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Taleban cracks down on music...

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  • ian stonehouse
    Taleban cracks down on music as well (Source: Reuters - Wednesday May 2, 2001) LONDON - Afghanistan s ruling Taleban movement, which has already banned
    Message 1 of 1 , May 30, 2001
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      "Taleban cracks down on music as well"

      (Source: Reuters - Wednesday May 2, 2001)


      LONDON - Afghanistan's ruling Taleban movement, which has already banned
      dancing, singing and television as being anti-Islamic, is also cracking down
      on music.

      Musicians are being detained and their instruments destroyed.

      British musicologist John Bailey gave details on Monday of a report on music
      censorship in Afghanistan and said the assault on music was a tragedy that
      the world should condemn.

      The musicologist, who has spent almost 30 years studying Afghan music, said
      the only musical activity now permitted in the impoverished Asian land was
      singing religious songs and Taleban "chants".

      He said: "To most people, music means the use of musical instruments and the
      Taleban has banned musical instruments."

      Those caught in possession of musical instrument are imprisoned, fined or
      even beaten and their instruments are destroyed.

      "They often have bon-fires of confiscated instruments.

      The lives of professional musicians have been completely disrupted, and most
      have had to go into exile for their economic survival.

      The continuation of these rich musical traditions is also under threat."

      The crackdown on music is in addition to the fundamentalist Islamic
      movement's destruction last month of centuries-old Buddhist statues, which
      provoked world outrage.

      In a report for Freemuse, the world forum on music and censorship, Mr Bailey
      warned that the country's rich musical traditions were being threatened by
      the increasingly harsh rule of the Taleban, which also exerts its authority
      among refugees in neighbouring countries like Pakistan.

      "Most professional musicians have fled, so they keep the traditions alive in
      neighbouring countries for now.

      But we note a crackdown by Taleban inside countries like Pakistan," he said.

      Mr Bailey, a professor at London University's Goldsmiths College, says the
      censorship of music actually began in 1978, when the communist government of
      Nur Ahmad Taraki came to power in a violent coup.

      During 14 years of communist rule, music was heavily controlled by the
      Information and Culture Ministry, while in refugee camps in Pakistan and
      Iran all music was prohibited in order to maintain a continual state of
      mourning.

      "The roots of the Taleban ban on music lie in the way these caps were run,"
      Mr Bailey said.

      The Taleban, which seized Kabul in 1996 and now rules more than 90 percent
      of Afghanistan, has policies considered harsh by most countries.

      These include banning women from education and most work and forcing them to
      wear the 'burqa' robe whenever they go outside their homes.

      "Being a great believer in the power of music, I believe that it is very
      unfortunate that the people of Afghanistan cannot enjoy the simple pleasures
      to make their days a little more enjoyable," Mr Bailey said.




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