The latest music video to go viral in the Pakistani blogosphere, Aaloo Andey by Beyghairat Brigade, says most of what those on the centre and left are thinking.
The Pakistani virtualverse has been twittering about the satire since it came out. However there has also been some verbal violence against the views expressed in the song, characteristic of the Pakistan we live in… what for one man thinks is xenophobic nationalism, for another is just natural wholesome patriotism.
The first break-out article in this regard was Nadeem Piracha’s review of the video for Dawn, “This song and video is certainly an apparently unassuming bolt of consciousness that, within a span of three minutes, has rendered all the conspiracy theorists, ‘analysts,’ talk-show hosts and robotic, contrary ‘patriotic’ show-biz exhibitionists as not only meaningless masters of chauvinist rhetoric, but apologists of lies.”
Fahd Husain writes for the Daily Times, “Beyghairat Brigade will always be known as the boys who finally said the emperor had no clothes. There has also been a significant positive Indian response to the video due to the mention of Ajmal Qasab being a “hero”, both in commentary and newspapers like the Indian Express. The young boys from Lahore even made it to The Economist and BBC. The general reaction in Pakistan seems to be positive, though the band did have to remove comments from youtube that were too offensive or abusive.
There is also and interesting comparison made with another powerhouse of a musician, Ali Azmat. Just a week before the video was released we saw Ali Azmat on a talk show with Mubasher Luqmaan discussing music as voodoo mind control, and talking about zombie/apocalypse movies and killings in Balochistan in the same sentence. As Raza Habib Raja at PTH puts it:
“What was mocked at the first video (Aaloo Anday) was on full display in the second video (Ali Azmat’s interview). Yet both were humorous though the latter only in its irony. First was a satire, and the second could only be termed as some sort of a black comedy, which depicted how delusional we have become. But despite everything, the first video has given a faint hope that may be some of us are realizing and therefore articulating of whatever is wrong with the content and intellectual thrust of the second video… As the torch of political Rock n Roll passes to younger blood, some of whom have the nerves to finally say that should have been said long ago, there is every reason to believe that though in fringes, sanity still exists.”
Now here is the ‘other’ reaction, most of it found in the form of youtube/blog comments (only PG-18 responses reproduced below). It is symptomatic of the difference of opinion found in our society:
“The musical satire obviously mocks the military and political establishment’s hypocrisy and duality but its one-sided. It fails to mentions following very important points concerning this nation:
1) US Invasion of neighboring Muslim nation and Pakistani military and logistic collaboration.
2) Indian Support to Baluch nationalists.
3) Dr. Aafia’s abduction, molestation and handover to US.
9) Salman Taseer’s bypassing of Pakistani legal process and highlighting a selective issue of interest labeling Blasphemy laws as barbaric.
These points are either ignored due to inherent myopia due to lack of proper awareness or intentional selective perception to justify a specific premise. Allah knows best”- A very grim Facebook response to the video (edited for clarity and brevity).
The variety of negative responses has been of a narrow focus including, “Kabhi kisi aur qom ko bhi dekha hau khud par ilzamat lagatay hoy… apnay watan ko bura kehna fashion hai.” Sadly there have also been many anti-Ahmadi comments stemming from a prejudiced conception that dissent/criticism of names like Qadri could only be from Ahamdis. And then we have this gem of a comment, “When you people have been outshined in all debates, you chose to project your nonsense propaganda through disguised videos. But these videos can appeal only to jugglers and BEHROOPIAS belonging to your wayward school of thoughts. Qadri is not a behroopia like you. He is a man of action and he did what he thought he should have done… Behave like men you puppets” (edited for abuse).
The real Ghairat Brigade is still silent on the matter.