This video from the New York Times raises real questions and concerns about our popular music artists. Why won’t they speak out against Taliban violence?
On tape, Ali Azmat says that “you can not blame Taliban for [destroying girls schools].” Instead, Azmat says its fault of the West. Then the Noori Brothers say that Taliban “probably are one of the smallest problems this country has.” This is simply madness.
What could be responsible for this attitude among Pakistan’s popular musicians? Clearly these artists with their Western educations, record deals, and millions of American dollars – they are so privileged and so disconnected from reality that Taliban seems like a small problem to them. Well, Taliban is not a small problem to Pakistanis being murdered in the market when they are buying Eid sacrifice. Taliban is not a small problem to schoolchildren being murdered in the streets like dogs. Taliban is not a small problem to our military officers who are being targeted for assassination.
These rock stars go to their late night clubs and drink backstage thinking that Taliban will never affect them. But they are very mistaken. Under Taliban rule, they will be the first to go.
Fasi Zaka gets it right.
“It’s reinforcing the wrong view…Music does matter in Pakistan. There’s a lot of youth. We’re a very young country. There’s a young generation out there that looks up to these people, and if these people had a concrete step or concrete things to say, it would make a difference.”
Nadeem Paracha, as usual, cuts straight through the garbage and gets us to the real point:
“You see, there you go. You talk to a musician over here and you say ‘what’s the problem?’ He won’t come out with a fantastic insightful answer for you. He’ll come up with the most rhetorical, most cliched crap.
If the Taliban had their way, there would be no rock music. There would be no popular culture. There would be nothing but death and misery.
These musicians have an opportunity to spread a message of hope and democracy. A message of freedom and prosperity like we heard from Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah. They could unite our nation and help lead us out of these devastating times.
Instead, these rock stars have fallen down in their duty and responsibilities. There is still time, though. They still have the opportunity, Insha’Allah, to make things right.