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Afghanistan’s First Female Rapper: “If I Stay Silent, Nothing Will Change”

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Paradise Sorouri is no stranger to controversy. Originally born in Iran, Paradise is Afghanistan’s first female rapper, a remarkable honor that has attracted death threats and brutal physical assaults. According to the Guardian, Paradise was “forced to flee her country twice, received more death threats than she can count and was brutally beaten by 10 men on the street and left to die.”

Intrigued by her story, the Mind Unleashed decided to check in with her so that she can further explain who she is, her experiences and ultimately her music, which has attracted so much persecution, particularly in her home country of Afghanistan.

Paradise is a staunch believer in women’s rights, children’s rights, and spreading love all around the world. She founded her band, 143BandMusic, with her fiancé Diverse, both of whom were born in Iran. The two of them have been singing together since 2008. However, according to Paradise, her and her fiancé were forced to leave Iran to Herat, their mother-town in Western Afghanistan.

“There are two different regimes in both countries for sure,” Paradise told me. “In Iran, it’s ruled based on the Government and for sure freedom of speech and all manner of political activities such as singing, and so many other things are controlled directly by government.” 

However, in Afghanistan it is almost the same but there are some tribal and local rules as well. Mullahs have direct control of the district and neighborhoods as well.

“We also realized that people of Iran, those that they are seeking freedom are mostly in danger of government actions but in Afghanistan there are also people who will control the situation and govern other people and take matters into their own hands, too.” She added.

Paradise recalls that on one particular occasion in Afghanistan back in 2009 in Herat city, she was surrounded by ten men on motorcycles who began beating her with wooden rods. Onlookers urged them to kill her. This is precisely what she is referring to when she acknowledged that in Afghanistan, locals regularly take matters into their own hands based on what they perceive as being correct and moral behavior.

Paradise has no doubts that it is her music and lifestyle which has prompted some people in Afghanistan to act so violently towards her.

“Music is the Language that has no border; it can easily travel around the world. In a small community it will have a direct influence on the audience,” she says.

According to Paradise, music is a vital communication tool for reaching the hearts and minds of people, both young and old.

“Hip Hop is the language of the street and people easily understand what the message behind it is. You can choose a topic and talk about it on a beat and people would listen to that to get the message. It’s easier to communicate that way, especially to our own people. There are a lot of problems such as: not being accepted from some parties and people, a lack of security, lack of freedom to make whatever and however music you want, and especially not being supported from the local media in Afghanistan, but however we do believe that music will change the mentality of people and overcome the negative pulses in the society and love will prevail.”

Paradise is personally honoured to be the one to take on these traditional taboos and begin an Afghan hip hop revolution to empower the people.

“It’s so important to me to be the voice of the voiceless,” says Paradise. 

Beside the threats that we have received, we also receive a lot of positive messages encouraging us to keep on and continue what we are doing. We also receive messages telling us our music inspired their father to allow them to freely decide to study at university or even prevent forced marriages. We do receive messages from ladies who wrote to us how they too can rap and we give them some guidance as well.”

The troubles facing Paradise’s passion for music are endless and go far beyond that of dealing with death threats and assaults.

“It’s not an easy job, especially when you see your only supporter is YouTube and Facebook and even your national TVs are not broadcasting your art. But we never give up and continue and follow our dream. A dream of equal life for everyone, regardless of gender and religion, colour or ethnicity; in a peaceful atmosphere.” She explains.

Despite this, Paradise’s passion is her music and she is committed to endeavouring to spread her message of human rights and peace. She believes education to be the most fundamental basic human right for everyone, particularly for young women to have the same equal rights to education as men.

“Some families will dress their daughter as a boy so she can get educated but not only for education, we have seen and been taking care of some girls back in Afghanistan who were dressing like a boy and working on streets (selling flowers or cleaning cars) so they wouldn’t be sexually harassed even at the ages of 6 to 10! This is horrifying but there are a lot of things happening in Afghanistan that people couldn’t even imagine.” She detailed further.

It is for this reason that Paradise and her fiancé have dedicated entire songs to standing up for girls’ rights to education, encouraging families and the government to stand up for education rights for girls in Afghanistan.

To date, Paradise believes her most important song to be “Tragedy of Life.”

“We do believe that music tastes are different in different parts of the world. However, musicians also have a big effect on people and their normal life. Rebellion musicians would definitely feel upset about what is happening to music. Not only about one specific person but also about most music on the air.” She stated.

“Our wish is that our readers will pay more attention for the sake of humanity.”


Image: Screenshot/Youtube.

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Lil Nas X Song Is #1 In Saudi Arabia, Where Homosexuality Is Illegal Under Sharia Law

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Lil Nas X has been on top of the world for weeks now, whether it’s living rent-free in the heads of homophobes or topping the Billboard charts after his smash hit “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)” dominated playlists.

And ironically, the anthem has become the most-played song in Saudi Arabia, the conservative kingdom where open expressions of same-sex love and even private acts of gay sex are punishable by death.

The song, whose video features the artist giving Satan himself a lap dance have dominated news conversations all over the globe, smashed through to the top of the Billboard Global 200, which ranks top tracks in over 200 territories, on Monday.

According to Apple Music, the song is also leading Saudi Arabia’s top 100 charts as the most-played song in the country.

Apparently overjoyed by the ranking, Lil Nas X tweeted: “WE NUMBER 1 IN SAUDI ARABIA WTF LETS GOOOO”

The autocratic kingdom, which has long been governed by a strict yet uncodified interpretation of Sharia law, has an atrocious record on LGBTQ rights and classifies homosexuality as a variety of extremism. N many circumstances, gay sex is punishable by death.

