Zeb And Haniya – Dadra

“Two days after a bombing in Lahore killed over 70 Pakistanis at an Easter gathering this year [2016], the pop duo Zeb and Haniya released ‘Dadra,’ which they dedicated to their beloved city. It’s a sweet lullaby of lament, the Urdu lyrics guided by an electric guitar’s undertow. Zeb and Haniya have found an especially strong following in South India. Zeb says she was surprised and touched by how many Indian fans wrote with sympathy from across the border” (The Economist, “1843 Magazine,” June/July 2016, p. 25).

Zeb and Haniya, cousins, are American college educated Pakistanis. They blend pop music with traditional melodies from Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India.

A Pakistani branch of the Taliban claimed responsibility for the suicide bomb attack. It appears to be a failed political mission: it killed mostly Muslims, and women and children, though the group’s apparent intent was to target Christian men.


Lady Gaga – Poker Face

This 2008 Lady Gaga dance-pop song is about bisexuality.

She won’t  be performing it in Jakarta, Indonesia, after “hard line” (the media’s terms) Muslims objected to her sexy image and revealing dance moves. Lady Gaga was requested by police to perform blandly, but refused. The sold-out show is now cancelled.

This is a victory for Indonesian Muslims. Thanks to God for protecting us from a kind of devil,” said one Salim Alatis, a leader of the Islamic Defenders Front, quoted in the news. The “extremist” group may have threatened disruptions of violence at the concert, if it went ahead as planned.

Indonesia cast aside dictatorship about a decade ago, and continues to make the transition to a liberal democracy, in which rights, such as freedom of expression, are valued. It is a long struggle for countries to adapt to a new way of doing things, to a new political culture.

In this way, is it a shame that it is a disposable pop star who is making a career imitating others, bringing our attention to an issue as important as religious freedom in a far off country?

The fallout could become another example of false blanket impressions of all Muslims as boorish and enemies of the West.

Besides! Indonesia has been held up as a place where Islam and Christianity were peacefully coexisting. Indeed, many Christians everywhere likely reject Lady Gaga’s messages, too. For further common ground, perhaps a rejection of hackneyed pop music could bridge this perceived monotheistic divide in the same way that everyone pretends to dislike Justin Bieber? In this way, passing radio hits we may forget about in the years ahead still engender peace, and not for the diversity and tolerance acceptance messages they recommend. Still, with apologies to Tipper Gore, the wife of politician Al Gore who in the 1980s wanted a crackdown on heavy metal… surely in 2012 we can move beyond being all offended over racy content in popular songs. The haters didn’t have to buy tickets to Lady Gaga’s concert.

Related posts from politicaltunes:

Beyoncé – Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)

Beyoncé won several Grammy awards for this dance pop, R&B tune, released in 2008, about a woman in a nightclub after the end of a relationship. She meets someone new, but her former boyfriend is also there. The singer urges women to dump their partners who don’t propose marriage.

In this respect, the song could be interpreted as having a conservative, family-values, traditional type message, that women and men should take relationships seriously, with formal marriage.

The song is nonetheless widely and basely considered a simple message of (feminist) female empowerment, and given the soap opera premise of the lyrics, this may be all it is about. Yet, the former Destiny’s Child member was raised a Christian, in a family of registered Republican Party members. She has stated her “booty shaking” does not offend God, and only performed for President Barack Obama because lots of people would be there.

Related post from this blog: Queen Latifah, U.N.I.T.Y.