The controversy surrounding Manu Militari
24Hours Vancouver columnist Leo Knight recently wrote a piece condemning Montreal rapper Manu Militari and praising the fact the certain government officials are calling for a review of Heritage Funding. Now for those not in the know, let me backtrack a little. Militari released a single, “L’Attente”, a few months ago. The subsequent music video – released just a couple of weeks ago – has everyone up in arms.
The video allegedly shows attacks on Canadian troops from Afghanistan and is told from the perspective of an Afghani soldier. Almost immediately, there were cries that the video was pro-Taliban and anti-military. Conservative Manitoba MP James Bezan recently wrote an angry rant that saying that he found the video "offensive" and didn’t believe that this was "proper use of taxpayer money."
Did no one even think to consider the alternative? That perhaps he was merely trying to show the effects that our actions have on others? The effect that our military has on the people of Afghanistan. Of course not: as soon as we come across as not agreeing with one another, we do anything to convince ourselves that it is bad for society.
Another point of contention comes from the fact that Militari received $110, 000 (over four years, that is) from MusicAction, a publicly funded groups that provides grant funding to artists (basically a French version of FACTOR). Because of this, Bezan, Knight and others are now calling on heritage minister James Moore to review MusicAction and its funding practices. This is downright absurd. I may think Knight’s article to be absurd but does that mean I should call on 24 to review its hiring practices of its writers?
I think not. I may think James Brezan is wrong. I still believe he has every right to say those ridiculous arguments.
And another thing. How does one quantify offense? Just because I find something offensive (like Mr. Brezan’s war on culture) does not mean other people feel the same.
As Canadians, we cannot say we believe in free speech while simultaneously trying impose limits on the very free speech which we believe in. Richard Dawkins says may get offended as by certain trivial things such as backwards baseball caps, but he has no right to call for a ban on them. However, he states there are times when we should be offended, such as when children are denied access to education (as was clearly the case with Mr. Brezan).
Here is the video in full.
Editor's warning: [Graphic violence depiction of violence in Manu Militari video below will certainly offend some.]
"If it is art, it is not for all, if it is for all it is not art." - Arnold Schoenberg