Saturday, April 21, 2007

Music and the Taliban disease

Another report on conditions in the tribal areas. It is important to distinguish this social situation from "freedom". This is not a "lawless" society and it is not "free". There is a hierarchy of influence and authority in place in this society and with it there is a corresponding hierarchy of coercive measures standing behind it. They are operating -- and must be continuously operative in order to keep on producing -- this "Taliban society". Even so, in the face of possible reprisal [?] some individuals, even here, are willing to hint at their rejection of the system in place. If we are to understand social situations we must critically distinguish between the coercive means imposed on collectivities by those in power and [in contrast] the more authentic judgments and voluntary reactions of individuals who must live within the system. Such people well understand the risks entailed in expressing their own opinions; they know the potential costs that may be invisible to the outside observer. Will those who hinted disapproval pay a price for this?

No more music in this town
By Graham Usher
Al-Ahram Weekly

"Six years after the Taliban was removed from Kabul, Talibanisation is reviving -- in Pakistan"
"During its rule in Afghanistan the Taliban banned music and the employment and education of women. Such practices were 'un-Islamic',said its leaders. Others called their prohibitive and primitive interpretation of Islam "Talibanisation". The Taliban regime was ousted in November 2001, when US-led forces invaded Kabul in retaliation for the 9/11 attacks. But Talibanisation persists -- not in Afghanistan but in Pakistan."
"Its bases are the remote tribal areas piled up against Pakistan's mountainous border with Afghanistan"
"Two months ago religious students or Taliban began 'vice' patrols. One of their first edicts was to ban music."
"Zai-ul-uddin is a singer from Lakki Marwat. He used to perform at weddings with a full band of flute, drum and harmonium. No longer. 'I didn't receive any notice. I was simply told -- no more music in this town. I complied,' he says guiltily."
"Unchecked by police and state the disease will spread. On 18 March Bashir Hussein's music store in Peshawar was firebombed by a group calling themselves the mujahadeen but assumed to be the Taliban. It was the first time a music store had been hit in this sprawling,ancient city, known, among many other things, for its music. 'It won't be the last,' says Bashir."

No comments: