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Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Cihangir Vakası

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‘20.06.2016 – Medya Mahallesi – 1. Bölüm. Konuk: Süleyman Çelebi / DİSK Eski Genel Başkanı – Siyasetçi. (20 Haziran 2016)’.

‘20.06.2016 – Medya Mahallesi – 2. Bölüm. Konuk: Süleyman Çelebi / DİSK Eski Genel Başkanı – Siyasetçi. (20 Haziran 2016)’.

Cihangir’de dünyaca ünlü müzik grubu Radiohead için ‘Velvet Underground Records’ isimli mekanda düzenlenen etkinliğe “Ramazan’da alkol tüketiliyor” gerekçesiyle saldırıan gruptan üç kişi gözaltına alındı.

 Cihangir 1

Mass Murder of Women in Turkey Today

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It has been quite a while now that I posted “[v]iolence against Women in Turkey: A 1,400% Increase in Seven Years”,[1] and sadly the situation has all but deteriorated over the past years. Now that Turkey is steadfastly moving down the post-Kemalist path towards the establishment of a veritable AKP Sultanate of Kitsch, the issue of women’s rights and gender equality has taken on a particularly troubling outlook. Recently, the Doğan News Agency reported that “[s]ome 413 murders of women were reported by the Turkish media in 2015, the Umut (Hope) Foundation has stated in a new report, underlining that the trend has been increasing since the beginning of 2016. The foundation called on Feb. 16 for NGOs to conduct comprehensive studies on the issue, which it described as a ‘mass murder of women’. It said the death toll ranged from women older than 85 to a six-week-old fetus. Of the 413 killings, 309 were a result of armed attacks, and 40 women have been killed since the beginning of January 2016 alone. Most young women were killed because they requested a divorce or separation from their partners, the foundation noted, adding that many cases involved victims of ‘shady suicides’, mostly in southeastern provinces. In addition, data shows that 55 husbands committed suicide after killing their wives from the beginning of January 2015”.[2]

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The Umut Vakfı press statement concluded that in Turkey today “[o]ne in three women is subjected to violence”.[3] In the Turkish press it is not uncommon to come across a sentence like this one: a “local man in the southeastern province of Gaziantep disappeared after killing his wife, who had demanded a divorce, and eight other family members, using a pump-action rifle”.[4]

Sultana – Biz Neysek

The above YouTube clip was released on 17 February 2016: “Biz Neysek bir sosyal sorumluluk projesidir. My social responsibility song to raise awareness for female existence”. Sultana [born Songül Aktürk] is a rapper and pop singer, born and raised in Turkey who “holds her mirror to social and women’s issues as a young artist living both in Turkey and the United States”.[5]

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[1] “Violence against Women in Turkey: A 1,400% Increase in Seven Years” The Erimtan Angle (21 Sep 2011). https://sitanbul.wordpress.com/2011/09/21/violence-against-women-in-turkey-a-1400-increase-in-seven-years/.

[2] “413 women killed across Turkey since start of 2015 according to media: Association” Hürriyet Daily News (17 Feb 2016). http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/413-women-killed-across-turkey-since-start-of-2015-according-to-media-association.aspx?pageID=238&nID=95308&NewsCatID=339.

[3] “413 women killed across Turkey since start of 2015 according to media: Association”.

[4] “413 women killed across Turkey since start of 2015 according to media: Association”.

[5] “Sultana (2)” Discogs. https://www.discogs.com/artist/600409-Sultana-2.

Henry Rollins on HardTalk (18/1/16)

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‘We tend to pigeonhole creative types: writer, musician, actor – they get a label. Stephen Sackur talks to a guest who defies simple description – punk is perhaps the only word that captures the spirit of Henry Rollins. He first found success in the punk band Black Flag back in the early eighties. Since then he’s variously made a name as a non-conforming writer, broadcaster, actor and intrepid traveller. How hard is it to swim against the cultural tide in the United States? Interviewed Guest – Henry Lawrence Rollins. Presenter – Stephen Sackur. Published on Jan 19, 2016’.

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Rooftop Revolutionaries Break the Stage

‘Rooftop Revolutionaries perform their songs ‘Sick, Tired and Wasted’ and ‘Runaway’ and discuss what drives their political activism. Published on Dec 12, 2014’.

Rooftop Revolutionaries is an LA based political hard rock band featuring Eleanor Goldfield, Brian Marshak, Micke Gustavsson, and Stan Love . . . Rooftop Revolutionaries are a modern hard rock band from Los Angeles, CA. Unlike many contemporary bands, Rooftop Revolutionaries express political and social views in their songs, blending a message with a punishing sound similar to that of Shinedown, Chevelle and Alice in Chains. Rooftop Revolutionaries create music for the movement to Get Money Out of politics; to return the power to the people. Every issue in this country, from education, health care, war, poverty, economy and the environment can be traced back to the corrupting influence of money in politics. Rooftop’s music is a medium to fight that corruption, to engage through entertainment and to push for change.[1]

‘Rooftop Revolutionaries Official music video for the song, “Folk Devils” off of the album, Resolute (17 March 2014)’.

