Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Pakistan's Protest Music in Social Media

Enabled by Pakistan's youthful population's embrace of the new media, the hit videos Aalu Anday and Paki Rambo are the latest examples in a long tradition of protest music, poetry and literature in the rich and diverse culture of Pakistan.



In recent years, Pakistan's protest culture has entered a new and exciting phase. The artists no longer feel stifled by the heavily censored state electronic media which dominated the national landscape for most of Pakistan's existence. In fact, the new talent does not rely even on the corporate-owned commercial media that have emerged and become powerful during the last decade of President Musharraf's rule. With the growth of Internet in Pakistan, the rapidly expanding online population is feeling more empowered than ever to engage in free expression as part of their political and social activism.

The best known Pakistani protest poem is Habib Jalib's "main nahin manta" (I refuse to accept) from the Ayub era of the 1960s. Though Jalib passed away in 1993, his words have continued to give expression to discontent against unpopular leaders who have come and gone since the 1960s. His timeless poems still serve as a clarion call of resistance against the tyranny of the status quo. And Jalib's legacy continues to inspire new and youthful creative talent to produce protest songs and music which spread virally through new social media like the Internet-based social networks including Facebook and Twitter, and video repositories like Youtube.

Given the global reach of the Internet, the new social media are now enabling individual Pakistani protest musicians to attract international attention. For example, the Beyghairat Brigade's trio who created Aalu Anday have found fans in other South Asian nations with glowing reviews in the Indian media.

A Youtube video titled "Paki Rambo"` by Adil Omar, a young Pakistani hip hop artist, has reached across the oceans to fans around the world, and found coverage in the Washington Post. An American group Cypress Hill discovered his music on the Internet and invited him out to Los Angeles to record together. The Post also reports that "Omar has now recorded songs with several other American rappers, including Everlast from House of Pain, Xzibit and one of the members of Limp Bizkit. He plans to release his first album next year and has established himself as Pakistan’s biggest — and perhaps only — rap star."

With expanding educational opportunities and growing access and use of the modern social media by the nation's youth, Pakistan is now in the midst of a dramatic social transformation that is likely to change the face of politics in the coming decades. The arrival of this new era has the potential to end the old feudal style politics of patronage, and replace it with a truly participatory democracy and vastly improved governance.

Here's a video of Aalu Anday by Beyghairat Brigade:



Here's a video of Adil Omar's "Paki Rambo" (viewer discretion advised):



Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Twitter Revolution in Pakistan

Pakistan's Demographic Dividend

Pakistan Launches 100 MBPS FTTH Broadband

Higher Education: Pakistanis Studying Abroad

Pakistani Graduation Rate Higher Than India's

India and Pakistan Contrasted in 2011

Educational Attainment Dataset By Robert Barro and Jong-Wha Lee

Quality of Higher Education in India and Pakistan

Developing Pakistan's Intellectual Capital

Intellectual Wealth of Nations

Pakistan's Story After 64 Years of Independence

Pakistan Ahead of India on Key Human Development Indices

Pakistani Social Network

Institute of International Education--Open Doors

UK's Higher Education Statistics Agency Report

Austrade on Education in Pakistan

23 comments:

satwa gunam said...

It might be a good movement but what is the reality of the judge moving to saudi after giving death senstence to taseer killer.

Riaz Haq said...

Satwa: "what is the reality of the judge moving to saudi after giving death senstence to taseer killer."

Protest music is a harsh and unsparing critique of what is wrong with today's Pakistan.

You should watch the Aalu Anday video to get a sense of the musicians' outrage at the excesses of the mullah, Ajmal Kasab and Mumtaz Qadri trio and their supporters who are a vocal and violent minority.

And then there is a quote by rapper Omar Adil in The Washington Post that says “violence seems to be totally acceptable in this culture, but sex and bad language in music and art seems to be totally unacceptable.”

I. KAMAL said...

Thanks again, Riaz Saheb,for keeping our hopes high. You observe:"The arrival of this new era has the potential to end the old feudal style politics of patronage". As we say in Urdu, "Aap ke muNh meiN ghee shakkar!".

You mentioned Habib Jaalib's "MaiN nahiN maanta". I was amused by Shabaz Saab's recent rendering of this poem, because he conveniently forgot that Jaalib had written this poem against his brother's godfather and mentor, Gen. Ziaul Haq. As the saying goes, "Naqal ko aqal chaahiyey" (it requires intelligence, even to copy someone!) I hope the awakened public will beware of false prophets.

Shaukat said...

liked the protest music writeup
wish you had included Habib Jalib and Laal band as well

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y57elLCPFQ4

Riaz Haq said...

A few excerpts from NY Times report today on Aalu Anday:

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — A satirical song that takes a tongue-in-cheek swipe at religious extremism, militancy and contradictions in Pakistani society has become an instant hit here, drawing widespread attention as a rare voice of the country’s embattled liberals.

The song, “Aalu Anday,” which means “Potatoes and Eggs,” comes from a group of three young men who call themselves Beygairat Brigade, or A Brigade Without Honor, openly mocking the military, religious conservatives, nationalist politicians and conspiracy theorists.

Their YouTube video has been viewed more than 350,000 times since it was uploaded in mid-October. The song is getting glowing reviews in the news media here and is widely talked about — and shared — on social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook.

The name of the band is itself a satire of Pakistan’s nationalists and conservatives, who are often described in the local news media as the Ghairat Brigade, or Honor Brigade.

Local musicians have produced work in the past vilifying the West, especially the United States, but rarely do they ridicule the military or religious extremists, and none have had Beygairat Brigade’s kind of success.

Sung in Punjabi, the language of the most populous and prosperous province, the song delivers biting commentary on the current socio-political milieu of the country, in which religious radicalism and militancy have steadily risen over the years and tolerance for religious minorities is waning.

Just this year, a governor who opposed Pakistan’s contentious blasphemy law was killed by one of his guards. The assassin was then celebrated by many in the country, including lawyers who greeted him with rose petals and garlands.

The song rues the fact that killers and religious extremists are hailed as heroes in Pakistan, while someone like Abdus Salam, the nation’s only Nobel Prize-winning scientist, is often ignored because he belonged to the minority Ahmadi sect.

