Ali Azmat – The Flipside
One thinks of Ali Azmat and is reminded of the good old Junoon days with Ali Azmat’s long curly hair, rocking out to songs like Sayonee and Yar Bina but limiting him to his music would be doing him a grave injustice because I was able to discover in him a very different character during my interview of him. In the two and a half hour long conversation I had with him over the phone, he baffled me with his immense knowledge of economics, politics and the repercussions that institutions like the IMF and World Bank are having on countries like Pakistan.
Ali Azmat stated that the issues of corruption along with the prices of commodities going crazy affect the musicians in a special way because they happen to be ‘sensitive creatures’ that are consumed by the time and age. He therefore is a proponent of making songs revolving around freedom and justice, which is evident in his latest singles, Bam Pata and Chalta Main Jaoon. He further pointed out how this trend of making socially motivating music is evident all over the world. With music groups like Muse, Radiohead, Nine Inch Nails, Bruce Springsteen and Megadeth singing about injustice in society, Ali feels that he’s on the right track with what he’s doing.
One issue that seemed to be rather close to Ali Azmat revolved around this idea of ‘structured violence’ that he kept mentioning throughout the interview, something that he claims to be fighting through his music. This violence according to him is directed against the general masses across the world by those business tycoons that have become the echelons of power throughout the globe. He feels that Pakistan, just like the rest of the world is under attack by elitist interest groups and those who work in the financial centers of the world. Most of the Global North has been made into a colony of US imperialism, or rather the ‘United States of Imperialists’. He sees the same trend taking place in Bangladesh, China, Vietnam, India, and other such previously colonized countries.
The 450 million dalits of India are suffering from the same ‘systematic genocide’ that the minorities in Pakistan are, but the Indians, funded by the West, specifically the Grey Global Group, invest $100 million every year to saturate their media with images of consumerism. We see in India a takeover by the Western imperialists, by giving the Indians hope but taking all the profits.
During the Musharaf regime, international banks working in Pakistan accumulated wealth of the entire nation. In the last year the three leading banks of Pakistan were able to appropriate three trillion US dollars. Rather than benefiting the Pakistani economy, the money is used to weaken its economic state. The fertilizers that are so heavily advertised on Pakistani television channels are a threat to Pakistani agriculture because of the dangerous chemicals contained in them. Thus, the food that we consume is being tampered with and is becoming deadly. Even more so, our natural resources, like our land is being poisoned with these pesticides and insecticides.
The sole aim of all these organizations is to ‘generate fear’ among the masses of the world, according to Ali. He says that these firms follow the Hegelian philosophy of having a hypothesis, antithesis and synthesis, except in a controlled environment. He went onto explain this by the dengue endemic as well as the issue of the bad medicines that killed off sixty-seven heart patients in PIC some weeks back. He said that whether it is a health, security or economic problem, those with the economic power, the bourgeoisie of the world create these problems and then exploit the resources and people of weaker countries to their own advantage. Therefore, he laid all responsibility for the bankruptcy of European countries on those calling the shots backstage.
With the introduction of the carbon tax by the United Nations, the Global South is in a greater crisis because, ever since the issue of global warming gained in importance, Western countries moved their factories to the Global South on the pretext of investing in foreign economies and generating employment opportunities, thus polluting the countries that are economically weak. This in effect means that all the poor countries have the factories making them subject to greater carbon tax than developed countries. Markets are created in states like ours only to destroy us.
The UN is being controlled by all the economic giants and things like food insecurity are just a game for them because they create them and earn money off of it. They work ‘through us, not for us’, said Ali about them. Pakistan has been requesting aid from the IMF and World Bank for twenty-five dams and other agricultural projects since twenty-five years but they have been refused even though it could provide food, water and electricity. Rather the World Bank has suggested that these energies can be generated through the use of furnaces, for which Pakistan would need to buy extremely expensive furnace oil from them.
Ali seemed to be highly critical of the people who blame corrupt politicians for everything and don’t pinpoint the real root of evil; money. One needs to look into where it comes from and then where it goes. Even these people are pawns being used to the advantage of other more important figures hidden behind the veil. Revolutions taking place under the banner of the Arab Spring are merely a handshake towards the people of the Middle East from the West. Just because the dictators have been gotten rid of does not prove that the status quo has actually fallen and that the situation has changed, rather whichever new leader comes into power after this, would support the status quo, against the wishes of the people. The situation in Pakistan, for example has not changed with the removal of a dictatorship, rather the status quo is still maintained and protected.
All of these things may be considered as conspiracy theories but the truth is that they are worth thinking about, and it is up to the Global South to at least try to challenge the structure created by the Global North, or else perish.