Everybody’s favourite grand-daddy of punk rock and punk activism (in addition to being a everybody’s favourite failed ice-cream scooper), Henry Rollins, had this to say: “It’s good to hear a band be very strong and very heavy and not resort to metal cliche  to get there”.[2]

[1] “About Rooftop Revolutionaries” facebook. https://www.facebook.com/rooftoprevolutionaries/info?tab=page_info.

[2] “Press” Rooftop Revolutionaries. http://www.rooftoprevolutionaries.com/press.html.

Pussy Verdict: Putin, Hooliganism, and the Orthodox Church

Friday will see the verdict, but last Saturday Reason TV posted this clip: ‘Amnesty International called Russian punk feminist collective Pussy Riot “prisoners of conscience,” after a February 21 anti-Putin protest landed three members of the band on trial for “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred.” The plight of Pussy Riot has provoked international attention — and pressure for lenience — as the women face three to seven years in prison. On August 10, Reason TV headed down to the Solidarity Concert for Pussy Riot, right across from the Russian embassy (11 August 2012)’.

On Friday, 17 August 2012, the Pussy Riot girls were convicted of hooliganism. The wording employed by the judge, however, sounded more like a blasphemy charge: “The girls’ actions were sacrilegious, blasphemous and broke the church’s rules”.[1]  The three jailed members of Pussy Riot now face a two year jail sentence . . . for performing a “punk prayer” in a Russian Orthodox cathedral. Judge Marina Syrova appears to toe the line very well. The news agency Reuters’ Timothy Heritage and Maria Tsvetkova opine that the judge “declared all three guilty of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred, saying they had deliberately offended Russian Orthodox believers by storming the altar of Moscow’s main cathedral in February to belt out a song deriding Putin. Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 22, Marina Alyokhina, 24, and Yekaterina Samutsevich, 30, giggled as the judge read out the sentences one by one. They have already been in jail for about five months, meaning they will serve another 19. They say they were protesting against Putin’s close ties with the church when they burst into Moscow’s golden-domed Christ the Saviour Cathedral wearing bright ski masks, tights and short skirts”.[2]  In fact, the girls came off lifghtly, as “[s]tate prosecutors had requested a three-year jail term”.[3]  It seems to me that the Russian judiciary was “lenient” in only handing out a two-year verdict, possibly a result of Putin’s intercession as a reaction to the global outcry. Marina Syrova could have gone up to seven years in jail, and by way of good from the prosecution’s demand for three appears somewhere in the middle. The Reuters report quotes the following statement: ‘”They are in jail because it is Putin’s personal revenge,” Alexei Navalny, one of the organizers of big protests against Putin during the winter, told reporters outside the court. “This verdict was written by Vladimir Putin”’.[4]  Under Putin’s benign rule, state and church work together in Mother Russia. On the other hand, nationalism and racism are on the rise and lead to many unprosecuted and unpunished crimes in Russia.

The independent advocacy and action organization Human Rights First’s Innokenty Grekov writes recently that the Russian “government ignored problem of violent, racially-motivated attacks for many years. Only recently have authorities stopped calling skinheads ‘hooligans’, and gone after the neo-Nazi gangs that were responsible for hate crimes. Having arrested and prosecuted the bulk of violent racists, the government turned up the heat on others whom it could potentially view as intolerant, but wound up targeting those with differences of opinion.  As a result we ended up with a mountain of cases in which journalists, religious believers, and artists face persecution in Russia. Though racially motivated attacks continue to occur—an African man and a policeman who came to his rescue were just severely beaten in Moscow three days ago—the police and courts nowadays have much more time on their hands to pursue other extremist enemies of Russia”, adding bleakly that “[o]ne of them is, of course, Pussy Riot”.[5]


[1] “Russia’s Pussy Riot protesters sentenced to two years” Reuters (17 August 2012). http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/08/17/entertainment-us-russia-pussyriot-idUSBRE87F1E520120817.

[2] Timothy Heritage and Maria Tsvetkova, “Russia’s Pussy Riot protesters sentenced to two years” Reuters (17 August 2012). http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/08/17/entertainment-us-russia-pussyriot-idUSBRE87F1E520120817.

[3] Timothy Heritage and Maria Tsvetkova, “Russia’s Pussy Riot protesters sentenced to two years”.

[4] Timothy Heritage and Maria Tsvetkova, “Russia’s Pussy Riot protesters sentenced to two years”.