“Qadri is treated like a royal,” wonders the goofy-looking lead vocalist in the song, referring to Malik Mumtaz Qadri, the elite police guard who killed the governor of Punjab, Salman Taseer, in January after he challenged the blasphemy law.

Another line in the song, “where Ajmal Kasab is a hero,” makes a reference to the only surviving Pakistani gunman involved in the 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India. Still another line, “cleric tried to escape in a veil,” alludes to the head cleric of Islamabad’s Red Mosque — which was the target of a siege in 2007 by the Pakistani government against Islamic militants — who tried unsuccessfully to break the security cordon by wearing a veil.

The song even makes fun of the powerful army chief, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, for extending his role for another three years.

Potatoes and eggs “never tasted so good,” wrote Fahd Husain in a commentary on Tuesday in The Daily Times, a newspaper based in Lahore. “They will always be credited for being politically incorrect when most needed, and giving voice to all those Pakistanis who live in fear.”
----------
There are certainly enough provocations to rile nationalists and conservatives. At one point in the music video, the lead singer holds a placard that reads, in English: “This video is sponsored by Zionists.”

The band members chose to upload the song on YouTube instead of handing it to television networks because they said the work was too offbeat and might be censored. Not surprisingly, some have criticized the song and its taunts as pedestrian and in bad taste.
-----------
He said the assassination of Mr. Taseer was the inspiration for the song and its lyrics.......


http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/07/world/asia/beygairat-brigades-youtube-hit-song-challenges-extremism-in-pakistan.html?_r=1&pagewanted=print

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Daily Times report on "Social media playing major role in reshaping society":

KARACHI: Advisor to Sindh Chief Minister Sharmila Farooqi has said that the social media was emerging like a revolution, enabling to connect with the people around the world without any boundaries of language, caste, creed or distance.
This she said while speaking as a chief guest at a three-day workshop on social media for media professionals at Arabian Sea Country Club Karachi on Saturday, organised by the Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF).
Fourteen media professionals, working in the conflict-zone of the country, participated in the workshop. Farooqi said that social media had brought the world closer and also increased individual to individual contacts, which helped in disseminating the information within seconds.
She said that in the present era of technology, the social media had become so important and an easier way to become a source of information as well as connectivity to get maximum response from the people.
Farooqi appreciated the
PPF for organising such an informative workshop for the media professionals.
Speaking on the occasion, Secretary General PPF Owais Aslam Ali said that journalists could get maximum benefits from the social media as they could bring their work before the world without any limitations of space and time.
He said that through this workshop, the journalists could get knowledge and learning through which they could build their credibility.
They said social media is the future of journalism as it gives journalists the maximum space and time for their news, views and opinions without any editing and restriction with maximum reach and connectivity.
On the occasion, journalists from Quetta, Landikotal, Bajaur Agency, FATA and Swat shared their experiences. ppi


http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011\10\09\story_9-10-2011_pg12_4

Shaukat said...

More protest music..

Most nations of the world protest against corruption, violence and extremism by pelting rocks on the streets, but Pakistan is now mining an additional avenue – rock music.

The phenomenon is not new. We had poets like Habib Jalib as well as bands like Junoon who took music and entertainment to a new level to expose what people generally hesitate in discussing. But in a country like Pakistan, can protests through music really work?

This was the question raised in AlJazeera’s show The Stream which took onboard Basim Usmani from The Kominas as the main guest.

The show highlighted the rising wave of protests through rock music in a country which is considered by the world to have been taken over by the Taliban.

In the show, the Pakistani band Laal, for the first time, aired the video of their song called Deshatgardi Murdabad as Taimoor Rehman from the band thought it was too controversial to be released in Pakistan.

Ali Aftab Saeed from the new Pakistani band Baygairat Brigade also joined in the conversation via online streaming to share his comments on the increasing importance of the role music plays in the Pakistani society.

http://tribune.com.pk/multimedia/videos/289224/

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Dawn story on "Karachi-The Musical" drawing large audiences in Karachi:

KARACHI: A hit musical about gangland violence in Pakistan’s largest metropolis is bidding to revive Karachi’s once-rich stage culture while shedding light on its grim addiction to violence.

Fierce sectarian and ethnic conflicts have been responsible for the deaths of more than 1,000 people this year alone and are an all-too-familiar tale to Karachi’s 18 million residents.

But the gritty realism portrayed in “Karachi – The Musical” has nevertheless provoked a huge response, playing to large audiences since it began in October for a month-long run due to finish on November 13.

It tells the story of a rookie boxer from the eastern city of Multan who comes to train at a boxing club in Karachi’s notorious Lyari neighbourhood – better known for its mafias than its sporting talent.

The ambitions of the protagonist, Saif Salaam, spark tensions between his coach and Daud Islam, a mafia don who controls the local gambling, drugs and prostitution rings and wants to thwart the boxer’s success.

With many twists and turns in the story set to a dozen songs, Daud attempts to kill Salaam, just as he had murdered another rising star 20 years earlier.

Mirroring grim realities on Karachi’s streets, the mafioso Daud is only stopped from killing the boy thanks to the intervention of another bad man – a more powerful don whose influence reaches higher into the corridors of power.

“It depicts the situation which we are facing nowadays,” said one theatre-goer, Aleem Akhtar.

“We are infested with mafias and gangs of killers and every mafia is well protected, so we can survive only with the blessings of some good bad men.”

The director of the first original musical to grace the city said that the show represented a defence against the very harshness it was based on.

“Today, art needs more support than ever in Pakistan because it is not only a reflection of the times we live in, but also of a brighter future we can create,” said Nida Butt.

“Theatre is not for the faint-hearted – it’s a labour of love, long hours and hard work that often results in more (money) spent than earned,” she added.

The once-thriving stage scene in Karachi, which was known for its opera before the partition of British India to create Pakistan in 1947, was lost largely due to the growing Islamisation of the country, say artists.

They particularly point the finger at military dictator General Zia-ul Haq, blaming him for worsening the gun and drug culture, encouraging sectarian and ethnic parties and crushing liberal forces during his 1977-1988 rules.

Art began losing its way under Zia’s predecessor Ayub Khan, they say, but it crumbled as culture became an early casualty of Zia’s regime, which nurtured religious fanaticism.

Syed Ahmed Shah, who heads the Karachi Arts Council and whose theatre is staging the production, says his organisation is the only one with a dedicated auditorium for plays and theatrical performances in Pakistan’s biggest city.

