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.
In the wake of the Taliban’s takeover in Afghanistan it is uncertain what new atrocities the US government (and its funders) will now throw onto the Afghan people. There are very few people who have benefitted from the last 20 years. Mostly the people who make weapons. And their politician friends. From the USA. Without war, they don’t make that money. Simple as that.
Many years after calling it quits as a band, Rage Against The Machine still use their voice and now they have posted a few words about the situation for the voiceless in war-ridden Afghanistan.
Their message is clear and concise and they also put blame on the US media for their direction these past decades: “Mainstream media is repeating the same tropes that were used to justify an illegal invasion 20 years ago. Little to no air time is being spent discussing the 4 decades of US imperial intervention that have reduced this nation to rubble. The victims of U.S. empire have been sounding the alarm for a long time. Whenever we hear the drums of war beating, we must shut them down.”
While the band was active they obviously used all their means to help spread ideas of peace and unity, as art is capable of:
“music has the power to cross borders, to break military sieges and to establish real dialogue.”
Zack de la Rocha in a 2007 interview with Juice Magazine