[5] Innokenty Grekov, “The Enemies of Russia’s Freedom” Human Rights First (16 August 2012). http://www.humanrightsfirst.org/2012/08/16/the-enemies-of-russia%E2%80%99s-freedom/.

Pussy Punishment: Punk Protest gone Awry

The trial of the female punk band, Pussy Riot, has resumed in Moscow after a weekend recess. With public opinion over the controversial case divided, the question on everyone’s lips is just what the verdict will be (6 August 2012).

Bob Dylan Awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom

This happened some time ago, but would appear to deserve some commentary, as I am a big fan of the singer and his songs: ‘President Barack Obama awarded the great Bob Dylan the Presidential Medal of Freedom Award at a ceremony at the White House’.

On the White House website this explanation can be read: ‘The Medal of Freedom is the Nation’s highest civilian honor, presented to individuals who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors’.[i]  And this year, the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize Winner Barrack Obama awarded these prestigious tokens of appreciation to many outstanding individuals, including the protest singer of protest singers, Bob Dylan or Mister Robert Zimmermann. In addition, ‘President Obama honored . . . former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, Israeli President Shimon Peres, author Toni Morrison, civil rights campaigner and National Farm Workers Association co-founder Dolores Huerta and astronaut John Glenn’.[2]

President Obama said that “There is not a bigger giant in the history of American music”, [and that Dylan with the] “unique gravel-y power” of his voice helped redefine “not just what music sounded like, but the message it carried and how it made people feel”.[3]  Never a truer word was spoken . . .


[1] “2010 Presidential Medal of Freedom Recipients” The White House. http://www.whitehouse.gov/medal-of-freedom.

[2] Bob Dylan Awarded Presidential Medal of Freedom” Rolling Stone (29 May 2012). http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/bob-dylan-awarded-presidential-medal-of-freedom-20120529

[3] “Bob Dylan Awarded Presidential Medal of Freedom”.

Religious Fundamentalism Is Wrong???

Via the BBC: “Officials in Pakistan are travelling to a remote north-western region to find out if four women, who apparently sang and watched as two men danced, have been murdered in an honour killing”. Ana Kasparian and Cenk Uygur share their take on religious fundamentalism and judging a culture (11 June 2012).

The BBC reported this story some days ago: ‘Officials in Pakistanare travelling to a remote north-western region to find out if four women, who apparently sang and watched as two men danced, have been murdered in an honour killing. Video footage of the men and women, who gathered as part of a wedding celebration, has been widely seen. Villagers say the women were later killed. Local officials deny this. The men in the video appeared in court on Wednesday charged with creating conditions for tribal violence. Local officials not only failed to produce the women in the court on Wednesday [, 6 June] but were also unable to produce any proof they were still alive, as directed by the court earlier’.[1]  The events took place in the remote area of Kohistan (or the Land of the Mountains).

And as it turns out, the culprit is not necessarily the “culture” of the area, but more likely the influence of a man, namely Maulvi Abdul Haleem. This religious leader, able to issue fatwas among other things, is a well-known enemy of women’s rights.

People, men as well as women, seldom act as a result of their own volition. A certain degree of persuasion and manipulation always helps. Last May, for instance, Abdul Haleem issued this decree, as he told a diligent journalist taking notes: “I issued a decree during Friday sermon [on 4 May 2012] that getting education for degrees by women is repugnant to Islamic injunctions because if a woman gets degree, she may use it for job, an act which Islam doesn’t allow in absence of mehram [close relatives]”.[2]  Rather than simply blaming “religion” or “culture”, these facets of human civilization are easily manipulated by power-hungry leaders of men, such as Maulvi Abdul Haleem, who unscrupulously further their own cause by exploiting the weak. The fact that Mister Abdul Haleem uses the sobriquet maulvi, denoting a high rank of seniority as a scholar of Islam, discloses his envious grip on power of his fellow-men in Kohistan. In a proud voice, the Maulvi even stated that “That’s why girls are not going to schools in Kohistan and girl schools are used as cattle pen”, [3] obviously referring to his own decrees and judgements.

 In order to give an idea of the terrible power wielded by the frustrated maulvi, here is a clip of two Pakistani Girls who have the good fortune not to be living in Kohistan and formed a band called The Cheapmunks.

 And here is a clip of Zeb & Haniya performing their surprise  hit song “Chup”.


[1] “Pakistan probes ‘honour killings’ of four women” BBC News (06 June 2012). http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-18341379.

[2] “Ex MNA from Kohistan Threatens Working Women” Dawn (05 May 2012). http://www.aboardthedemocracytrain.com/ex-mna-from-kohistan-threatens-working-women.

[3] “Ex MNA from Kohistan Threatens Working Women”.