“Our resolve is to fully revive the city’s old cultural status so that it is here to stay,” he said.

“Particularly in a situation where fear and anxiety are the order of the day. Culture is the only remedy to rely on,” he said.

Hamza Jafri, who composed the original scores, said that “Karachi – The Musical” drew on the various strands of the city’s musical culture – a mix of rock opera, indigenous beats and big band jazz.

“The music is edgy, contemporary and completely inspired by our research into Lyari and the boxing gangs there. The songs talk about us, about Karachi and our lives in this city today,” he said..........


http://www.dawn.com/2011/11/10/karachi-musical-makes-song-and-dance-of-gang-wars.html

Riaz Haq said...

Here are some excerpts from Washington Post blog on Veena Malik:

The controversy comes on the heels of a tense week for Pakistan, in which NATO airstrikes killed 24 Pakistani soldiers, an incident Sen. John McCain (R.-Ariz.) blamed on ISI, which he said was actively supporting terorrist organizations. Senior officials in recent months have repeatedly accused ISI of supporting militants based in Pakistan’s tribal areas. Pakistan has denied such allegations.

Sharma says having ISI written on Malik’s arm was just intended as a joke. “In India we joke about this . . . if anything goes wrong . . . we say the ISI must be behind this.”

But Pakistan’s media aren’t finding it funny, with the Express Tribune staunchly declaring that the “viral photo is fake.”

Malik has stirred up controversy before. In 2010, she outraged conservatives for appearing on Indian reality show “Bigg Boss,” a show similar to “Big Brother.” In March of this year, she challenged a Pakistani cleric on television.

Male Pakistani actor Osman Khalid Butt also rose eyebrows back home this week after he recorded a “foul-mouthed” video. In the video, Butt attempts to use as many of the 1,500 English and Urdu words recently banned by the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority from use in text messages that he can.


http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/blogpost/post/pakistani-actress-veena-maliks-nude-isi-photo-stirs-controversy-decried-by-local-media-as-fake/2011/12/02/gIQACZ8KLO_blog.html

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a brief excerpt from Time Magazine about "Protestor" as "Person of the Year" for 2011:

Once upon a time, when major news events were chronicled strictly by professionals and printed on paper or transmitted through the air by the few for the masses, protesters were prime makers of history. Back then, when citizen multitudes took to the streets without weapons to declare themselves opposed, it was the very definition of news — vivid, important, often consequential. In the 1960s in America they marched for civil rights and against the Vietnam War; in the '70s, they rose up in Iran and Portugal; in the '80s, they spoke out against nuclear weapons in the U.S. and Europe, against Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, against communist tyranny in Tiananmen Square and Eastern Europe. Protest was the natural continuation of politics by other means.

And then came the End of History, summed up by Francis Fukuyama's influential 1989 essay declaring that mankind had arrived at the "end point of ... ideological evolution" in globally triumphant "Western liberalism." The two decades beginning in 1991 witnessed the greatest rise in living standards that the world has ever known. Credit was easy, complacency and apathy were rife, and street protests looked like pointless emotional sideshows — obsolete, quaint, the equivalent of cavalry to mid-20th-century war. The rare large demonstrations in the rich world seemed ineffectual and irrelevant. (See the Battle of Seattle, 1999.)

There were a few exceptions, like the protests that, along with sanctions, helped end apartheid in South Africa in 1994. But for young people, radical critiques and protests against the system were mostly confined to pop-culture fantasy: "Fight the Power" was a song on a platinum-selling album, Rage Against the Machine was a platinum-selling band, and the beloved brave rebels fighting the all-encompassing global oppressors were just a bunch of characters in The Matrix. (See pictures of protesters around the world.)

"Massive and effective street protest" was a global oxymoron until — suddenly, shockingly — starting exactly a year ago, it became the defining trope of our times. And the protester once again became a maker of history.

Prelude to the Revolutions
It began in Tunisia, where the dictator's power grabbing and high living crossed a line of shamelessness, and a commonplace bit of government callousness against an ordinary citizen — a 26-year-old street vendor named Mohamed Bouazizi — became the final straw. Bouazizi lived in the charmless Tunisian town of Sidi Bouzid, 125 miles south of Tunis. On a Friday morning almost exactly a year ago, he set out for work, selling produce from a cart. Police had hassled Bouazizi routinely for years, his family says, fining him, making him jump through bureaucratic hoops. On Dec. 17, 2010, a cop started giving him grief yet again. She confiscated his scale and allegedly slapped him. He walked straight to the provincial-capital building to complain and got no response. At the gate, he drenched himself in paint thinner and lit a match.


Read more: http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,2101745_2102132_2102373,00.html #ixzz1h2cwmt4W

Riaz Haq said...

Imran Khan attends blog awards in Karachi, talks about revolution:

To the audience’s delight, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan made a surprise entrance at the second Pakistan Blog Awards that kicked off Friday evening at the Regent Plaza hotel.

Acknowledging bloggers in Pakistan, Imran said that a silent revolution is building up in Pakistan and that the bloggers are a vital part of the revolution.

“Political class is in a state of shock due to this revolution,” the PTI chief said. Stand-up comedian Sami Shah had his reservations about Imran’s presence, saying, “It turned political all of a sudden”. However, Shah said that the event was a positive step.

The awards were attended by prominent, as well as the not-so-prominent faces of the Pakistani blogosphere and cyberspace. The popular opinion remained that the blogosphere has shown an exponential growth.

“This year around, it is great,” blogger Sana Saleem said. “You can gauge the importance of media from the fact that almost every news organisation’s website has a blog now,” she added.

Applause roared across the hall, which housed around 300 people, as Rabia Gharib, the host for the event started to announce the winners.

“Each nomination represents a different hue of Pakistan,” Gharib said.

“The environment is electric,” remarked CEO P@sha Jehan Ara. “Blogs are definitely going to go a long way.”

Jehan Ara, who began blogging a few years back, said that there were about 25 blog nominations in every category.

However, prominent talk-show host Faisal Qureshi said, “Pakistani blogs have quantity, but don’t have quality. We are a nation of complainers, not advocacy. We should be more responsible about our content,” he added.