As the Human Dignity Trust explains, “The punishment varies depending on the circumstances: married men and interfaith sex are punished with the death penalty, while non-married men are punished with flogging. Sharia law principles underpinning the criminal law in Saudi Arabia also impose strict dress codes that impact on the gender expression of transgender people.”

However, this does not mean that Saudi citizens abstain from these “illicit” acts. As one fan wrote on Twitter: Period!!!! Let’s correct the narrative about the Middle East! Shoutout Saudi Arabia.”

However, another user responded: “I lived in Saudi Arabia my whole [life] and if I come out I will literally get stoned and people will be happy about it, saying it’s a ‘narrative’ doesn’t help anyone in the contrary, the middle IS homophobic and change NEEDS to happen.”

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12-Year-Old DJ Gets Busted For Hosting ‘Underground Rave’ In Catholic School Bathroom

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A 12-year-old boy in the U.K. organized a rave in the bathroom of his Catholic school that managed to last for 30 minutes before it was shut down and his equipment was confiscated. However, his parents are backing the young DJ up.

Cael Bell is an enterprising, up-and-coming turntablist who decided earlier this month that it was time to display his talents for his mates at Urmston in the Greater Manchester region.

So Bell took to Snapchat and began advertising an underground rave that would take place in the lavatory of the private school during lunch period on Dec. 11. The event was open to “all year 8 boys” at the school. Attendees would also receive complimentary soft drinks and Cadbury Twirls.

As Consequence of Sound noted, “while a school bathroom is a below-average setting for such a lunch, it is certainly cleaner than your typical rave.”

Bell managed to sneak his speakers and other gear into the restroom and held a set for 30 minutes before the school’s authorities broke up the underground gig. The school even confiscated Bell’s lights and speakers.

When Cael’s mother, Louise Bell, learned about her son’s transgression she wasn’t peeved in the least bit. In fact, the young mum actually thought that her son’s antics were ingenious. She wrote in a Facebook post: “Am I wrong for finding this funny?”

“I had to laugh. It has been a terrible year and I couldn’t be angry with my son for trying to spread some cheer,” she later told The Mirror in an interview.

“When I got the call, it made perfect sense,” Louise continued. “Cael had been up, dressed and ready to leave for school early that morning which was unheard of in our house. He had the biggest smile on his face so I knew he had something up his sleeve.”

“I asked him what he was so happy about and he told me they were having a rave in school,” she added. “I thought nothing of it, I didn’t think for one minute there was any truth to it.”

“But when I heard what Cael had done, from advertising the rave on Snapchat to actually pulling it off and even providing refreshments, I couldn’t help but see the funny side.”

When Cael’s father also learned about his son’s antics, he was thrilled and encouraged his son, telling him: “go on son!”

“In our eyes, he hadn’t done anything wrong,” Louise continued. “We would have been furious if the teachers had reprimanded him further, past confiscating his things.”

Even the school had to admit that they were impressed by the lad, informing her that they had only confiscated his equipment because it “couldn’t facilitate such behavior.”

“When we asked him why he’d done it, he told us school was boring and that they had nothing to do at lunch time,” Louise said. “I wish there had been a Cael when I was in school, it would have been much more fun.”

“Music is Cael’s motivation and we couldn’t be mad at him for expressing and sharing that passion. It was very inventive of him.”

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American Flag Clad Trump Supporters Rock Out To Rage Against The Machine – Band Reacts

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Rage Against The Machine guitarist Tom Morello shared a video on Twitter Friday night, which showed supporters of US President Donald Trump, clad in American flags and “thin blue line” flags, rocking out to the band’s song “Killing in the Name” in Philadelphia.

The video was also shared from the band’s official Twitter account, with the caption “They just don’t GET IT do they?”

In an interview with Rollings Stone earlier this year, Morello said that lyrics of the song make him think of Frederick Douglass, although it is not clear if he was an inspiration for the song, which Zack de la Rocha wrote.

“‘F*** you, I won’t do what you tell me’ is a universal sentiment. While it’s a simple lyric, I think it’s one of [Zack de la Rocha’s] most brilliant. And to me, it relates to Frederick Douglass. Frederick Douglass said, the moment he became free was not the moment that he was physically loosed from his bonds. It was the moment when master said, “Yes.” And he said, “No.” And that’s the essence of “F*** you, I will not do what you tell me,” Morello said.

The lyrics for the song also explicitly discuss the connection that police departments across the country have with white supremacy, in the lines “some of those that work forces are the same that burn crosses,” and “you justify those that died by wearing the badge, they’re the chosen whites.” In fact, these lines account for about 50% of the words in the song, so they are pretty hard to miss.

Morello has previously said that it was encouraging to hear the song chanted at the “Fed goons who are shooting tear gas at American citizens,” but he doesn’t seem very proud of this most recent video.

Political campaigns have a long history of making musicians cringe by playing their music at political events.

In recent weeks, the Trump campaign has been criticized for its use of songs for campaign purposes, including Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Fortunate Son,” which is about how poor people get sent to war, but those who are wealthy or connected with politicians stay out of harm’s way and reap the benefits of the conquests. Many could easily argue that Trump is a representation of the “fortunate son” that is criticized in the song.

He has also used Bruce Springsteen’s song “Born In The USA,” which is frequently misunderstood by politicians and appropriated for political campaigns. Springsteen himself has called the song a “protest song,” partly based on Ron Kovic’s 1976 autobiography Born on the Fourth of July, which tells the story of a Vietnam veteran who becomes anti-war after returning home with a physical disability from the conflict.

Springsteen described how the song was misunderstood in a 2005 interview with NPR’s Terry Gross.

“‘Born In The USA’ is a classic situation of a song misinterpreted by some because of its chorus. My music has been a football where I had people from the far-left to the far-right who misrepresent us. It’s something I live with and I always have the opportunity to go on stage and say my piece about it,” He said.

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