August 13, 2007

We Are Not Terrorists! Pakistani Hit Song

Hatched by Sachi

In the UK, two brothers -- 20 year old Khurrum Mahmood and 18 year old Khaiyyam -- persuaded their media-consultant father Wasseem to start a music video project. The idea was to gather a bunch of Pakistani pop stars (yes, there are some) to sing a "message" song... sort of a Pakistani version of "We are the world."

But the message of this song is very different: Rather than pining for world peace or food for all, this song specifically targets Islamic terrorism.

It's called "Yeh Hum Naheen," Urdu for "We are not that." Wasseem was able to gather "eight out of the ten most popular Pakistani pop-artists" to sing verses. Here is the English translation of the lyrics: (You can watch the video here.)

We Are Not That
The story that is spread in our name is a lie
These stamps of death on our foreheads
are the signs of strangers
The name by which you know us
We are not that
The eye with which you look at us
We are not that
That is not us, not us
With the nightfall, one has lost one's way
We are scared of the dark
So much that we are burning our own home
The Stories that are being spread in our name are lies
That is not us, not us
Tha name by which you know us
We are not that
The eye with which you look at us
That is not us, not us

This is not just another "celebrity sanctimony" project, which costs the rich and famous nothing and pays big dividends in public image and commercial exposure. Taliban and al-Qaeda terrorism is very real in Pakistan. There are many Pakistanis who are sympathetic to radical Moslem movements, particularly in the southwest province of Balochistan (bordered by Iran and Afghanistan) and just north in Waziristan, part of the tribal territories.

Unlike the faux courage of Western celebs, as they rail against against "oppression" and "the regime" in Washington D.C., singing this song can quite literally "kill one's career."

The encouraging thing is that the song is a hit. The video claims that there have been 60,000 to 70,000 downloads already. It may not seem like much to us, when hundreds of thousands download YouTubes of Pearl Jam or Barry Bonds hitting his 756th; but in a poor, tribalist country like Pakistan, almost the definition of the "Non-Integrating Gap," such widespread downloading is monumental.

I don't know if this song will lead to anything, but it's a start. If Islam is ever to change and become a modern religion, reform must arise from within.

Pakistanis must have seen what happened to the Sunni in Afghanistan and Iraq, when they fell under the "benevolent" caliphate of al-Qaeda and the Taliban. They must realize how militant Islamists treat ordinary people... even those who fit the narrow straight-jacket of acceptable religous belief; the Taliban even ban music and dancing, for Allah's sake.

I hope the song's message reaches far and wide in that turbulent country, waking up the tribal Moslems and making them think a second time about supporting death-cultists who sacrifice children in the name of God.

Hatched by Sachi on this day, August 13, 2007, at the time of 4:31 AM

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The following hissed in response by: Terrye

I saw something about this on the news. It is very well done. I am glad to see this. It is way better than rioting over cartoons.

The above hissed in response by: Terrye [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 13, 2007 12:59 PM

The following hissed in response by: Chris Hunt

This is good news, no doubt, but to me it only points out the fault lines in the Islamic civil war currently being exported to the world. On the one hand, it's nice to find some actual moderate Muslims, and they are definitely taking real risks here being associated with a statement that defies the extremist position that only they represent the real Islam. On the other hand, being entertainers, they were bound to be moderate, and the 70,000 downloads may, in fact, represent a great percentage of their support in Pakistan, because the moderates will probably be more successful, being more wordly and all, and therefore have access to computers. And a lot of those downloads may be by people who only want evidence of their transgressions against Islam. It would be very beneficial if we could get a more reliable marker of this song's popularity than downloads.

The above hissed in response by: Chris Hunt [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 14, 2007 3:45 AM

The following hissed in response by: Katherine Reschke

Thank you for sharing the lyrics in English to this beautiful song. I will be sharing the song on my blog on Wednesday and would appreciate your permission to also share the lyrics.

Thank you!

The above hissed in response by: Katherine Reschke [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 15, 2008 9:09 AM

The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh

Katherine Reschke:

We have no authority either to permit or forbid sharing these lyrics; they were released publicly, and so far as I know, the authors want wide distribution of them.


The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 15, 2008 11:27 AM

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