“Internet usage is converging in Pakistan, which is helping new and social media,” said Badar Khushnood, the Google Pakistan’s country consultant. “There is always a certain level of noise and hype, but in my belief, blogs have done a lot of good to citizen journalism.”


http://tribune.com.pk/story/311277/internet-advocacy-blogs-in-pakistan--no-more-a-silent-revolution/

Riaz Haq said...

Here are some of the lyrics of political song by Wasu, a Baloch from a remote village in Balochistan, and Pakistani singer-song writer Shehzad Roy:

Apne Ulloo Lyrics
[Wassu]
Quaid-e-Azam aya angrezo ko bhagaya
Pakistan banaya teera maah chalaya
Ziarat ke dourey par aya maut ne isko bulaya
Dunya aakhir fani chor dya usko
Jani sacha tha Pakistani
Karachi mein dafnaya poora dunya aya
phoolon ka chadar chadaya
phir noton par photo aya
goro ko tune bhagya
Quaid-e-Azam ke baad baba jo bhi aata hai
apna ulloo seedha karta hai

[Shehzad Roy]
Apne Ulloo kitne taire ap tak na hue yeh seedhe
Apne Ulloo korey korey woh yehi pe hai korey korey
Apne Ulloo kitne taire ap tak na hue yeh seedhe
Apne Ulloo korey korey woh yehi pe hai korey korey

[Wassu]
Liaquat Ali Khan aya usko aamro ne marwaya
Iskandar Mirza aya usne nahin chalaya
General Ayub Khan aya marital law lagaya
Mirza ko bahadur banaya
1965 ka jang laraya Shastri ko maar bhagaya
Aisa sabak seekha moo tod jawab dilaya
[Nehr] bhi banwaya isne bhi nahin chalaya
Sir baad mein aya Yahya Khan adha Pakistan ganwaya
Fauj ko qaid karwaya Bangladesh chinaya
Isne bhi nahin chalaya

[Shehzad Roy]
Taale, waadey, signal, dil sabkuch toda kuch nahin choda
kuch nahin choda
Do number kaamon mein bhi hum number two
hum number two
Kar Allah hoo
Apne Ulloo kitne taire ap tak na hue yeh seedhe
Apne Ulloo korey korey woh yehi pe hai korey korey

[Wassu]
Bhutoo sahab jab aya aisa nizam chalaya
Pehle qaidy chudaya zameen takseem karwaya
Haari aur mazdooro ko dilwaya
Miloo ko taala lagwaya one unit toodwaya
Sarkari khatam karaya roti kapre ka nara lagaya
Sarmayadaro ne socha isse kabhi na hoga
mansooba banaya Zia-ul-Haq mangwaya bhutto ko qaid karwaya
Kasuri ka case chalaya suli par latqaya
Sir Marshal Law lagaya Junejo ko mangwaya Wazeer-e-Azam banaya
Usko mazool karwaya referendum karaya Khud ko bhi chunwaya
Bhutto ko bhi bhagaya court mein tune lagaya jailon mein bandh karwaya
11 saal chalaya

[Shehzad Roy]
koi rule nahin hai rule yehi yeh baat sahi taariq ne ki
taariq ne ki
Apne Ulloo kitne taire ap tak na hue yeh seedhe
Apne Ulloo korey korey woh yehi pe hai korey korey

[Wassu]
Rangeene ne Rang dikhaya Jaahaz uska giraya Islamabad dafnaya
Ghulam Ishaq Khan aya mehangayi ko bharhaya 500rs bori aate ka bharhaya
Ghareebo ko bhookh maraya aik saal PPP ko diya usko mazool kya
Nawaz Sharif ko mangaya wazeer-e-azam banwaya uksko mazool karwaya
Moin Qureshi aya emandari nibhaya vote jald karwaya
Fauj ko bulwaya dhandhali se bachaya jeet gya hai PPP
Benazir jab aya bijli aur gas dilwaya thoda tankha barhaya
Farooq ko sadar banaya siyasi chakar aya farooq ko gussa aya
Assemblies khatam karwaya nigrah wazeer bhitaya
Nishan tha jiska cheetah Nawaz Sharif ne jeeta
Aaane mein aaya 300 tankha barhaya
Bhai logo ko danda chadhaya aathwi tarmeem khatam karaya
Aate ki kilat karwaya Aik peice PAKISTAN ka America se atta karwaya
Soobha Baluchistan ke zilah Chagi mein aitamy dhamaka karwaya
Pervez Musharaff aya Nawwz sharif ko hataya aghwah ka kais chalwaya
100 takhwa barhaya karzey wapis karwaya Nawaz Sharif ko qaid sunwaya
mulk badar bhi karwaya aisa kaam karwaya ke tarar ko tune bhagaya
khud ko tune sadar banaya referendum karwaya khud ko jeetaya
intekhabad karwaya Jamali sahab ko wazeer-e-azam banwaya
Jamali ne jurat aur bahaduri yehi dikhaya ke apna mohallah azad karwaya

[Shehzad Roy]
Sab hazm kiya sab khatam kya hum phir denge woh kaahe ge
Hum peeche hai hat jaye to backing to gayi voting bhi gayi
voting bhi gayi
Apne Ulloo kitne taire ap tak na hue yeh seedhe
Apne Ulloo korey korey woh yehi pe hai korey korey
Apne Ulloo kitne taire ap tak na hue yeh seedhe
Apne Ulloo korey korey woh yehi pe hai korey korey

[Wassu]
Shehzad Roy ne gaana banaya kisi ko samaj na aya
Angelina Jolie aya baba sab ko samaj aya


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xiExJqEQQ7M

Riaz Haq said...

In a Tehelka Op Ed, Kiran Nazish writes: "One way to regulate the media or politics in Pakistan is to have civil society watchdogs and that seems to be working. The civil society in Pakistan seems to be quietly — and perhaps, inadvertently — regaining strength. We don’t know if this could this be a threat to the establishment’s control over the state."

