According to our colleagues at Freemuse, in the 3.5 years the organisation has been monitoring authority abuse on rappers around the world, they have found at least 60 international rappers to have been detained, harassed, jailed and now facing legal consequences.
Iranian rapper Toomaj Salehi is one of these people. Freemuse accounts that he was detained and later released on bail, but now facing charges for “spreading propaganda against the [Iranian] state. In his song Normal Life he addresses worker’s strikes, corruption and imprisonments in his country.
Nokrolik is a 22 year old rapper from Belarus and another victim of authoritarian oppression against artists. Recently he was sentenced to spend a year in jail for questioning the president’s intelligence in one of his new songs. This appearantly scared the little president man very much. Enough so that when Nokrolik will have finished his sentence he will be deported out of Belarus.
Please share the music of these artists and help spread their word. Find out more about Freemuse’s campaign to raise awareness about oppressed rappers via their tRAPped campaign.
In 2018, Michael Kovrig, then working as a senior advisor for International Crisis Group, was arrested by Chinese authorities on the basis of endangering Chinese security. According to the group Michael was doing the opposite while working in China.
“We do not understand repeated allegations that he has “endangered Chinese security”. Michael’s work included meeting several dozen times with Chinese officials, academics, and analysts from multiple Chinese state institutions. He had attended numerous conferences at the invitation of Chinese organisations. He frequently appeared on Chinese television and in other media to comment on regional issues. Nothing Michael did harmed China. On the contrary, Crisis Group’s work aims to defuse any tensions between China and nearby states, and to give a fresh, independent appraisal of China’s growing role in the world.”
Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau has called Michael’s detention unacceptable and he has now been held without charge for almost 2 years.
Previously, Michael, a Canadian citizen, was the singer for the Hungarian band Bankrupt. Now his fellow bandmates have released a music video for their song The Plane To Toronto which they released as a single in July this year to raise awareness about Michael’s case.
You can participate in getting the word out and put pressure on the Chinese government to free Michael from his arbitrary detention. The band has made a Free Michael Kovrig poster that you can print, and take a selfie holding, and upload it to Instagram / Facebook / Twitter with the hashtag #freemichaelkovrig. You can also make your own poster.
For the music video below, the band received 60 videos from supporters from all around the world and now it’s up to the rest of us to share this piece of work.
Some people say there is no protest music anymore.
The truth is a bit different though. All around the world, there are so many people hurting, anywhere you look, and this seemingly never changes. But, there are also so many artists using their creative minds to start positive conversations about how things can change for the better. This can easily be seen by checking out the curated Shouts playlist and other protest music playlists.
How can there be a lack of protest music in a world like this? If one digs under the most upper layer of mainstream surfaces one can easily find a plethora of music by artists who are sick and tired of the lack of empathy in this world and who use their talents to be a part of a more compassionate world.
Uriya Rosenman is a rapper. He was born on the spot of this planet that now is called Israel.
Sameh Zakout is a rapper. He was born on the spot of this planet that now is called Palestine.
The two spent some time together. They talked. The argued. They became friends. Because in the end, we are all the same. We all poo. We all pee. We all breathe oxygen. And we all just want to live a kind life without nonsense and violence.
This is just one song of so many that are trying to make the world a better place.