I love the music of the middle east. The hypnotic drum rhythms. The sultry voices. They bring out the dreamer in me, provide a perfect escape, and allow me to avoid disturbing images and thoughts if things political.
I don't actually belly dance any more. I never did belly dance well. But the music has stayed with me, after my childbearing years are long over, when I learned how to dance for the sake of easier labors.
Middle eastern music ONCE did those things for me: It helped me dream. It made me dance. It eased my transition to motherhood. But, I guess I have to come clean and admit that, loving the music of Turkey, Greece, Pakistan, and Egypt had also lulled me into a kind of complacency.
How can something so beautiful be performed by women who are risking their lives to share it with me? It's incomprehensible. It's reprehensible. It's impossible!!
When I decided to embark upon my current blogging journey, I simply wanted to escape from politics. I thought that by honoring the women who perform the music I love I could delve more deeply into something I enjoy, escape from all the Obotian illogistics, and maybe educate a few interested souls along the way.
I had no idea. Really. I just did not know. How bad things are.
As I've journeyed more deeply,though, I've been awakened to the reality that there is a reason we don't hear many women's voices celebrating this beautiful art form. That reason is not, as I had previously believed, simple discrimination. It goes beyond the kind of sexism that Meryl Streep complained about. (Not that I am downplaying Meryl's accusations about the nature of sexism in Hollywood.) The fact is, in many Islamic territories, women can be killed for singing. It's that simple. They are forbidden to do it.
Take, for example, Ayman Udas,
"shot dead by her own brothers in the conservative city of Peshawar in Pakistan after she had appeared on television.
The murder of Ayman Udas, who was in her early thirties and newly married, has shocked the city’s artistic community because it symbolises a backlash against women and cultural freedom in an area that is increasingly dominated by Islamic funda-mentalists.
She won considerable acclaim for her songs but had become a musician in the face of bitter opposition from her family, who believed it was sinful for a woman to perform on television.
Ashamed of her growing popularity her two brothers are reported to have entered her flat last week while her husband was out and fired three bullets into her chest. Neither has been caught."
This happened just a couple of months ago. Where was the media coverage? Did many of us even know about her murder? And why not??
"So far (we are told) there has been no outcry by Music Industry moguls, Hollywood Actors, or any other popular Entertainment industry figures in the UK or the United States, over her slaying. Similarly, Free Speech advocates and liberal Human Rights groups in the West have been silent on the murder."
As a feminist, I grow increasingly restless about this kind of casual disregard of a woman's life. And the subsequent cover ups.... that have something to do with our own fear of speaking out. We have been taught that, as good little Third Wavers we must stand up for the rights of all minorities. Including those in which men are allowed, nay encouraged, to murder their wives and sisters in the most brutal of fashions.
If I cannot speak out against this kind of barbarism, that makes me ashamed to be a "Feminist."
In fact, it makes me wonder what the fuck "Feminism" stands for??