More excerpts:

"In recent years, Pakistani media has been on a wild ride of television ratings. To catch up, Maya Khan, a popular TV host took her show to public parks, where she – with her battalion of likeminded women, ran from ‘couple’ to ‘couple’, with microphones and cameras, exposing them as a social disgrace. "

"If the stars were on their usual path, Maya Khan would not have encountered the kind of public outrage she did. While some jocular humour embellished public anger, and jokes like ‘when in parks, beware of dogs and Maya Khan’, were winning popularity; a group of civil society members took shape. The Citizen for Free and Responsible Media (CFRM) emerged as a group of activists, academics, lawyers and journalists, including unadorned citizens that collectively forfeited against Maya’s actions and ran a campaign to ensure that she identifies such behaviour as unethical and apologises. Which, when she didn’t, aggravated the situation and caused her to get fired by the channel along with rest of the team on her show. The following days CFRM continued pointing out and campaigning against other programmes with questionable content or anchoring style and caused two resignations from the anchor and producer of popular prime time shows.

Maya Khan is not just a person, but also a phenomenon, and the growth of such phenomenon is now being impeded by efforts of groups like the CFRM. This development is significant in Pakistan, especially when, to rephrase a CNN report, ‘Media is becoming more powerful than the military.’"

"Take the NRO issue or the Memogate scandal, a massive outrage from the public has constantly been visible. Pakistan now seems ready to hold the state to account, forcing it to live up to its own commitments. Then the lawyers’ movement, with 10 million signatories, was crucial to restore the chief justice. Not just lawyers, but people from all walks of life took to the streets till the goal was accomplished. A lot happened in between but the resistance could not overcome collective civilian participation. It was the civil society in Pakistan that brought about the change from authoritarianism to democracy. We need to explore how quietly and steadfastly their efforts are having a transformative impact. And whether civil society can help dismantle the power, political and monetary concentration by the military. Pakistan may not have free and independent media yet but behind the barricades and across the checkposts, the civil society is learning how to self-liberate."

http://www.tehelka.com/story_main51.asp?filename=Ws110212Lessons.asp

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Washington Post blog about Internet censorship attempts in Pakistan:

... government ad in Pakistani newspapers Thursday calls for bids for a national firewall for “filtering and blocking” of content on the Web, the technology and culture blog Boing Boing reports.

For many Pakistanis, the ad — posted by the Ministry of Information Technology’s R & D department — prompted flashbacks to the last major incident of Internet censorship in the country, on “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day” last May. The cartoon contest spurred Pakistani authorities to order that Internet service providers block access to Facebook and other social media sites, later adding YouTube to the list. Cellphone company Mobilink said access to other sites with “blasphemous content” were also blocked, and a Post reporter said Wikipedia was not working.

The day after the cartoon contest, those sites went back up, but the incident had a lasting impact on Pakistan’s Internet censors.

The following month, a petition presented to the Lahore High Court called on Pakistani Internet service providers to filter content labeled as “smut.”

Also in June, users of Mobilink reported that they were unable to search for several politically sensitive keywords, including the name of the country’s president, according to Opennet.net.

And now this. More information about the proposed filtering and blocking system is on the Ministry of Information Technology’s Web site (here and here.) The site says the content to be blocked is anything deemed “undesirable” by the ministry “from time to time.”

Each hardware box, the ministry also says, “should be able to handle a block list of up to 50 million URLs ... with processing delay of not more than 1 milliseconds.”


http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/blogpost/post/pakistan-calls-for-bids-for-national-internet-filtering-and-blocking-system/2012/02/23/gIQACuOAWR_blog.html

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an ET opinion on the latest season of Pakistani Idol TV show:

The year 2011 marked the discovery of various musical gems through the emergence of Pakistani talent shows like “Uth Records”. The show played a key role in turning raw Pakistani talent into seasoned musicians and singers of today. Every episode had a unique flavour and charm; as it showcased a different musician, singing a different genre, belonging to a different ethnic background and representing a different part of the country. From the catchy tunes of Natasha Ejaz to the folk rock belted out by Yasir & Jawad, every artist created a cult following of their own, becoming a regular feature on the local radio channels. Of course, none of this could have happened without music producers Omran Shafique and Gumby who were integral in the success of the first season of “Uth Records”.

So when 2012 started and the second season of the show was announced, there were even higher expectations from it. However, this time, there was a slight variation in the line-up. Gumby had taken over Shafique’s spot as the solo producer of the show. The fact that Gumby was producing music left many confused as he is better known for his drumming skills than anything else. However, people had been talking about his creative input in producing “Coke Studio” for a long while and this would’ve been a great opportunity for him to put his talent to test.

However, Gumby couldn’t come even close to what was expected from a seasoned musician like him. With artists like Jarar Malik, Affaq Mushtaq, XXI, Sara Haider, Orangenoise and Rahim Saranjam Khan who featured on the show, only two managed to stand out — Khan and Mushtaq. The rest of the artists made no lasting impression and were not extraordinary by any means.


http://tribune.com.pk/story/365571/uth-records-tunes-of-disappointment/

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an excerpt from a Wall Street Journal blog post on a Pakistani rapper Adil Omar:

For mainstream hip-hop fans used to hearing lyrics about East-West rivalries and other American concerns, Adil Omar rhymes in unfamiliar territory.

The Islamabad, Pakistan, native gives a shout-out to cricketer Shahid Afridi and riffs on his country’s traffic jams and weather (“You wonder why I’m cocky, ‘cos I stay burning hotter than a summer in Karachi”). His lyrics are punctuated by shouts of “Islamabad, get up! L.A., get up!” He also plays up his outsider status (“I’m a foreign damnation at your borderline waitin’,” from “Paki Rambo”), while mocking the globalization that facilitated his rise (his song “Ten Thousand” ends with a skinny vanilla latte order).

The 21-year-old got his big break in 2008, when Cypress Hill rapper B-Real came across his music online and invited him to Los Angeles to collaborate on his album “The Harvest.” Two years later, Mr. Omar released a track online, “Incredible,” and followed it with another single, “Off the Handle,” featuring L.A. rapper Xzibit and produced by Fredwreck, who is known for his work with Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg.

Mr. Omar is now working on “The Mushroom Cloud Effect,” an album slated for release this year that will feature Westerners such as Xzibit, Everlast and B-Real as well as Pakistani singer-actress Meesha Shafi.

He spoke with the Journal about Pakistan’s hip-hop scene, working with Xzibit and what he listens to in his down time.

The Wall Street Journal: How did you get started in hip-hop?

Mr. Omar: I’ve been writing since I was nine and recording since I was 13. I don’t remember how I started exactly, but it’s always something I wanted to do and be a part of. I grew up listening to everything, but hip-hop is what spoke to me most and what I enjoyed writing most.

