LONDON BAND REMIX BATTLE CRY FOR RELEASE OF PAKISTAN'S FAMOUS DEATH ROW PRISONER
(Click her to sign our petition for Asia Bibi)
In 7 days time on 14th April the twice-postponed appeal of Asia Bibi will be heard before Lahore's High Court. London band Ooberfuse's defiant battle-cry anthem Free Asia Bibi has recently been remixed by German EDM funkster Kinky Roland and will be released on 10 April to mark the occasion. The track can be heard here: (Click here)
Bibi's life has been dangling on a thread since her condemnation to death in 2011 triggered an international outcry. Since her incarceration in June 2011 she has been the target of death threats from gaolers and fellow in-mates. Her case has caused the assassination of 2 high profile Pakistani politicians, Shabaz Bhatti (Minister for Minorities) and Salman Taseer (Governor of Punjab).
Sidra, one of Asia's five children, cannot understand why her family has become the target of so much hate. Face worn by anxiety she says : 'Our lives stopped when Mummy went away. My sisters and I cry every day because we miss her so much. We don't know if she will ever come back; we're very afraid of what might happen.'
Spokesperson for Britain's Pakistani Christian community, Wilson Chowdhry, aka Wizard MC, directly appeals for Bibi's release in the remix. He says : "Hopefully this time after two inexplicable adjournments in February and March this year the flaws in Pakistan's legal system will be overcome. Legal authorities must feel confident and secure enough to make just decisions and fulfil their duty to appear at court hearings. The hatred and animosity initially displayed by millions incensed at the allegations made against Asia Bibi have now softened into petitions for leniency in the intervening years. For the sake of justice and the greater good of Pakistani society it is timely now for Asia to be released."
Hal from ooberfuse, who translated Bibi's autobiography into English, adds : 'I am still haunted by Asia's concluding words in her autobiography "Ten million people want to kill me...Now that you know me, tell those around you what is happening. Let them know about it. I believe this is my only chance of not dying in the pit of this dungeon. I need you! Save me!" That was over 2 years ago. The passage of time seems to have quelled the violent storms of hatred towards Asia that resulted in assassinations and sinister death threats. We have deliberately timed our remix to coincide with the hearing of the High Court appeal in the hope that justice and mercy will at last be served.'
Cherrie, ooberfuse's front woman, says : 'the imprisonment of a vulnerable, uneducated woman for manufactured crimes and trumped up charges is a travesty in any society. It is compounded in Asia's case as she has 5 children. Their childhoods will be irreversibly scarred by the absence of their mother during their growing years. We want our remix to be a celebration of freedom to heal these emotional wounds and to herald peace in the future.'
NOTES FOR EDITORS
Asia Bibi, or Aasiya Noreen, was born in 1971. She is the first woman in Pakistan's modern history to be sentenced to death by hanging. She was convicted of blasphemy by a Pakistani court, receiving a sentence of death by hanging. In June 2009, Noreen was involved in an argument with a group of Muslim women with whom she had been harvesting berries after the other women became angry at her for drinking the same water as them. She was subsequently accused of insulting the Islamic Prophet Muhammad, a charge she denies, and was arrested and imprisoned. In November 2010, a Sheikhupura judge sentenced her to death.
The verdict, which was reached in a district court and would need to be upheld by a superior court, has received worldwide attention. Various petitions, including one that received 400,000 signatures, were organized to protest Noreen's imprisonment. She received less sympathy from her neighbors and Islamic religious leaders in the country, some of whom adamantly called for her to be executed. Christian minorities minister Shahbaz Bhatti and Pakistani government politician Salmaan Taseer were both killed for advocating on her behalf and opposing the blasphemy laws.Noreen's family has gone into hiding due to receiving death threats and has voiced concerns that she could be killed by extremists if released from prison.
ooberfuse (www.ooberfuse.com) are an electropop band from Woolwich.Their music is supported by BBC Introducing Tom Robinson, Amazing Radio's Jim Gellatly and Boy George. Guardian Music has featured the band describing them as "odd and disquieting." They have recently embarked on a 20-date UK tour, having been handpicked by BBC Radio 1's Huw Stephens in a campaign to bring back authentic live music to UK universities.
Their web-site describes them as follows : oberfuse are steered by the marvellous tracing a secure way over pathless seas. Hurried out of the common haunts of man, even to the wildest oceans and unvisited regions, they are lured from the trivial customs of daily life by the enticements of their muse. Who has taught them how to produce the harmonious melodies interlacing their compositions? Their music is ruled by a passion arising like a mountain river from noble and almost forgotten sources. The magnificent sublime conjured in their audio adventures elevate from all littleness of feeling subduing and tranquilising the superficiality of modern life.
They pioneer a new way…they explore unknown powers unfolding to the world its deepest mysteries. They impregnate despair with fresh enthusiasm restoring a lost naiveté that cannot conform to an acknowledged system. Their songs are the audio footprints, the remnants left behind of people impelled towards invisible things.