“Do you think that art is not a crime? Do you consider that artists should be able to express themselves freely? Do you want to stand in solidarity against the threats and silencing of artists?”
Music Freedom Day is a concept started by the human rights organisation Freemuse who defend and advocate for the freedom of artistic expression. They do tremendous work and are one of the larger organisations in the world campaigning artists and fighting for their right to use their voices freely.
Anyone can participate in Music Freedom Day. All you have to do is check out Freemuse’s webpage and think of an event that represtents artistic freedom:
“You can organise any type of event: a discussion, a workshop, a movie screening, a debate, an artistic performance, dedicate a song or make a statement during a performance, create a playlist of censored music, make a live performance on social media, spread the word about this event in the media and/or on your private blog, etc. The options to mark the day are manifold and limitless!”
Legendary producer and musician Brian eno is no stranger to activism. Some of his extra curricular activities include being an elected member of the Coordinating Collective along with Noam Chomsky and 10 others, president of the Stop the War Coalition and now he has started his own campaign fighting for the freedom of political prisoner and journalist Julian Assange.
“Journalism survives in an atmosphere of freedom and we’re gradually closing that down now. On December 19th, which is the day of his hearing, we want to swamp the Home Office with emails to protest his innocence. This is important not just for Assange but for the future of journalism, and the future of holding governments to account for what they do.”
For more information about the campaign that was co-founded by Ann Wright (retired United States Army colonel and retired U.S. State Department official, known for her outspoken opposition to the Iraq War) and Medea Benjamin (an American political activist, best known for co-founding Code Pink) click the image below.
In addition to fighting for the freedom of the press, on Monday the 9th of December, few days before Thursday elections in the UK, Eno released a jolly song that sarcastically criticizes the UK government and tells of the hardship poor, homeless and working people have to endure in the country.
Moroccan artists have long had to face serious oppression and attacks on to their freedom of expression. The latest victim of Moroccan government and police system is rapper Gnawi (real name Mohamed Mounir) who recently rapped on a track that criticizes the government and the economic division that young and older people experience on a daily basis.
The track’s lyrics cover a lot of ground and even criticize the king of Morocco which is a criminal offense in the country.
Apparently Gnawi can appeal the court’s decision. We at Shouts call upon the Moroccan government to stop oppressing free speech and artists’ freedom to create and work.
One can only wonder why governments are so afraid of music. After all, they are the ones with the big weapons – how much can a rap song harm them? A protest song is supposed inspire the masses though, and if successful, the people who listen and take the message to heart can join hands and tear down fascist governments.
That must be why governments put singers in prison. To prevent such possible damage to their powers. That is also why we must all keep on singing, and fight for the rights of those currently locked up.
Halldór is the managing editor of Shouts – Music from the Rooftops!, an investigative journalist, audio engineer and an animal rights activist on a nomad journey through Europe – still without a definite destination.
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