Wednesday, April 08, 2009

The PPP attacks the Shanaakht Festival, destroys the exhibit at the Arts Council

We have just been informed that a few hours ago, around 7:30 pm Pakistan time, a large mob of PPP activists stormed the Arts Council which was hosting the Shanaakht Festival. The mob was protesting the display of a photograph in the art exhibit section that showed a photo-shopped image of Benazir Bhutto sitting in the lap of General Zia-Ul-Haq.

The mob destroyed the entire exhibit and physically threatened the workers of The Citizens Archive and all the volunteers/workers for the Shanaakht Festival.

We were slated to perform on the final day of the festival along with Fuzon, Noori, Taal Karisma and The Kolachi Quartet. As of right now,all the events for all the days of the Shanaakht Festival, has been cancelled.

Now that I've given you the news, I can't begin to tell you depth of the anger me and my band members are feeling. The Shanaakht Festival is extremely close to our hearts as well as the people organizing it. We performed at the original one and we were looking forward to sharing the stage with our idols Noori and Fuzon. We are sitting in my living room, and I have been on the verge of tears on numerous occasions. Some of my closest friends were in The Arts Council when they were attacked by the mob. According to them, the more they pleaded with the mob to stop the more they destroyed.

There is no difference between the militants in the North and the Pakistan People's Party today. None. We have two groups of people who have spread a doctrine of hate, intolerance and violence. The people who were putting this show together have been working at it for the last 2 years. It was by the people of Pakistan for the people of Pakistan. The theme of the show was 'identity' and we were looking to establish, ro take back the Pakistani identity. I guess all we have to show for it now is an identity of violence and victimization.

If the show goes on Aunty Disco Project will perform. We stand right behind The Citizens Archive and Sharmeen Obaid.

I feel personally attacked. We cannot believe that the concern of our parents which we keep dismissing has been vindicated. They have attacked our show, and our people, our friends.

For those of you who are going to come and say that it was stupid to put that picture up in the first place, you may be justified in your thinking, but there is NO justification for the kind of violence that happened as a result.

Today they attacked ART. They attacked culture and humanity. But worst of all, they attacked and threatened innocent people who were trying to do something good for this country.

I have no more words, except my love and support to the people of The Citizens Archive.


Blogger Ahsan said...

Oba, this is a very important post and I will highlight this issue on Rs.5 later today or perhaps tomorrow to direct more traffic your way.

10:31 PM  
Blogger KM said...

NOTHING justifies this act of terrorism!
amean's on samaa saying that,
"we understand if people were offended...why couldnt they just come up to us and tell us to take it down????
we would willingly take it down."

and there is an aweful woman defending it on air now.
she claims its justified.
aaaaaaaaaaaargh...i might just smash my tv because of this woman.

10:35 PM  
Blogger kAy said...

been scanning the internet and news trying to find out what happened and your blog is the ONLY source of info so far.
its truly disgusting.
please allow me to post your link on my blog too.
like you said, they attacked art...they attacked us...
they attacked shanakht, again they attacked our identity.
my grandfather was supposed to be the last speaker of the festival and we were ALL planning on being there because it was going to be a memorable night knowing how pakistan came to be by a man who chose to migrate.
what a pathetically sad mistake he made if this is what Pakistan has boiled down to.

11:33 PM  
Blogger Ali. said...

I have posted this onto my blog. I really hope this works out and is resolved, to the ruin of the PPP. Where now is democracy? Sherry Rehman hi rahi ghairat-daar shayad.

11:50 PM  
Anonymous Bush. said...

And yet after reading this I feel it's another condemning post towards violence and things that can hardly be changed with fanatics and crazy people on the loose.

But since this was more of a personal event than general. Shit, I'd rather feel green imagining an apolitical Pakistan.

There's no fucking harm in photo shopping. Those guys are.... ah forget it. The others can say it all.

11:51 PM  
Blogger KM said...

since i cant type it again, heres my cmment on huma's blog:
"“logone ke jazbaat bharak jaatey haain…theek hai inhon ne maafi mangee, laikin inko nahin lagani chahiye thee”
amean’s apology was redundant to her(shehla rara).
she came off as this horrible woman who condoned the act.

so what i understand is that this grown woman says LASHING OUT is justified.
huma, kal agar aap ke jazbaat kissi kee baat par bharak gayey…toh feel free to destroy everything in your path.
voicing your disapproval is so passe!"

11:59 PM  
Blogger Ali. said...

This might seem immature but I felt it was for once an appropriate use of facebook.

12:15 AM  
Blogger Ali. said...

and who is this huma lady? mere bhi jazbaat bharak gaye hain. im going to stone her house and car.

12:15 AM  
Blogger luckystripe said...

I am one of the artists exhibiting at the event and came across your blog while looking for how what happened has been represented online.
It's disturbing that a bunch of people from some political party can just storm in and make a scene, abusing people and destroying art works with no concern for anyone but their 'anger at being insulted' and that there is no one there to stop them.

The art work on display was an expression of a certain artist's views on Pakistan and Pakistani identity. What she depicted was her own experience, her voice.

What the PPP jiyalas did was the same; expressed their opinion on a percieved slight.

What i'd like to point out here is that the artist did it with a photograph hanging innocently on the wall of a gallery. The PPP gang, on the other hand, had to pull down banners and posters, push and shove men and women, destroy artworks and generate terror.

Both of them have a right to their opinion and understanding of Pakistan and what it means to be Pakistani. It's all a matter of how you choose to communicate ....

12:20 AM  
Blogger KM said...