Pussy Riot: Feminism against Putin

From Moscow, FT’s Charles Clover reported last month that “[t]wo members of an all-girl punk band have been jailed and may face stiff prison sentences for a prank-like performance inside Moscow’s main Orthodox cathedral last month. The harsh treatment of the musicians seemed to signal a rising intolerance for dissent in the wake of Sunday’s presidential elections which won Vladimir Putin a third term as Russian president. It is also a test of sorts for radical feminism – a fringe ideology in macho Russia, yet one which seems to be catching on amid three months of protests against the Kremlin”.[1]

The all-girl punk band mentioned above is the “feminist punk-rock collective” called Pussy Riot. They stage ‘politically provocative impromptu performances in Moscow, on subjects such as the status of women in Russia, and most recently against the election campaign of Prime Minister Putin for president of Russia. Their usual costume is skimpy dresses and tights, even in bitterly cold weather, with their faces masked by brightly colored balaclavas, both while performing and giving interviews, for which they always use pseudonyms. The collective is made up of about 10 performers, and about 15 people who handle the technical work of shooting and editing their videos, which are posted to the Internet. The group cites American punk rock band Bikini Kill and the Riot Grrrl movement of 1990s as an inspiration. “What we have in common is impudence, politically loaded lyrics, the importance of feminist discourse and a non-standard female image,” Pussy Riot said’, as related by the ever-trustworthy Wikipedia.[2]

The Wiki entry goes on to explain: ‘On February 21, 2012, as a part of the growing protest movement against Vladimir Putin, Pussy Riot performed a punk rock song in the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour of the Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow. In the song, the group prayed to the “Holy Mother, Blessed Virgin” to “chase Putin out.” On March 3, Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, two alleged members of Pussy Riot, were arrested by Russian authorities and accused of “hooliganism”, for which they face up to 7 years in prison. Both arrested women deny being members of the group and started a hunger strike in protest against being held in jail away from their young children until their case comes to trial in April. On March 16, another woman, Irina Loktina, who had earlier acted as a witness in this case, was similarly arrested and charged. According to Union of Solidarity with Political Prisoners, all women are charged with “hooliganism” according to article 213/2 of the Russian Criminal Code, without any evidence for incriminating such charges, which makes both pre-trial arrest and the charges illegal. This action may cost the women up to seven years in prison, if convicted. All three are recognized as political prisoners by the Union of Solidarity with Political Prisoners (SPP). Amnesty International named them prisoners of conscience due to “the severity of the response of the Russian authorities”. However, opinions in Russia about this act and its social acceptability differ significantly. ­Speaking at a liturgy in Moscow’s Deposition of the Robe Cathedral on March 21, 2012, the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill I of Moscow condemned Pussy Riot’s actions at Christ the Savior Cathedral as “blasphemous” saying that the “Devil has laughed at all of us. We have no future if we allow mocking in front of great shrines, and if some see such mocking as some sort of valour, as an expression of political protest, as an acceptable action or a harmless joke,” the Patriarch said. Meanwhile, several thousands of Orthodox and Catholic believers, the believers of other religions and even atheists signed a petition to Patriarch Kirill, begging the head of the Russian Orthodox Church to stand up for the girls. inger Alla Pugachyova appealed on the women’s behalf, stating that they should be ordered to perform community service rather than be imprisoned’.[3]

On 19 April 2012, the news agency Reuters reports that ‘Russian police detained at least 13 people who demonstrated outside a courthouse on Thursday against the arrest of three members of a women’s punk rock group that performed a protest song in Moscow’s main cathedral, witnesses said. The court was to decide whether to extend the detention of the three women over the performance, in which the group known as Pussy Riot sang a song against president-elect Vladimir Putin in short dresses and coloured masks in Christ the Saviour Cathedral. About 60 of the group’s supporters chanted “Freedom! Freedom!” outside the beige brick Moscow courthouse and some released green, pink and yellow balloons with Pussy Riot’s trademark masks drawn on them. Scuffles broke out when a Russian Orthodox bystander threw an egg at the husband of one of the three detainees. A Reuters reporter saw police drag at least 13 people off into police vans, two of them for throwing a smoke bomb. The three women could face seven years in jail on hooliganism charges but deny taking part in the protest in February. No date has been set for trial and the court was expected to extend their pre-trial detention. Anger over their arrest has fuelled criticism of the Russian Orthodox Church, whose status has improved vastly since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and which has played an increasingly active role in politics since then’.[4]


[1] Charles Clover, “Russia jails female punk band members” FT (08 March 2012). http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/2/0112976c-6938-11e1-9618-00144feabdc0.html#axzz1sWY1y9yQ.

[2] “Pussy Riot” Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pussy_Riot.

[3] “Pussy Riot” Wikipedia.

Radioactive Material: You Can’t See It, and You Can’t Smell It Either

Japan reggae artists MC Rankin and Dub Ainu Band deliver a cautionary message about radioactive material through this song and music video “You Can’t See It, and You Can’t Smell It Either” (14 October 2011).