I post this as part of a continuing thread on Vlad about Islam and the arts. Its crucial that the left in the west begin to understand with whom they are allied. The artistic community in Iran did not understand this when they assisted the revolution, deposed the Shaw who was a patron of the arts, and installed a draconian Islamic government who immediately began to slaughter the artists and make most arts illegal as Mohamed himself made the performance of music among the top 20 forbidden things in Islam. As the Taliban reasserts itself in areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan we see more and more horrors perpetrated against artists and connected fields. If you know people who consider themselves leftists and art friendly please do send this and similar articles on Vlad or anywhere to them. In marches for Hizbolah and Hamas I see signs by gay groups with them side by side and various leftist groups most notably unions. Some of these groups have insidious reasons for this alliance but most are classical ‘Useful Idiots’ as Stalin referred to them, duped by totalitarianist’s and to be rapidly disposed of after they achieve power.
Taliban threats chill NWFP entertainers
* Many artists are so nervous they won’t mention the word ‘Taliban’ in conversations
PESHAWAR: Singer Sardar Yousafzai and his band were driving from a wedding gig when the gunmen burst onto the road, firing without warning.
Yousafzai survived, but a harmonium player died and four others were wounded. “I am so scared,” said Yousafzai. “I can’t go home or to any performance.” Several entertainers have been kidnapped or killed, while many others have fled, quit or watched their work opportunities dwindle. Criminal gangs seeking to extort money are also suspected of involvement as overall security deteriorates.
The campaign has further weakened a once-thriving cultural scene, despite hopes for a comeback after a secular party defeated mullahs in elections last year. “What can I do?” asked Zardad Khan, a popular 4-feet-2-inch comedian who has received several telephone threats. “I’m trying to bring smiles to the society and the people, but my life is getting more miserable with each passing day.” Khan said he used to have roles in five or six movies a month. But in the last four months, he’s had only one – and he had to travel to Lahore for production because it’s too unsafe to film in Peshawar. In the Swat valley, a one-time tourist haven, a female dancer was shot dead in early January after insurgents lured her out by pretending to be customers. They displayed her body in a public square, said a security official who sought anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation there. There are also signs the cultural assault is spreading. In the eastern city of Lahore, a handful of small bombs have detonated near theatres and a cultural complex in recent months, spurring fears of a “Talibanisation” of a cultural centre.
Menace: “This menace has now crept so widely into the society that I do not think the government will be able to control all this,” said NWFP Culture Minister Syed Aqil Shah. In 2002, a pro-Taliban coalition came into power in the North West Frontier Province on a wave of voter anger over the US invasion of neighbouring Afghanistan. The coalition banned music on public buses, clamped down on entertainment festivals and removed movie billboards with pictures of scantily clad women. “The entertainer, whether singer or comedian or another sort, they’re in trouble, and they don’t get any support from the state,” said Shah Jehan, a professor at the University of Peshawar, who has studied the relationship between culture and religion. Under the previous government, singer Gulzar Alam said he was harassed by authorities and beaten by police for performing at a wedding. He and his family moved to Quetta, but returned to Peshawar in 2008 at the request of the new secular leadership.
Late last year, he started to get threatening phone calls. “They would tell me about my children’s school schedules. They would tell me that they have an agenda of killing all those doing anti-Islamic activities,” Alam said. In January, he shifted his family to Karachi.
The most widely publicised case is that of Haroon Bacha, one of the northwest’s best-known singers, who is now seeking asylum in the US after receiving threats. Another entertainer and comedian Alamzeb Mujahid was reportedly kidnapped by Taliban for a few days in January. Soon after being freed, Mujahid held a brief press conference to announce he was abandoning show business to preach Islam. He would not answer questions about his captors or even confirm what happened.
In mid-January, bus drivers in Mardan began removing audio and video equipment from their vehicles after Taliban threatened suicide attacks. The warnings came in letters stating that such entertainment was a “source of mental agony for pious people”. Many artists are so nervous they won’t mention the word “Taliban” in conversations. Yousafzai, the singer who survived the December gun attack, did not directly condemn the Taliban, and stressed he did not know exactly who the shooters were. Still, he reminisced about the days when people in the northwest felt free to play music loudly in their cars, and when wedding work was far more plentiful. ap