I guess I’m not really surprised by this article found in the Guardian regarding Islam extremism and another attempt to stop people from being human beings, this time by restricting something that’s so much a part of the human experience.
Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said today [Aug 2, 2010] that music is “not compatible” with the values of the Islamic republic, and should not be practised or taught in the country.
In some of the most extreme comments by a senior regime figure since the 1979 revolution, Khamenei said: “Although music is halal, promoting and teaching it is not compatible with the highest values of the sacred regime of the Islamic Republic.”
Khamenei’s comments came in response to a request for a ruling by a 21-year-old follower of his, who was thinking of starting music lessons, but wanted to know if they were acceptable according to Islam, the semi-official Fars news agency reported. “It’s better that our dear youth spend their valuable time in learning science and essential and useful skills and fill their time with sport and healthy recreations instead of music,” he said.
I bold that and say, “Huh.” Halal means legal, by the way, so it’s okay to listen to it (some kinds at least) but not to make it. Interesting argument for why music instruction is a waste of time, though. It almost sounds like a lot of schools around North America where next to no extra cash is passed out to the fine arts, but everyone’s expected to support the teams.
eHow has a really stupid article up about why cutting music out of schools is a fine idea: it costs too much, makes too much noise, and isn’t fair for kids who’d rather take film or other courses not in existence because music is in existence.
Pardon me for thinking the author of that is a jackass. I think Khamenei and company are, too. Music is a way for people to explore creativity and invention and it doesn’t take a hell of a lot in terms of money to make that happen – a voice and hands can make that happen. We already have those for free. Even if the choice is made to get instruments, you don’t have to get expensive ones. Recorders are very versatile sound makers and can be found in discount stores all over the damn place. Noise is a problem? Make room in part of a basement, or do like a lot of schools and have band classes once other classes are out for the day. Or take a chill pill and accept the fact that kids are going to be making noise in a music room and talk to your school boss people about improving the design of that room to make it a little more soundproof so it’s less likely to disturb the neighbours.
Understanding how sounds fit together, how time is measured (and can be manipulated) and how instruments even work is all very scientific and worth teaching people. And music is such a universal means of expressing one’s self, it seems almost criminal to tell people they can’t do it. How can anyone realistically think it’s possible to stop people from making music? Even the way we wind up speaking every day resembles music as we raise and lower the tone of our voices, depending on what it is we have to say.
As it turns out, part of the reason music is getting a crackdown there is because music means concerts, and people want to gather for concerts, and people who gather are going to talk, and people who talk are probably going to start talking about shit that’s bugging them, and once people are willing to talk about shit that’s bugging them, they’ll encourage others to do the same, and the quiet time before a concert is a good anonymous time to shout “death to dictator” and survive shouting it.
What a country.