By: Adam B. Ellick
While Pakistani journalists, playwrights and even moderate Islamic clerics have boldly condemned the Taliban, the nation’s pop music stars have yet to sing out against the group, which continues to claim responsibility for daily bombings.
The violence has no shortage of victims in addition to the dead: more than three million people have become refugees, and more than 200 schools for girls have been destroyed. And the musicians I spoke to have suffered as well, which makes it all the more surprising that they are reluctant to criticize the militants.Pakistani pop musicians once had two main ways to make money: live concerts and corporate sponsorships. But because of deteriorating security in the last two years, the concert scene — and the revenue that comes with it — has all but vanished.
Musicians are now relegated to televised performances. But in a nation where the West is often the villain, television stations and big businesses have little economic or political incentive to put their name on a musician with an anti-Taliban platform.
Check out the video Tuning Out the Taliban
The result is a surge of bubble-gum stars who have become increasingly politicized. Some are churning out ambiguous, cheery lyrics urging their young fans to act against the nation’s woes. Others simply vilify the United States.
This video shows how many young Pakistanis have a different perspective on the problems in their homeland.
In a post on The Lede blog in September Robert Mackey took a look at Pakistan’s rock scene and the growing trend of musicians addressing political issues in their music.