Mediální zraky jsou již několik týdnů ostře upřeny na dramatickou situaci v Libyi, kterou putují město po městu Kaddáfího jednotky a masakrují civilisty stejnou měrou jako povstalce. Jak zjistil server Side-Line.com, celou situaci sleduje také častý politický komentátor a revolucionář Alec Empire, zakládající člen kultovních Atari Teenage Riot. Empire se na svém twitteru pustil do hudebníků,kteří v minulosti přijížděli hrát "vybrané libyjské společnosti" se samotným Kaddáfím v čele a pobírali za to patřičně tučné sumy. Mezi jmenovanými celebritami byly například 50Cent, Beyonce, Usher, Timbaland nebo Lionel Richie.
Redaktoři Side-Linu byli pohotoví, nespokojili se s krátkými tweety a Empira oslovili k přímému rozhovoru, který si můžete v angličtině přečíst na následujících řádcích.
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Alec: I think every artist is responsible for their own actions and has to be prepared to face the consequences. CDs of my band Atari Teenage Riot were banned in Germany by the authorities because we spoke out about racism. Everything we do is political. Especially when you DON'T speak out while your government is using your tax money to fight questionable wars in the world.
SL: Do you believe u can actually change things? I refer to your BBC Twitter campaign to boycott several artists.
Alec: I don't want that these artists are allowed to make any more money from public radio and TV. They clearly crossed a line. Just donating some of the money after the info leaked is not good enough for me.
Pop is not the music of the people anymore. These events just show how much we have let corporations control what used to be a more democratic process. People download for free now but have given that power away to 'elect' their favorite music and can't have that say when they purchase a song which artist survives financially in the market economy. I warned about that a decade ago. I remember this from Nazi Germany and socialist East Germany. In our society multinational corporations finance music now and decide which music is being made. People must be passive and digest what's presented to them.
The rest of the bands become a number in a telephone book, the internet is about to lose its power to present people with more choices. We all must claim that power back. Artist who play for dictators cannot have a place in the music scene of a truly democratic society.
SL: I know indie bands who enjoyed playing in the Libyan desert when all was oh so quiet. Would you never have accepted such invitation?
Alec: I got invited to many questionable events. Sometimes you cannot know who pulls the strings. But when you see a dictator in the crowd and you have a mic, you MUST speak out or you become guilty. I see it as the main responsibility of an artist to do that. Especially when people get tortured and killed.
SL: Several artists have said they'll donate the money, too little too late?
Alec: yes, too late. They should have never played in the first place. It's like a robber killing a person, taking the wallet, then getting caught and offering to give the money away. I grew up in Germany, my grandfather was killed by the Nazis. I have very clear principles about that.
SL: I hear some already saying you're one of those jealous artists. Your answer to this?
Alec: I am happy with the money that I am making, because I don't make music to make money. I am not that different to the people who run Firefox or so. Jealousy doesn't have a place in my life. I think it's the typical childish excuse of those who try to defend themselves when they know they should be ashamed of what they've done.
SL: Will u limit to twitter only or do u plan to take things a bit further?
Alec: All my music is political. I work on this every second of my life , since I started. With this thing? Yes, I will always mention it. If it's at an award show, on radio or TV. I won't let go. When the promoters of the Love Parade in Germany made a lot of anti-semitic comments in the 90ties, I made people aware of it. Again and again. Every time you would read about the event in the serious press, you saw this criticism in there. We can't let this one slip. I am surprised that these artists haven't taken more action to repair the damage?
Most people are conditioned to listen to the music of those artists. The best action one can take to make a statement is to not listen, click or watch these artists anymore. Don't go to their shows, just ignore them. Everyone can do it. It's easy.
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