Who are your musical influences?

Trent Reznor/Nine Inch Nails, Everlast, Johnny Cash, Neil Young, House of Pain, Cypress Hill, Kool G Rap, Big Pun, Tupac, Eminem, Kid Rock, Limp Bizkit, Marilyn Manson, Dr. Dre, the Beatles, N.W.A., the Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, Wu-Tang Clan, Motorhead, Gang Starr, Nas, Rakim, Ice Cube.

Why do you rap in English rather than Urdu?

I grew up with English as my first language. I was educated in British and American schools and born to a mother who grew up in the U.K. and only spoke English with me. I’m pretty whitewashed. I do love my culture, but me rapping in Urdu would sound forced. I’d rather leave that to good Urdu and Punjabi MCs. I also work in English because I write in English and I’d rather reach a wider audience than limit myself just to Pakistan and India..


http://blogs.wsj.com/scene/2012/05/23/in-pakistan-adil-omar-breaks-new-ground-in-hip-hop/

Riaz Haq said...

Here's Indian writer Aakar Patel in FirstPost on Indian version of Coke Studio:

Why did Pakistan produce the lovely Coke Studio music series and not India? Why is Pakistan’s Coke Studio more popular with many Indians over the new Indian version? Is it because Pakistan’s musicians are better or more creative than India’s?
----------
One evening Ifti, who is sadly no longer with us, took me to the Waris Road residence of Masood Hasan, later to become a fellow columnist of mine at The News. We had a few glasses of the good stuff with some other guests, and then Hasan took us to a part of the property where his son Mekaal had built a studio and was playing with his band.

This was when I first heard the music that is now so distinctively the sound of Coke Studio. I would define it as a folk song or raag-based melody, layered with western orchestration. This included a synthesizer wash, guitars, a drummer, a bass punctuating the chord changes, and backing vocals and harmony. Essentially it was traditional Hindustani music made palatable for ears accustomed to listening to more popular music.

Mekaal did this very well and his band’s first album, Sampooran, is as good as anything produced by Rohail Hyatt at Coke Studio later.

Indeed, many of the musicians Mekaal worked with, eventually ended up at Coke Studio. Gumby, the Karachi drummer on Coke Studio’s first four seasons, played on Sampooran. Zeb and Haniya, the stars of Coke Studio 2, were originally produced by Mekaal.

The first-rate Hindustani singer Javed Bashir who adds depth to the singers who are not classically trained, used to be lead singer with Mekaal’s band. The great Ghulam Ali was on a flight with me from Ahmedabad to Bombay once and I told him I was friends with Javed. “Mera hi bachcha hai,” he said with great pride.

Lahore’s Pappu, Pakistan’s best flutist, has played flute for Mekaal’s records.

Gumby and I went to a concert next to my house where guitarists Frank Gambale and Maurizio Colonna played. Gumby says Colonna’s playing brought tears to his eyes. Javed and I have drunk a few places dry, and been banned from one. Mekaal is of course a dear friend, as are Zeb and Haniya.
--------
Now to understand why India did not produce Coke Studio but Pakistan did. The reason is linked to what I said earlier – that Coke Studio is a popular interpretation of India’s traditional music.

India’s talented musicians and producers have a commercial outlet:Bollywood. This is where money is made and this is where Pakistan’s singers who want commercial success must also come.

Their talent, however, is spent on making music that is purely popular, because that is what they are paid big money for. Indian musicians like Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy and Kailash Kher can make
Coke Studio’s sort of classical-popular mix of music easily if they set aside a couple of months for it. They choose not to however, because their working day is spent making music
that makes them rich (Kailash, whom I’ve known since before he sang for Bollywood, today charges Rs 20 lakh for a two hour concert).

In Pakistan there is no commerce in music, and even the most talented musicians must do something other than sing or play to get by. Mekaal for instance, rents out his studio. The disadvantages of not having a commercial outlet for your talent are many. The only advantage of this is that musicians are free to make popular music that is still non-commercial.

Fortunately for all of us, whether Indian or Pakistani, Rohail Hyatt and his team have used this space to produce the music that we love so much. The reason why Coca Cola produces it is that the Pakistani public will not directly pay for it, unlike Indians and Bollywood.

It is cruel to say this, but it is true.


http://www.firstpost.com/living/why-pakistans-coke-studio-beats-indias-hollow-338177.html

Riaz Haq said...

Here's ET on "Khoon", a song by Topi Drama on continuing carnage of Shia in Pakistan:

With its new song Khoon, the band Topi Drama hopes to make listeners more aware of their surroundings. The song is about the blood that Pakistanis have on their hands for the silence and apathy shown by the government, media and citizens towards the persecution of the Shia community. A smooth listen on the ears, Khoon has gone viral since its release two weeks ago and Topi Drama has struck a chord with the audience right when it was needed.

http://tribune.com.pk/story/514782/khoon-an-ode-to-the-shia-community/

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a report on free tweeting in Pakistan:

Whenever a country that has a history of internet censorship gains better access to one of the internet’s most important tools, it’s big news.

And that’s exactly what has happened today. Starting today, Pakistan’s largest provider of cellular services has announced that its prepaid customers can tweet away – for free.

“Data charges for accessing Twitter have been made ZERO for all Mobilink prepaid subscribers. Subscribers don’t require to subscribe to this offer since it is available for all prepaid subscribers by default,” says Mobilink.

That means that users can tweet and retweet all they want without incurring any data charges. This removes one of the impediments from Pakistani Twitter users, who have faced state censorship of Twitter in the past.

Back in May of 2012, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority shut off Twitter access for the entire country for approximately 8 hours following the circulation of content deemed blasphemous on the network. Some speculated that the move had less to do with the specific content and more to do with a simple test as to whether a state-wide blockage was feasible.

As far as the rest of the internet goes, the Pakistani government has a history of censorship in the areas of so-called blasphemy and pornography. Recently, that censorship has moved to content that falls in the realm of political speech. In a country with this track record, free access to Twitter is a significant opportunity for its people – considering access remains open.

There are some caveats to the deal. Mainly, tweets must be sent via mobile.twitter.com – not Twitter’s native apps.

