Saturday, July 19, 2003

Kilroy Was Here?

Does anyone remember the Styx Album “Kilroy” a while back? It was their attempt at a concept album. As an artistic creation, it failed miserably, mainly because it lacked any real depth. It did bring a couple of hits, including “Mr Roboto”.

Part of its problem was it’s lame story line. Rock music has been outlawed, and the album tells the struggle of a musician named Kilroy to rally the youth of the nation to rebel and listen to rock again.

Part of the problem with the story line is the totally unbelievable premise that popular music would be outlawed. I mean, get real…

Well, last night I saw something that was quite chilling.

I was watching a documentary on PBS about Pakistan. It turns out that, particularly in the northern provinces, some of the more fundamental mullahs are starting to run the cities, and they’ve been banning not only popular music, but music entirely! CD store shelves are empty. Market places that used to flourish with musicians are devoid.

The mullahs are succeeding in repressing the music even though they have no civic authority to do so. The president of Pakistan has spoken publicly against the bans.

But in the meantime, musicians are being shunned, and occasionally arrested and beaten. “Singing has no place in Islam” one mullah said in an interview.

One of them, the focus of the documentary isn’t sitting down, though. He’s the lead guitarist for a band called “Junoon”. The documentary followed him around as he met with people on the streets, teachers in muslim schools that supported the ban, and even with some of the mullahs themselves.

What it all comes down to is the same sort of inter-sect bickering that has been going on at various levels in the Christian world for centuries. Moslems of all variations are at odds across the muslim world. Some are militant, some are peaceful. Some value strict adherence to law, while others prize personal communion with God.

Each one is calling the other infidel and trying to use the political systems to enforce their own style of Islam onto others.

Like I said, this is all nothing new. Christians have been doing this sort of thing for years, too.

I never thought I would see it happen, though, that music itself would be silenced. In the New Testament, Jesus said that if the people went quiet, the stones would cry out…

Mark Hansen

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