Social media websites like Facebook, Twitter and Youtube have taken the process of networking and building connections among people to a whole new level. It is not just about getting in touch with that childhood friend, or being able to find out what your favorite artist is doing right this second (cue the Twitter stalker), or wishing that you will become the next YouTube sensation.
Social media has become much more than that.
It is about putting forward the important issues (or at least, what is important to you). It is about supporting those people who are bringing up these issues, or intelligently debating them if you disagree with their arguments. Social media, or rather, the Internet in general, allows people to talk about issues that are important to them through many different ways – be it in text, or music, or self-made videos. With some creativity, passion, and bravery (because people can be mean sometimes if they disagree with others), it is possible to bring about a change in the world, little by little.
Take for example this music video of a song called Aalu Anday, meaning Potatoes and Eggs, by Pakistani band, Beygairat Brigade.
This political satire video by Beygairat Brigade, or A Brigade Without Honor, touches on the issue of religious extremism and militancy in Pakistan. It went viral after being uploaded last October, and has since gotten more than 740,000 views. The song talks about how religious extremists in Pakistan are seen as heroes, along with those who commit to murdering the people who openly disagree with the views of the extremists.
For instance, the band sings about how “Qadri is treated like a royal”, referring to the elite police guard who assassinated Salman Taseer, the governor of Punjab. Mr Taseer was known for his vocal opposition to the religious parties in Pakistan, and for campaigning against Pakistan’s blasphemy laws.
With this song, Beygairat Brigade represented the Pakistanis who share the same liberal views but who are afraid to speak out for fear of what might happen to them if they do. It is things like this that provide the opportunity for people to unite and gather up their courage in standing up for what they believe in. It might seem like a simple approach – anyone can create a song – but sometimes, the simple approaches are the ones that can create the biggest impact.
For Beygairat Brigade, they took that small step, through their song, in giving Pakistanis a voice, and with the help of YouTube and social media, that small step created a big awareness to the public about what is going on in Pakistan.