Also:

“[G]oing on external links will result in data charging. Whenever a subscriber clicks on an external link, he will be shown a notification indicating that standard data charges apply to view the link. External link will be opened after subscriber’s consent only.”

But for the purposes of simply communicating (being that all-important amateur reporter), this is a great thing for Pakistani tweeters.


http://www.webpronews.com/pakistans-mobiilink-offers-free-tweeting-to-its-customers-2013-04

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a WSJ story on how some people are using fake twitter accounts to boost their "followers":

One day earlier this month, Jim Vidmar bought 1,000 fake Twitter accounts for $58 from an online vendor in Pakistan.

He then programmed the accounts to "follow" the Twitter account of rapper Dave Murrell, who calls himself Fyrare and pays Mr. Vidmar to boost his standing on the social network. Mr. Vidmar's fake accounts also rebroadcast Mr. Murrell's tweets, amplifying his Twitter voice.

Mr. Murrell says he sometimes buys Twitter ads to raise his profile, "but you'll get more with Jim." He says many Twitter users try to make their followings look bigger than they are. "If you're not padding your numbers, you're not doing it right," he says. "It's part of the game."

Mr. Vidmar offers a window into the shadowy world of false accounts and computerized robots on Twitter, one of the world's largest social networks. Surrounded by a dozen computers at his home overlooking a golf course near the Las Vegas Strip, Mr. Vidmar has been buying fake accounts and unleashing them on Twitter for six years.

Today, he says he manages 10,000 robots for roughly 50 clients, who pay Mr. Vidmar to make them appear more popular and influential.

His are among millions of fake accounts on Twitter. Mr. Vidmar and other owners manage them to simulate Twitter users: they tweet; retweet, or forward, other tweets; send and reply to messages; and follow and unfollow other Twitter accounts, among other actions.

Some entertainers pay for fake followers. But false accounts can be political tools as well. In 2011, thousands of fake accounts disrupted anti-Kremlin protesters on Twitter.

The fake accounts remain a cloud over Twitter Inc. in the wake of its successful initial public offering. "Twitter is where many people get news," says Sherry Turkle, director of the MIT Initiative on Technology and Self. "If what is trending on Twitter is being faked by robots, people need to know that. This will and should undermine trust."
-------
Mr. Ding, the Barracuda Labs researcher, says the fake-account market is "going very strong." He and other researchers say Twitter doesn't appear to be applying the Berkeley researchers' techniques to root out other fake accounts.

Mr. Vidmar's robots have helped make his clients "trending topics" on Twitter, giving them special mention on Twitter users' home pages. The trending topics appear just below the "promoted trend" that the company sells for as much as $200,000 a day. The trending topics aren't marked as "sponsored," so they appear more genuine.

Rapper Tony Benson says hiring Mr. Vidmar to promote his account on Twitter is "the best decision I ever made." Mr. Vidmar's robots made the rapper, known as Philly Chase, a trending topic so often around Philadelphia that he attracted attention from local newspapers. Prominence on Twitter led to gigs, fans and ways to promote his videos, Mr. Benson says.

Mr. Vidmar uses software to follow tens of thousands of accounts for his clients, another tactic Twitter prohibits. Being followed prompts many Twitter users to return the favor, and follow his clients.

In September, Mr. Vidmar used software to follow more than 100,000 Twitter users in a week for the Australian rock band The Contagious; that boosted the band's following by 20,000.

The band has a "verified" account, meaning it has taken extra steps to prove to Twitter that the account is real.


http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304607104579212122084821400

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a story about Karachi's vibrant indie music scene:

The disconnect is emblematic of a new cultural era for the world’s seventh largest city, characterized by variety. Outsiders are noticing, from Rolling Stone to Pakistan's neighbors in India. A writer for the Delhi-based magazine Caravan recently dove into the city’s secret clubs and concluded that a “shift” aided by the internet is producing an unprecedented range of sounds, "reflecting [Karachi's] frenzied character.”

Even the band names seem designed to stir things up, with an almost overwrought indie sensibility: Mole, //orangenoise, Dynoman, Basheer & the Pied Pipers, Alien Panda Jury, and DALT WISNEY are a few of the current hottest indie acts. Because Pakistani hits historically come from the classical world or the movies -- meaning Bollywood, or the Lahore analog, Lollywood -- these independent artists are forming collectives that act as labels, helping bands put out albums and promoting each other.

As in any good music scene, there are turf wars. In an interview last fall with Vice Magazine's electronic music spinoff THUMP, the rising Islamabad-based producer Talal Qureshi distanced himself from “that word ‘trippy.’” According to Qureshi, his peers in Karachi are limiting themselves by sticking to “music which is good to dance and be on drugs to.”

The comments rippled through the Pakistani music scene. In a counter interview with THUMP, FXS hit back at Qureshi, using their respective cities as ammunition. “Karachi,” said one member, “is a living city.” Meanwhile, “after 8pm Islamabad shuts down. All the house lights are switched off. It’s a town full of retired army uncles.”

There is one meeting point for every young Pakistani hopeful: the internet. Scour YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo, Bandcamp, and SoundCloud, and you’ll soon be an expert in subcontinental indie.

But domestically, traditional venues still count. The Caravan article names a trigger for the "shift," when the band Mole performed on the popular Pakistani concert series, Coke Studio, in 2011. Sponsored by Coca Cola, the televised series tends to launch the careers of mainstream acts, as it did for the Pakistani pop star Atif Aslam.

The Mole appearance jumpstarted what the cautious are calling an “overly experimental approach” at Coke Studio HQ. (Notably, one of Mole’s members is the son of a Coke Studio founder.)

Hearing "drone beeps" of electronica mixed in with otherwise standard fare, a journalist at The Friday Times, an independent weekly in Pakistan, praised the new era at Coke Studio, marked by "the humility of the old learning from the new."

It’s not all revolution. Drinking alcohol is still illegal in Pakistan, a rule that ghettoizes the music scene into underground house parties.

But limitations bring their own opportunities. In the THUMP interview, DALT WISNEY compared Karachi to "a prison." As a kid, he wasn't allowed to roam due to threats of violence and kidnappings. It was on his daily circuit, from home to school to a pirated music store and then back home, that he found a CD of music-making software. "That's how I started making music," he told THUMP. "So I think I mean prison in a positive sense, maybe like being stuck in a library. You make the most of it."


