June 25, 2009 Comments Off on CNN interview censored because MIA uses the G-word
Los Angeles Times – Turn it Up
Maya Arulpragasam is an anomaly in many ways. As M.I.A., she has had a lightning-fast rise. From her early singles “Galang” and “Sunshowers,” which spread virally through the Web in 2004, to her 2005 debut album, Arular (named after her father), and 2007’s Kala (named after her mom), she has garnered nothing but critical acclaim.
Politically, she’s a tireless advocate of the Tamil people, who’ve suffered in the recent civil war in Sri Lanka between the majority Sinhalese and the Tamil Tigers (the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, also known as the LTTE). Life has certainly changed from her early days living in London public housing to her recent engagement to fellow musician and Seagram heir Ben Brewer (né Bronfman, son of former Seagram CEO Edgar Bronfman).
Nic Harcourt: You’re from Sri Lanka—let’s talk about what’s going on there now. As you know, the majority Sinhalese in the Sri Lankan government recently defeated the Tamil Tigers. You’re an ethnic Tamil yourself. How do you feel about what happened?
M.I.A.: It’s really difficult for me to talk about Sri Lanka. One hundred thousand people have died, and there are, like, hundreds of children who’ve been killed by intense shelling in a no-war-zone area, you know? And it’s done by the Sri Lankan government, yet it doesn’t seep into people’s brains, because everyone’s fighting under the blanket of terrorism, and that kind of makes it okay for the government to kill 100 babies in a day and for us not to say, “That s–t is wrong.”
NH: Has the world turned a blind eye to innocent civilians being killed in the name of the war on terror?
M.I.A.: All over world, that is what’s happening. As soon as you say you’re fighting a terrorist, you can kill anyone you want without anyone asking any questions.
NH: Will it change anytime soon?
M.I.A.: Eventually, it’s going to break. I think we’re getting to the end of it. They can say they’ve wiped out the Tamil Tigers, but I think if you’ve killed a certain number of civilians and you’ve called the United Nations and every humanitarian agency liars, it’s going to catch up with you.
NH: Did you defend the Tamil Tigers in any way?
M.I.A.: I don’t give a s–t what they’ve done to the Tigers—they just shouldn’t kill little kids.
NH: Your father, Arul Pragasam, was a founding member of EROS [Eelam Revolutionary Organization of Students], which supported the Tamil independence movement. Do you often feel persecuted because of your dad’s association?
M.I.A.: No, if I didn’t have my music, I wouldn’t be heard, just like the other millions of Tamils who aren’t heard. It’s just weird that I happen to have that association to my dad, who I didn’t grow up with— and that’s been a s–t thing for me.
April 9, 2009 Comments Off on M.I.A. Clashes With Sri Lankan Government Over Aid Mission
M.I.A. named her first album after her father, a controversial figure in Sri Lankan politics, and she’s long used revolutionary slogans and imagery in her music and presentation. Her politics have generated headlines before. In recent months, M.I.A.’s statements about Sri Lanka’s ongoing civil war have ruffled feathers once again.
In late March, M.I.A. apparently lent her support to the Mercy Mission to Vanni, a British campaign to send supplies to civilians trapped in the fighting between the Tamil Tigers, who seek independence from the country at large, and the Sri Lankan Army. Now, a representative for the Sri Lankan Navy has made statements to a Sri Lankan newspaper about how these supplies may in fact be intended for the Tigers themselves and how the country’s Navy will fire on any unauthorized vessel entering the country’s waters. (Via The Quietus.) The Sri Lankan Army has also posted the article about the controversy on its own website.
April 2, 2009 Comments Off on SL shows opposition to ship taking aid to Tamils
The Guardian: Sri Lanka says British aid destined for Tamil civilians could be cover for weapons
Celebrities and politicians gather in London to publicise humanitarian voyage
Campaigners who have collected 400 tonnes of food and medical aid for the 150,000 Tamil civilians trapped by the fighting between the Sri Lankan army and the Tamil Tigers have reacted angrily to claims from Colombo that the aid mission could be a cover for supplying weapons to the rebels.
Click here to read previous post: SL Navy threatens to shoot UK aid ship
Click here to visit official Vananga Man website.
February 23, 2009 Comments Off on Tavis Smiley – My Conversations with M.I.A. and the Sri Lankan Foreign Secretary
Three weeks ago, I spoke with Oscar and Grammy nominated hip hop artist, M.I.A. about the on-going situation in Sri Lanka. M.I.A. spent much of her youth there as a member of Sri Lanka’s minority Tamil population, which she says is the victim of “systematic genocide.”
Today, I spoke with Sri Lanka’s Foreign Secretary, Dr. Palitha Kohona, who took exception to M.I.A.’s remarks.
Full Video – Part 1
Full Video – Part 2
Tavis Interviews Associated Press Sri Lanka Bureau Chief, Ravi Nessman
Original interview of M.I.A. on Tavis Smiley show
February 12, 2009 Comments Off on Guardian : Rapper who wowed Grammys is labelled cheerleader for 'terrorists'
For her fans, MIA, or Mathangi Maya Arulpragasam, is rap’s belle de jour who performed with hip-hop’s hottest acts at the Grammys when she was nine months pregnant. Sheathed in a black net dress, MIA stepped out – bump first – to the strains of her single Paper Planes, from the movie Slumdog Millionaire, which segued into Jay-Z’s Swagga Like Us.
But for some, especially from her native Sri Lanka, she is a cheerleader for “terrorists” – separatist Tamil Tiger guerrillas – in the civil war. As the “only Tamil in the western media” MIA says she has a responsibility to speak out.
February 1, 2009 § 3 Comments
Maya Arulpragasam, in the PBS interview on Tavis Smiley show Thursday told the U.S. listeners and fans worldwide that “there’s been a systematic genocide which has quiet thing because no one knows where Sri Lanka is. And now it’s just escalated to the point there’s 350,000 people who are stuck in a battle zone and can’t get out, and aid’s banned and humanitarian organizations are banned, journalists are banned from telling the story.”
February 1, 2009 § 1 Comment
Sri Lankan sensation M.I.A. has been nominated for both a Grammy and an Oscar this year, but she would rather talk about being labeled a terrorist in her own country. She sat down with The Daily Beast’s Toure to talk about her hit single, “Paper Planes,” why Kanye West might induce her into labor at the Grammy Awards, and how she “isn’t trying to be like Bono.”
M.I.A. needs you to know that right now in Sri Lanka there’s a genocide going on, and 350,000 people’s lives hang in the balance. These days, not much else matters to her. The musician has been nominated for a Grammy for her explosive single “Paper Planes,” and an Oscar for the Slumdog Millionaire soundtrack, but she has bigger concerns than statues and sales.