Published in January 9, 2010

The other day I randomly decided to check a link that a friend of mine had sent me to watch a video clip. This clip was a video report was done by Adam B. Ellick of The New York Times on the influential musicians of Pakistan, who have claimed to be politically involved.

“Tuning Out the Taliban”, didn’t really change my perspective of my thoughts of what was happening in the music scene. However, it did open my eyes up to different issues, pertaining to of what a clash the Pakistani music may be causing and in the media as a whole (since some of these musicians were internationally acclaimed) and to what was actually happening in reality within Pakistan’s youth. Unfortunately, I have witnessed my peers succumbing to witless, repetitive banter of which they so gleefully call intellectual theories. They are actually based on twenty year old clichéd mindless conspiracy theories that our predecessors no longer believe, even though they were conjured up in their time period.

Over the years I have seen many foreign policies being made, which I do not under any circumstances agree with. Therefore, I do agree with parts of the rants and raves made by some of the musicians that: the western countries have indeed meddled into our affairs making life which seems “tactically” difficult.

It shocked me to hear that the Ali Noor, the front-man of Noorie said “the Taliban is probably the smallest problem of Pakistan.” The one of the major according to him is the “WEST”. According to him, Pakistan is not affected by the Taliban; it’s the West who is. Hence, the big hoopla to remove them is being done.

Granted we have our issues as a nation stringing from poverty and corruption. This seems to be on a constant repetition as of on an old stuck record player whose needle needs severe boiling before being put to use again. Without a doubt, bills being passed, past sanctions being made, declaration of a terrorist state, have indeed had a severe affect on our economic and social paradigm. However, to say something as thoughtless without showing any level of considerable remorse, based on how many lives have been lost through these numerous bomb attacks on civilians, makes me concur of bipolar numbness. Especially to those of innocent lives being lost and to those whom on a daily basis are terrified of seeing unbelievable bloodshed and having petrified anxiousness of when they will be next. Be it in the mountainous Northern Pakistan or the posh residential areas of Lahore and Islamabad. The International Islamic University bombings do come to mind.

Ali Hamza the second band member and brother of Ali Noor, went on to give the reasoning, if they were to sing about this extremist group, they would be gotten rid of very easily. At the end of the clip, an alternate emerging band, Coven, stated that the other artists who are far larger in the media scene, should start speaking out in their songs. Hence, they will follow.
Fear is clearly their factor. I cannot blame them for fearing their safety along with their loved ones, for that matter their apprehension is completely understandable. However, I wonder if it came across their minds, that the religious extremist group probably already hates them for the fact they play rock music, which is adopted from the problematic West. Nonetheless, however, they play “the devil’s music”, which music in general is considered HARAM or impure and not permissible by the Taliban.

I would like an explanation of how the Taliban does not affect Pakistan and its people. This is a statement that for the life of me, I cannot seem to understand

There were three people whom Ellick interviewed and were the only three that actually made any sense at least to me. Two of which whom are well-known writers: Fasi Zaka, and Nadeem Farooq Paracha (aka NFP). The third person being, the only rocker/pop star who actually has some grasp on reality and should be lauded on his presence of mind, Shezad Roy.

Even though Roy had very little to say in this video clip, there really was no need for him to say anything at all. Since, his compositions have been saying it all. However, both Fasi Zaka and NFP clearly stated that this clichéd rhetorical garbage has done nothing but made the masses delusional and such music that actually enforces such thought is extremely detrimental for the public. Hence, taking them far from reality and even further away from life.

Between the recordings of these bands in the clip, the infamous Ali Azmat, who is probably known as one of the Rock icons of Pakistan and through the years he has gained immense respect not only for his talent but his outspoken nature and for the ability to speak his mind. His motto always being “Be yourself, because that is the hardest thing you can be.”

Azmat stated how nowadays if you don’t write music and compose songs about what is real and happening within your surroundings, people don’t’ want to listen to your music. The people want things to be based on realism. Hence, it is important that these days songs must be composed on issues pertaining to the country. In his album “Klashinfolk”, he like many other rockers, blames the West for the precedent Pakistan is now under. He blatantly has said he thinks that Taliban is funded by the West and it is their goal in short to “de-Islaminize” Pakistan by using the force of Taliban. That is, in his opinion, the goal of the new-age neo-cons and of course lets not forget the Zionists.

When the reporter, Ellick, asks Azmat, “Would you sing about the International Islamic University bombings?” Mr.Azmat’s reply: “You know, you can’t blame them for these bombings! Who funds the Taliban? The West!”

NOTE: Mr. Azmat did not answer Ellick’s question, his retort with another question. For that matter the question still remains. Would he sing a song about the Islamic University bombings, of where a large number of women who went to receive an education, got killed?

At this point, I’m devastated and completely crestfallen.

Let us just say for one hypothetical moment that the Taliban is getting funded by the West. Does it change the fact that innocent people are getting killed? Does it change the fact that educational institutes were being compromised? Does it change the fact that for some reason the difference between right and wrong is being lost sight of?

At this point I’m reminded of what Shahzwar Bugti had written in one of his written pieces and it seems very apt for me to quote him right now. As it goes like this:

“It is not me who is living in a dream machine, it is you. I’m living in the reality. The reality that explains objective truth. Though for a post-modernist, or for that matter, an ignorant person who doesn’t even know what they believe in, reality is constricted in the material world – they construct their own reality and deconstruct it at their convenience.”

I really couldn’t have said it any better.

The Taliban had banned the production of opium in Afghanistan because it is used by the infidels and is Haraam in Islam: without keeping in mind that opium also has medicinal purposes. The opium trade had been restored by them in the year 2001 in which they take a percentage of profit to maintain their funds.

The emerald mines in the Swat valley (not a tribal area) have been taken over by the Taliban which has taken control of the once ‘Switzerland of Pakistan’ (due to it being a popular tourist area for skiers). While the government did not react to the move and still is slow in perseverance, the Taliban has an agreement with the mining labor of the region wherein the Taliban deduct one-third of the miners’ yield while the costs are shared equally by both. The Taliban does not take part in the mining operations. Another source of funding that the Taliban has found.

Prior to the sugar crisis in Pakistan, there are and have been unfortunately huge bomb blasts in the city of Peshawar killing above 40 people at a time. One of the bombs was made of sugar. By the time the melted sugar reached the browning stage, it was beginning to decompose. Some of the decomposition products are volatile and flammable. It appears that the volatiles caught fire and then set the whole mass alight. Therefore, a massive explosion can occur, a massive bomb explosion.

Any lay man is aware of the fact that sugar burns quickly and heats faster, since it happens to be a household product. Should we blame the Zionists for this or the west for funding Rs.40/50 per kg of sugar to the Taliban?

Did these rockers once try to even do a little research before making such comments without once realizing their social responsibility? Did it ever occur to them that the music they play or the words they communicate have a major impact on our youth and the general public?
They seem very quick on playing the blame game, however, did it occur to them that the western musicians and celebrities that have immensely influenced them, try their level best to remember their moral and social obligations to their fans? For example, Rihanna being one to women in abusive relationships and Bono, well, Bono’s name speaks for itself.

I have always been taught that under any circumstances do not talk without any sufficient evidence/proof or substantial backing to your reasoning. In short “if you talk about the walk, you have to walk the talk.” In this case don’t just strum your guitar and bang your head to the music while being out of tune, because that is the music that will make your ears bleed and drive you insane.