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/25/pakistan-indie-music-karachi_n_5020947.html

http://www.caravanmagazine.in/

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an excerpt of a NY Times Op Ed by Bina Shah on new media censorship in Pakistan:

But having experienced decades of political oppression and dictatorship, Pakistanis are used to finding alternative ways to get access to and spread information. So when YouTube was shuttered, they started using proxies to gain access to it, while also uploading to other video-sharing sites.

Of course, the government began blocking the most popular proxies, but couldn’t always keep up. Even today, YouTube occasionally becomes accessible on some Internet providers for a few hours.

In any event, young Pakistanis, having been raised on satellite television, the Internet and smartphones, already have an insatiable thirst for information and the public space in which to think freely. So their appetite has been whetted, and many of them now are challenging the establishment’s societal mores.

“We are building a movement of defiance among the youth and larger Internet users by providing them tools to circumvent the government’s policy of censorship,” says Shahzad Ahmad, the country director of Bytes4All, an organization of young Pakistanis who use digital technology to promote human rights and sustainable development.

Since 2012, Bytes4All has been petitioning the Lahore High Court for a writ against the ban on YouTube, and lately the issue has become dramatically politicized; Mr. Ahmad has accused government lawyers of threatening that if YouTube is opened, there will be “bloodshed on the streets of Pakistan.”

Anusha Rehman Khan, state minister for information technology and telecom, was ordered to appear at a hearing in March, but failed to show up; it was the third time she had done so. Instead, lawyers from banned religious outfits appeared in court, an indication of how far the government would go to sway the judges and intimidate Bytes4All.
---------
Alongside the legal battle, an irreverent social media campaign called #KholoBC has also emerged. Engineered by the Pakistan for All movement, a collective of young Pakistani tech enthusiasts, it features a song released by the Pakistani musician Talal Qureshi, the rapper Adil Omar and the comedian Ali Gul Pir with lyrics too rude to print in this newspaper. (So is a translation of the campaign’s name.) Ziad Zafar, the head of Pakistan for All, says the vigilante-style campaign has been successful on social media, and has struck a nerve in the government: A senior figure in the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, the party of Nawaz Sharif, the prime minister, complained to Ali Gul Pir about being “mocked” in the video.

Officials repeatedly assure the public that YouTube will be unblocked soon, even as the government tries to build a huge firewall modeled on the one in China. It’s a cat-and-mouse game that speaks volumes about the impossibility of damming up an ocean, but also about the amount of energy the government is willing to expend trying.

Technology-savvy Pakistanis are determined to thwart the government’s dreams of a toothless Internet, even though, as Mr. Ahmad says, “In Pakistan, there will always be a reason to block the Internet.” Needless to say, any videos that are part of the movement have to be posted on Vimeo, Dailymotion and other sites, because they still can’t legally be seen on YouTube.


http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/11/opinion/shah-trying-to-dam-a-digital-sea.html?smid=tw-share&_r=0

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistani Indie Rock Band to Perform at Lincoln Center

Poor Rich Boy Brings its Pakistani Indie Rock to the Lincoln Center Atrium on June 19th

By Rich Monetti

Singer, songwriter keyboard player Shehzad Noor of the Pakistani Indie Rock Band Poor Rich Boy grew up a middle class life - son and grandson of English Literature professors. His introduction to music began with classical music from the subcontinent before American masters like Tom Waits and Bob Dylan took hold. The Indie Rock sound that generally tags the six member band would follow, but there was definitely a gap between the start of his contemporary evolution and taking up music as a professional pursuit.

Shehzad Noor(SN): When I was 15 I knew I wanted to pursue music, but it wasn’t until maybe a year ago that I actually had the balls to pursue it fulltime.

Times Square(TS): How old are you?

SN: 28

TS: What else do you do?

SN: I teach music and drama to kids in school.

TS: I guess by the area code, you are in D.C. now?

SN: Yes, our first show is at the Kennedy Center. Then we play in Rhode Island, New York and at a couple of universities.

TS: Is this your first time here?

SN: Yes.

TS: Well, how does it look?

SN: DC looks beautiful. The people are really warm. We went to a bar the other night where they had live music – very, very welcoming.

TS: How would you describe the style of music of Poor Rich Boy?

SN: The thing is we’re a six-member band with six different tastes in music, and so it happens when we all come together, it sounds a lot like Indie Rock. But we all still play different kinds of music. We pride ourselves on that.

TS: Where does your band stand in popularity in Pakistan?

SN: Our band happens to be popular among middle class and upper middle class people. That makes us a small part of the country, but that makes up a large percentage of the arts. So to answer your question, compared to what - I think we’re well known in the new wave of art and music.

TS: Your songs are in English, I assume most of your fans are also English speaking?

SN: Yes, they speak and understand English.

TS: Obviously Pakistan has a segments of very religious or overly religious people. How can that be a problem for you?

SN: I haven’t had a very bad experience, but I don’t go around telling people that I’m a musician because we are generally looked down upon. It’s kind of unavoidable. As soon as the security threat goes up, fewer people come out, and we don’t get as many gigs. It affects us no matter how you look at it. We live pretty cushy lives compared to many Pakistani’s. I keep bringing that up because it’s really important – how many different experiences there are in Pakistan. I guess I feel a little self-conscious.

TS: We’ve all heard about the horrible stoning that took place last week. Unfairly, that kind of thing can paint a broad picture of a people. How can you present a more diverse picture for the world?

SN: My wife was at a protest yesterday at the high court. They really didn’t do shit. I can’t even think about it because it’s that upsetting. But to answer how do we show that Pakistan has many more aspects – just by simply being who we are. That’s the best we can do. In terms of Poor Rich Boy, what we’re trying to do is return a more accessible narrative to the American Public.

TS: How about when you hear about some of our crazy stuff – mass shootings for instance?

SN: I understand that bad things happen everywhere, and it’s really important to have a balanced perspective. That’s what I was taught. It’s one event isolated in time. This does not paint a cohesive and detailed picture of what a country is. Unfortunately, what we end up doing is oversimplifying these questions. What are Americans like? What are Pakistanis like? What is Islam like? These are broad questions, and that’s why I love the arts because it allows you to represent variations

- See more at: http://www.timessquare.com/component/k2/item/4270-poor-rich-boy