"In northern Mali, music silenced as Islamists drive out artists," by Sudarsan Raghavan for the Washington Post, November 30:
BAMAKO, Mali — Khaira Arby, one of Africa’s most celebrated musicians, has performed all over the world, but there is one place she cannot visit: her native city of Timbuktu, a place steeped in history and culture but now ruled by religious extremists. One day, they broke into Arby’s house and destroyed her instruments. Her voice was a threat to Islam, they said, even though one of her most popular songs praised Allah.
“They told my neighbors that if they ever caught me, they would cut my tongue out,” said Arby, sadness etched on her broad face.
Northern Mali, one of the richest reservoirs of music on the continent, is now an artistic wasteland. Hundreds of musicians have fled south to Bamako, the capital, and to other towns and neighboring countries, driven out by hard-liners who have decreed any form of music — save for the tunes set to Koranic verses — as being against their religion.
The exiles describe a shattering of their culture, in which playing music brings lashes with whips, even prison time, and MP3 and cassette players are seized and destroyed.
“We can no longer live like we used to live,” lamented Aminata Wassidie Traore, 36, a singer who fled her village of Dire, near Timbuktu. “The Islamists do not want anyone to sing anymore.”...
... Now, women must wear head-to-toe garments. Smoking, alcohol, videos and any suggestions of Western culture are banned. The new decrees are enforced by public amputations, whippings and executions, prompting more than 400,000 people to flee. The extremists also destroyed tombs and other cultural treasures, saying they were against Islamic principles.
Where are Bono, Beck, Sting, Springsteen, McCartney, James Taylor, Bon Jovi, Billy Joel, Madonna, Lady Gaga, Elton John, Bjork, et al., to organize a "World Music Freedom" concert to help not only Malians, but musicians throughout the Third World threatened in various ways by Islam?
Crickets chirping; turned-off speakers crackling...
If they ever do get their shit together to do such a needful project, they could enlist Derrick N. Ashong -- Leader of the pan-African hip-hop band Soulfège and zealous activist for African issues... [who] brings “Afro-diasporic groovalicious funkadociousness” to the airwaves while striving to repair negative misperceptions of contemporary African nations and their culture.
Only one little problem, however, with Ashong:
Born in Ghana, Ashong’s childhood was spent in an eclectic collection of locations throughout West Africa and the United States. His father, with a background in medicine, “dragged” the family around the world as he trained physicians in Saudi Arabia and then managed a children’s urgent-care center in Qatar.
Far more likely is the prospect that Bono, Sting, Springsteen, et al., would find in Ashong an enthusiastic partner in a "Let's Fight Islamophobia World Concert!"
Speaking of Lefto-folk-rock-pop benefit concerts: on what side were George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Ravi Shankar, Leon Russell, et al., when they staged the gold standard of the benefit concert -- The Concert for Bangladesh in 1971? It seems, as is so typical of Leftists, they were on the side of the nameless "tragedy" of the war between East Pakistan (Bangla Desh) and West Pakistan, concentrating only on the population dislocations, famine and bouts of illness -- as though the whole catastrophe were merely some kind of natural disaster, some freak of Nature -- and so they seemed to have ignored the elephant in the Subcontinent: Islam. I.e., the fact that Muslims of West Pakistan, fanatical for their Islam, punished Bangla Desh (its Hindus and Christians, as well as its insufficiently "Paki" (= "pure") Bangladeshi Muslims) by massacring them by the millions.
And for that more elemental problem at the source of the peripheral aftershocks that so worried George Harrison, that benefit concert benefitted no one. Indeed, the hatred, intolerance and mass violence in that region has only continued these past 40 decades, if it has not been getting worse in this new century, as this essay by Hugh Fitzgerald -- Bangladesh, Bangladesh -- so eloquently describes.
In one part of that essay, Fitzgerald, writing in December of 2005, mentions a common feature in Muslim-infested areas in Bangladesh (which would apply in India and Pakistan as well):
The country is spiraling into complete Muslim fanaticism. One can see, at certain websites, pictures of a Hindu who, having made the mistake of walking near a mosque in Bangladesh recently as Friday Prayers were ending, was beaten by a Muslim mob -- a mob enthused, no doubt, by whatever stirring khutba it had just heard. It is not only those taking part so gleefully in the man's murder that strikes one -- but all the others standing about, enjoying the spectacle or casually ignoring it as if this sort of thing happens every day.
In the comments section, a helpful reader provided a link to a website (Ethnic Cleansing in Bangladesh) that contains pictures of -- among other Muslim atrocities -- the Hindu being beaten by Muslims mentioned by Fitzgerald, with clerics looking idly, if not supportively, by. And much more of worth may be found on that website.
P.S.: To answer our titular question, the likely answer is that, if he's not righteously consternated about comparatively mild problems such as the "oppression" of Pussy Riot, he's otherwise terribly busy: