because what makes America great again is people being able to stand up to their governments when they're being fucking fascists and telling them to go fuck themselves. So there is a fucking irony [laughs]. I don't think he knew that.

"From what I understand, there are seven Iraqis being held hostage in JFK airport. So I've been talking with the rest of the guys in the band about doing a benefit show this month in New York to raise money for the hostages' legal support. We will sell our merch and DVDs to raise money – whatever people want to donate – to go toward the people's lawyers, or the International Refugee Committee, whatever committee is trying to build a case.

"A friend of mine, Daniel [Gerstle], has been working on this project for a while to bring bands from war frontiers together. He's been working with Syrian, Somali and Sudanese bands for the past four years, and he was trying to release a documentary about these bands. We've been thinking that since the ban took place, we should get together with these bands to raise awareness. We could even play free shows. We want people to know this is bullshit and everybody should stand up for that."

Acrassicauda addressed refugees in a two-part video they made for 'Rise' last January, and they featured Trump in the video. Hussein takes up the story:

"The first part is interviews with refugees. So there's a guy from Syria, a guy from France – he's talking about a bombing that happened in Paris – and a guy from Iran. And they all talk about what America means to them, before the actual video clip. I thought, OK, you're a refugee. Some of you are citizens and some of you can't go back to your countries, let's talk about it.

"The second part of the video was funny. I put Trump in it because he's a douche. This video is dedicated to douches. This whole video starts with riots. I was watching what happened in DC [around Trump's inauguration], and I'm thinking, 'Fuck me, this is actually happening'. After Bush, I thought America learned, like, 'We learned our lesson. We should be really careful with that from now on'. And now this guy comes along.

"Being the band known for being from Iraq, I doubt that we'll be able to freely tour everywhere. There are some states that we can, probably some states we can't, like the red states. We toured Mississippi, Alabama, Jacksonville and New Orleans in 2013, but now I'm skeptical about going to those places again. I don't think it will be the same as in 2013 or even a year ago. It doesn't matter to some people if I've become a citizen or not.

"Unfortunately, some people still think, 'You're brown'. Or, 'You're from the Middle East'. Or, 'You're Iraqi'. In a way, we would want to tour there as a 'fuck you' for racism.

"What made America special was that in spite of the war in Iraq – we knew there were no weapons of destruction in Iraq, and we knew the government and politicians lie – but it seemed like America wanted to fix things. America made mistakes and fucked up, but it wanted to fix things.

"And the slogan 'Land of the Free' is what made America special. It wasn't military power; it was immigrants. They opened their arms to anybody, and accepted people. And you can see that in New York more than any other place. Losing this [acceptance] will cost America a lot. This is a special thing about this country. If you take it away, it becomes a Death Star situation.

"He's saying things like the Christian thing – Muslims and Christians have been living in harmony [in America], but what he's trying to do is divide the country, making it a civil war all over again. When brothers and neighbours are turning against each other just for religious views, forget about any code for decency or honorable points of view. Basically, they're saying, 'I'm more superior than you are', and that's what he's turning the country into. I've seen it from experience, and I can tell you the worst type of war is a civil war."


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