@starman...its not huma who said all this.
its a politician from PPP shehla raza...
i was mocking her on huma imtiaz's blog.

12:22 AM  
Blogger luckystripe said...

Also i'd like to clarify that CAP has decided that the show WILL CONTINUE as per schedule and that Shazia Marri apparently turned up at the Arts Council after the incident to clear up the air. Hope to see you lot there!

12:25 AM  
Anonymous Imran Lodhi said...

May God bless you all man, I wish I was more clued in to what is happening but this is utterly ridiculous....Hope the show still goes on and you guys continue to develop Pakistani identity in the harsh face of all of this crap...

12:34 AM  
Anonymous Ibad Kureshi said...

idiots they are... i mean some one should throw this at them:

its from 10 days ago... to quote a line from it
"Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira said on Wednesday.

The PPP had always supported freedom of expression and would keep ensuring it"

where is the freedom now? lets c if the judges who some many people faught to restore can help... lets see the justice

1:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i was just commenting on khizzys blog that this needs to be condemned with the strongest words possible. we cant stoop to their level and start destroying things- although god knows id like to destroy a few peoples faces over this but that would make me just like them (shudder at the thought).

if youre playing on sunday- and i hope they dont cancel- i will be there.

2:11 AM  
Blogger DysfunctionaL said...

It's absolutely disgusting how people can't even have the freedom to be creative and express their opinions in a so called 'democratic nation'.. this is worse than oceania in george orwell's 1984..

best of luck to the organizers.. i hope they decide to continue with the remainder of the festival.. if i was in khi, i'd definitely be there to support the cause and condemn this act of disrespect and terrorism!

2:12 AM  
Anonymous madeeha syed said...

i am baffled. this feels like a personal blow. it's the shanaakht festival for godsakes! it celebrates who we are and where we're from... it's a festival for the people... what is wrong with the perpetrators who damaged it today? can somebody please tell me what their problem is?

it also brings the violence one hears about on the news scarily close to home.

i'm proud of you for posting this so fast Oba. Your post is the ONLY one on the internet that gives some kind of information on the event.

You might not like them very much, but you have a little journo in you...

2:16 AM  
Blogger Sophia said...

This is probably the most disgusting event of this week (I guess now our identity is disgusting and perverted events in our lives). But really think about it, what makes people behave this way? It is their disinterest, disconnection and displacement from normal life as it is known to some of us. No number of drones, military actions or sanctions is going to make us civilized unless we make an effort to change the social, political and economic situation of the people.

3:03 AM  
Blogger Nabil said...

Is the bhutto pic uploaded somewhere?

3:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Intolerant! Inhumane act!! I'm in utter disgust!

3:53 AM  
Anonymous Umair Khan said...

Man, I totally agree with you!!! The situation seems more hopeless with every passing day!! God save our country n it's Art and Culture. I'm totally in support of ur decision to perform if the show goes on!

9:38 AM  
Blogger Zakintosh said...

Where did you get the impression that it was an INFANT Benazir? The image is now all over the net ...

1:07 PM  
Anonymous Sarah said...

I keep reading people attacked ART. I don't support what happened, obviously not. But come on - think about the fact that this was a free event and you were inviting the genearl pakistani public. They weren't there to appreicate art and perhaps they don't have the personal capability to.

I fully support this festival. I f ully am against the violence. I'm once again ashamed to be called a Pakistani. But, I feel this was a mistake also a mistake on the organizers part.

2:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Everyone has the right to express their views through "art" but to put up a picture of that nature and label it as Pakistani "shanaakht" is pure stupidity. Seeing Benazir sitting in Zia's lap does nothing for our sense of identity. One hoped that this festival would generate a sense of togetherness during a time when the nation was already polarised. This exhibit has done what the danish cartoons did for Islam - use freedom of expression as an excuse for inciting hatred, and showing a lack of respect for a leader who was violently killed for standing up for democracy. Bad taste indeed.

S.Z. Khan, Karachi.

4:28 PM  
Blogger Majaz said...

Absolutely despicable. I'm shocked beyond words. This woman, Raza, is completely mental. Freedom of expression, it seems, exists only for Mr. Zardari's plutocrats.

7:33 PM  
Blogger Ambreen Haider said...

this smae political party is reposnisble for the death fof 7 people oin a factory on 27th December 2007 in Koranhgi: my client.t he factory was burnt down. everything. a major oil rfinery across the road had its PCs stolen.a dn all torn down. why? cuz their muhtarma was dead

this party isnothing but disgusting. and what a picture: a piece of art (which could ot be appreciated for its opinion) and what the minister for culture who cannnot appreciate art did is abominable.

12:41 PM  
Anonymous Ali said...

First of all the organizers were approached to take it down and they refused saying it would not !


Secondly why did they let such a picture be put up in the first place?

11:38 AM  
Anonymous Ali said...

All you num-nuts and uninformed people who are citing freedom of expression/speech as a reason as to why the picture should have been allowed to be displayed in the first place should first go understand what freedom of speech/expression entails and what are the moral/ethical and legal constraints that exist thereon.

If what the artist did was freedom of expression then what the "MOB" did was their way of expressing anger. I LAY THE BLAME WHOLLY AND SOLELY ON THE ORGANIZERS FOR LETTING SOMETHING LIKE THIS SLIP !

They should be taken to task for defamation !

Yes look up the legal contexts of big words which you use then start ranting.

Those &^#*&$^# who laid to waste the entire exhibition shouldn't be given a "Get out of Jail Free" card either and should be held responsible for rioting and destruction of property.

11:44 AM  

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