It seems as though every time the television is clicked on, the radio dial turned or the magazine cover opened, Miley Cyrus is sticking out her tongue in the name of music. What is this young, rebellious singer if not the voice of a generation, twerking her way to world stardom? To many, it seems, she is the epitome of a controversial singer, and as such we should all focus on what shenanigans she’ll twerk her way into next.
But what the masses fail to realize is the war being waged on music across the world. The media is pulling a bag over your head, diverting your attention toward Miley, Drake and T. Swift while musicians in North Korea are having their heads shot off.
Music is life. It has proven vital time and again for promoting world change for the better. If we value it at all, it is paramount we, the young adult generation, pay attention to what is happening to it around the world … NOT just what pops up on our Twitter feeds.
In Russia, President Vladimir Putin is threatening music with an “if you’re not with us, you’re against us” mindset. When five members of the all-girl punk band Pussy Riot staged a surprise performance in Moscow, in which they sang protest songs against Putin, three of them were arrested. Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Yekaterina Samutsevich and Maria Alyokhina were denied bail and held in jail for four months until their court dates. In August 2012, the women were convicted of “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred.” Two of them, Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina, were sent to prison, where they remain in filthy conditions.
In North Korea, 12 members of popular singing group the Unhasu Orchestra were murdered by firing squad in August. Their family members, as well as members of other popular pop groups, were forced to watch. The onlookers were then sent to prison camps, according to South Korea’s Ilbo newspaper, because they were “guilty by association.”
The reason for their killings? The musicians were accused of making and selling sexual videos of themselves. Some of the musicians were also found with bibles, and as such were treated as political dissidents. Perhaps a reason ringing with more truth is that one of the musicians, Hyon Song-wol, was the rumored ex-girlfriend of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
Now imagine for a moment what life would be like without music. Even better, imagine all the music in the world sucked of any meaning whatsoever. It angers no one. It impassions no one. It is only sound – a sound that provokes no worry from the governments that be.
Sad, isn’t it?
If you are a music lover (and we imagine you are), it is crucial to understand what is happening in the musical arena around the world. We must let the world know that incidents such as the aforementioned ones will not be accepted lying down. These atrocities must be reported on, talked about and made common knowledge.
Musicians are being put behind bars for singing against their country’s president. Singers are being slaughtered based on hearsay.
And all we can manage to do is gossip about Miley Cyrus’s hair.