Confront the belief-system of jihad violence and Islamic supremacism? Naah. Hold the Pakistanis to their agreements with the U.S. and challenge them on their aiding of jihad groups? Pah. Send in the hip-hop troupe. Pakistan will immediately moonwalk away from its double game.
“US tries ‘hip hop’ diplomacy in Pakistan,” from Reuters, November 15 (thanks to EH):
ISLAMABAD: Considered by many Pakistanis to be public enemy number one, the United States turned to the musical descendents of rap groupPublic Enemy in an attempt to counter its highly unpopular image in the South Asian nation.
As part of its cultural diplomacy programme, the US embassy brought the FEW Collective, a hip hop troupe from Chicago to Islamabad on November 14 where they danced, rapped and recited poetry to a westernised, educated and elite audience of young Pakistanis.
The group’s 10-day trip is sponsored by the US State Department as part of its American Festival of the Arts, which is a cultural programme designed to promote exchange between people of the two countries. “It gives a good impression,” said Atroz Abro, 20, who attended the show. “You rarely find such events in Pakistan to pump up the youth by bringing something new.”
According to US assistant cultural attache Jamie Martin, the aim of the performance is to show that, “There’s another layer to the relationship. It’s not just government to government and military to military. It’s people to people.” Such cultural events “” which have included the Ari Roland jazz group and country pop star Mary McBride “” are part of a long-standing State Department tradition. Jazz greats Dizzy Gillespie and Dave Brubeck toured Pakistan in the late 1950s as part of the same programme….
Rapper Adil Omar stated that, “While music definitely helps in strengthening the cultural footing of a country, I don’t think it can benefit the political state of two countries as such. I mean it can play a small role but it cannot bring change on its own. There are a bunch of other things like socio-economic and defence factors that help in bridging the gap between two nations.”
No kidding, really?