Music during war time
The American pop musician Lenny Kravitz sings We Want Peace. Kravitz
performs his new song together with Kazem Al Sahir, a well-known
Iraqi pop musician. Different pop musicians have released songs
protesting the war in Iraq, including George Michael and The Beastie
Boys. The question is who will air these songs.
Songs about the war are forbidden on British radio. Not only protest
songs, but anything that evokes associations with war and conflict
is taboo. Bandages by Hot Hot Heat, a love song, is sufficiently
objectionable to be forbidden.
Music broadcaster MTV Europe rejects video clips with images of
war, soldiers and bombs. Texts and band names that refer to the
war are also forbidden. For example, all the numbers by the American
B-52s are forbidden because this band has the same name as the
bomber. One of the forbidden videos is Boom! by System of a Down.
The anti-war video, with images of world-wide peace demonstrations,
was made in collaboration with Oscar-winner Michael Moore. Moore
used the Oscar Awards as an opportunity to express his abhorrence
of the war. Megastar Madonna has changed the images in her violent
video clip for American Life. She doesn’t think this is the
right time for these images.
In the Middle East the Egyptian Singer Sjaban Abdel-Rahim scored
a hit with Attack on Iraq. Abdel-Rahim became famous two years
ago for his number I hate Israel.
The songs of Lenny
The song of Sjaban
Digging for a Hindu temple at the site of a mosque
The archaeological excavations in the North Indian city of Ayodhya
are almost complete. This excavation is supposed to provide a solution
to the conflict that centres around Ayodhya, according to the ruling
by an Indian court at the beginning of March. In 1992 extremist
Hindus destroyed a sixteenth century mosque at this site, which
is the birthplace of the Hindu god Ram. The court’s decision
is controversial because in many places in India mosques are built
on top of temples and temples on top of mosques. The Indian Supreme
Court refused to hear a request to forbid the excavation. It has,
however, issued a temporary injunction against prayer services
by Hindus at the site of the mosque.
According to the Hindus, the centuries-old Bhojshala monument in
the state of Madhya Pradesh is a temple, but according to the Muslims
it is a mosque. The monument is opened every Friday for Moslems
and once a year for Hindus. The state government has now proposed
opening the complex every Tuesday for Hindus. This proposal has
led to a great deal of unrest. Voices are being heard that suggest
settling this dispute through excavation.
Protests against arrest of Moroccan hard rockers
There is a great deal of protest in Morocco against the arrest
of hard rock musicians and hard rock fans. Fourteen young people
were imprisoned on February 16th. The court in Casablanca sentenced
them to from a month to a year in prison. The complaint was that
these young people believe in Satanism and that this undermines
Islamic belief. The accused are supposed to have listened to too
much hard rock music and not enough to authentic Moroccan music.
In addition they visited a rock café that is set up like
a cave. CDs and black T-shirts were introduced as evidence.
After the arrest over four hundred people signed a petition requesting
the release of the people arrested. In the week of 10 March the
press union organised a demonstration and a hard rock concert was
organised in protest. Four thousand young people, clad in black
T-shirts, held a sit-in in front of the court in Casablana. In
the same week eleven prisoners were released temporarily.
The last three prisoners are also accused of promulgating ideological
ideas that are incompatible with Islamic belief. The appeal submitted
by their attorneys was rejected.
Niqab can be forbidden at school
According to a ruling by the Commission
for Equal Treatment (CGB)
issued at the end of March, the Amsterdam Regional Training Centre
(ROC) has the right to exclude girls who wear a veil over their
faces. The Commission ruled in 2000 that refusing admission to
girls who wear a chador, a similar veil, was against the Equal
Treatment Act. At that time the Commission ruled that forbidding
a veil that covers the face leads to indirect discrimination based
on religion. But the arguments of the ROC weighed heavier than
the arguments that were the deciding factor in 2000. The two students
involved, say that 'real Muslim girls' must always keep their faces
covered in the presence of men. They want to wear such a veil at
school, except in the classroom and during exams. "The niqab
obstructs communication and makes it difficult to identify students",
says the ROC. This stands in the way of their education.
