“Two days after a bombing in Lahore killed over 70 Pakistanis at an Easter gathering this year , 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.
The people behind this song appear to be in hiding despite the courage it took for the girl it is about, to literally put herself in the line of fire for women’s freedom and education rights. They are apparently musicians from the USA, Canada, Nigeria and elsewhere, but as of writing not identifiable despite the power of Google.
Hopefully this video is a legitimate tribute and not done simply because “Malala” as a phrase rolls off the tongue for singing quite nicely. Regardless, the story of this girl needs to be reviewed by this blog.
Malala Yousafzai is the Pakistani teenage girl now being fêted with numerous peace awards, and who is a Nobel Peace prize nominee for 2013. In 2012, she was shot in the head by Taliban gunmen, returning home from school for which as a girl she was not supposed to attend. Thankfully she barely survived, and now is even more passionate about bringing attention and change to her worthy cause.
If there are other prestigious or more well-known/high profile songs for Malala, please share them with a comment below.
Rap is global, as Afghani girl Sosan Firooz attempts to demonstrate. She raps about what it is like to be female in her country (not so great), enduring life in a war-torn, failed state rife with terrorism and always pinning hope on interventions from other countries that prove false. Surely American rappers, ever boasting about their bling, may wish to thank their lucky stars.
The YouTube link also has English translated lyrics.
The pretty, 1970s soft rock melody disguises country music criticism of Islam and the Taliban, in support of American troops and President George W. Bush. Does the humour in the 2003 song belittle the importance of the message to its political adherents?
The Taliban is the radical movement of Islam that has guided/oppressed Afghanistan, and other places, with Sharia law. Its allies were of course behind the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on U.S. soil. Sharia law is like the religious and moral code for Islam. It is criticized for not respecting human rights, free speech, women and sexual orientation, though defenders might opine it has been demonized in the creation of a modern enemy for the West. As the redneck country outlaw he portrays, Toby Keith could be sometimes labelled with the same insensitivity?
Ideologically conservative media in Canada are apoplectic over a francophone, Montreal rapper that has a song which appears to celebrate violence against Canadian troops, by the Taliban, in Afghanistan. The video shows Canadian soldiers being killed.
The Prime Minister’s Office obviously came out against the song, but the Canadian government also helped finance it through an arts program, MusicAction. Canada frequently gets in such seemingly unpatriotic hot water, also recently with the punk group Living With Lions.
Hopefully, Manu Militari is not serious. But the strong backlash against the song also goes to show how free speech does not always need be restricted when the court of public opinion can also weigh in.