Hollywood Jahilliya

Democracy, whiskey, sexy.

Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

I'm an old-school liberal, like FDR or, heck, even Trotsky if I'm feeling generous. That is, I recognize a fascist enemy when I see one, and I treat it like an enemy. It's my mission (self-appointed, of course) to convince other Hollywood liberals to do the same.

04 March 2006

This lady's got balls!

It's hard to find real courage in pop culture. You'll see lots of political rock groups railing against the Iraq war and Bush in general, striking a brave pose while doing it, but a pose is all it is. And I suspect that most Systems Of A Down and Green Days and Bad Religions out there know this full well. There are no neo-conservative death squads. Opposing Bush puts you in absolutely no danger. Cheney will not seek to have you killed for speaking out about Halliburton. For all its ominous image, American "imperialism" is an easy target... which is exactly why so many "conscious" celebrities attack it by rote.

And that makes Deeyah, a pop singer from Europe, all the more remarkable. Of mixed Iranian-Pakistani descent, she's been dubbed in European media as the "Muslim Madonna" and/or the "Asian J-Lo." Her stuff isn't the kind I normally listen to, but when I caught a glimpse of her latest video (posted below), I gave her a standing ovation. Here she is, just starting out on her career, and taking a stand that has gotten other people killed... in Europe, of all places, where the days of death squads are supposed to be over. Of course, she's received death threats, and been censored (again, in Europe, supposedly more committed to liberalism than us American imperialists). And that was all before she decided to stand up for women's lib. And she did this song after the murder of Theo Van Gogh and the burning of embassies over forged blasphemous cartoons.

Nor is it a shallow or superficial statement. The song's lyrics have substance, and most of the gagged people seen in the video are real Muslim dissidents, liberals and feminists who've been subjected to oppression in their home countries (meaning beatings, jail sentences, forced exile, execution, murder of family members and so on... all for daring to speak their minds or defend women's equality; real oppression, in other words). Deeyah here has chosen to launch an international singing career by taking a bold and genuinely dangerous stand against real fascism.

This lady has more moral courage in her belly button than every sneering punk band and glossy Hollywood star on the planet. None of them are putting their lives on the line for either their beliefs or their art. Deeyah is doing both at the same time. She deserves your support, even if you don't like her music.


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