Rolling Stones in China for the first time
The Rolling Stones’ music has always been viewed by Chinese
authorities as mental contamination. And even though the Stones
have attempted to organise a tour in China ever since the end of
the Cultural Revolution, such a tour has always been forbidden.
Thus it is extraordinary that the Ministry of Culture has decided
to grant permission for two concerts now. The Chinese want to demonstrate
that they are ready to receive the world because in 2008 the country
will host the Olympic Games and Shanghai wants to host the World
Expo in 2010. The Stones will only play numbers from the 40 Lick
compilation CD in Shanghai and Beijing, which is the only Stones
CD to be released in China. The warm-up act will be Cui Jian, the
idol of the democratic movement in 1989. It is his first performance
since the suppression of protest at the Square of Heavenly Peace
The Stones’ scheduled performance in Hong Kong has been cancelled
out of fear of spreading the lung disease, SARS.
Afghanistan receives radio station for women
Since 8 March, International Women’s Day, Afghanistan has
had a radio station especially for women. The Voice of Afghan Women
broadcasts news, education, entertainment and social issues. Jamila
Mujahed, chairman of the women’s union that set up the radio
station, is also the editor in chief of the Women’s Magazine
Malalai. The recently founded Malalai is the first women’s’ magazine
in Afghanistan since the end of the war in 2001. Under the Taliban
regime, the Afghan women were forbidden to work and to go to school.
Since the overthrow of the Taliban the position of Afghan women
has improved. But obviously their representation on the radio is
still quite small.
The radio station is sponsored by the UN cultural organisation
UNESCO and by the French aid organisation AÏNA.
Human Rights Watch, about the position of women in Afghanistan
Americans book 'terror vacation' in Israel
For 5,500 dollars you can have a 'terror vacation' in the Israeli
occupied territories. The deal is being offered by two Americans
who immigrated to Israel. The tourists can expect simulated terrorist
attacks, receive firearm training and anti-terrorist lessons and
fly over Hebron and the Gaza strip in a helicopter. "They
will then experience first hand what it is to live in a hostile
area and to have their lives in jeopardy", according to Jay
Greenblatt and Joshua Mizrachi, who came up with the idea. According
to some this unjustly portrays the West Bank and the Gaza strip
as areas that are too dangerous to live in. But the head of the
Tourist Association for the region, Yehezkel Klein, has no objection.
He compares the holiday with the excitement that bungee jumpers
are seeking. The first 'terror tourists' from America arrive this
month, provided the war in Iraq does not prevent them from travelling
Pro-government pop hits popular in the Ivory Coast
Different musicians in the Ivory Coast are using their lyrics
to speak out against the rebels that have been fighting against
the government army and have occupied part of the country since
The music is rap, reggae, or "zuglu" (Ivory Coast pop
music). The artists tell the rebels that they don’t have
a chance and that they must stop fighting.
The biggest hit is Liberez Mon Pays, produced by ex-soccer player
Joel Tiehi. The text is more than a call to peace. The patriotic
hit tells about the immigrants in the Ivory Coast, who are the
cause of the rebellion and have abused the country’s hospitality.
The number is being played in every bar, and 200,000 copies of
the CD containing the number have already been sold.
SMS language provokes discussion
A thirteen-year-old Scottish student wrote a paper in SMS language
and in so doing provoked a discussion about the effects of such
a new language. Many teenagers in particular use this language
that was created to enable people to send short text messages via
mobile telephones. SMS language usually does not use vowels, and
contains many symbols and contractions. There is also a Dutch version.
The thirteen-year-old said that the SMS language is 'easier than
standard English'. Her teacher could not decipher the code. British
education experts warn that SMS language can have a negative effect
on the development of teenagers’ talents and say that it
should be forbidden in education. Others believe that students’ freedom
of expression should not be suppressed or that children learn to
discover a new language in this way
Parool, Trouw, de
belang van Limburg, Gazet
van Antwerpen, Daily
New York Times, The
Straits Times, Cnews, Indian
Tribune, India, BBC
Press, Reuters, Reuters
Press International, AllAfrica.com, IAfrica.com, Ananova, Haaretz.com, Pakistan
News Service, Islam
Online, Time.com, MTV, Chartattack, AÏNA, Commissie
Gelijke Behandeling, Human
Rights Watch, UNESCO,