Thursday, June 19, 2008

Music and the Darfur conflict: stopping the government's use of music for propaganda

In one of the greatest perversions of the use of music in history (apart from Nazi Germany) the government of the Sudan has been imploring musicians, the Hakama singers, to sing ritual pieces to “inspire” the government troops, the Janjaweed, to attack ethnic civilians in Darfur.

Songwriter Abazar Hamid is trying to change that. Today, June 19, a story “Songs of Hope for Sudan, When Censors Allow,” p A12, by Washington Post foreign correspondent Stephanie McCrummen, link here describes the gauntlet Hamid runs with his “Rainbow Project” which inserts lyrics about human rights into songs originally intended to produce violence. The story includes a short video “Singing for Peace” of the music.

The Darfur conflict takes place in western Sudan but there is concern that it would spread to other areas in conjunction with radical Islam.

I have reviewed the films “The Devin Came on Horseback,” “Darfur Now” and “on Our Watch” on Sept. 12, 2007 on the movies blog (please see the Blogger Profile).

Picture: personal trip, SW Pennsylvania, 1995.

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