Coldplay concert should go on, a place to show solidarity for Palestine by wearing Keffiyeh - author of Palestinian Voices

17 Nov 2023 07:44pm
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With Coldplay’s debut concert in Kuala Lumpur just days away, calls for the show to be cancelled intensified with religious leaders now sparing their two cents on the matter.

As the heart-wrenching genocide in Palestine persists with no glimmer of hope for a ceasefire, Terengganu Mufti Datuk Dr Mohamad Sabri Harun said the timing of the concert is deemed insensitive, thus it should be cancelled to express sympathy for the suffering and sadness of the Palestinians.

Preparations for a world tour for big names like Coldplay typically start months ahead, if not more. On one end, there was no telling that the timing of the concert would be deeply entangled amid a humanitarian crisis.

But in the world of entertainment, the show must go on - or should it not?

Author and human rights activist Puan Sri Norma Hashim who often shines light on the stories and plight of Palestinians, said that the concert should proceed as planned.

“My point of view is that I think the concert should go on because people have paid for it.

“I don’t think you should stop the concert because you can’t expect people to feel the same way you do,” she told Sinar Daily.

In spite of calls for a cancellation, Norma pointed out a positive takeaway from having large gatherings of crowds as it is also an opportunity to show solidarity with the Palestinians.

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“People can wear their Keffiyeh or Palestinian scarf, that’s a great show of solidarity. Of course, it would also be good if Chris Martin can say some words about Palestine,” she added.

Norma, who is the author of three books on Palestinian prisoners, one of them being "The Prisoners' Diaries: Palestinian Voices from the Israeli Gulag" said people in Gaza have internet and they can see what the world is saying or doing.

“They are in a situation where food or medicine is not allowed to come in but they remain steadfast, and are still holding on.

“If there are pictures of people in solidarity of Palestine, they can see it and it will make them feel like they are not alone,” she said.

The event organisers however have reminded concertgoers to not bring or display any props that may cause discomfort to others, wanting to ensure everyone experiences a memorable time.

But Norma believes that wearing the Keffiyeh should bring no harm.

The Keffiyeh, a checkered black and white scarf is typically worn around the neck or head and marks as a symbol of Palestinian resistance. Learn more about the scarf here.

Coldplay, made up of Chris Martin, Guy Berryman, Phil Harvey, Will Champion, and Johnny Buckland will make their first stop in Malaysia as part of their Music of the Spheres World Tour.

Earlier in May, fans gushed with excitement following the news of the British band’s debut performance in Malaysia, but it quickly tampered with political intervention when a Pas political leader Nasrudin Hassan called for the concert to be cancelled, claiming it brings no benefit to race, religion or the country.

He also questioned whether the government wants to nurture a culture of hedonism and perversion in the country.

For the record, Coldplay has long expressed its support towards Palestine, often voicing out against oppression and genocide.

Back in 2011, the band posted “Freedom for Palestine” on its official Facebook page and urged fans to listen to the song, which was initiated by the non-profit organisation One World.

They also collaborated with a Palestinian band called Le Trio Joubran to produce a song called Arabesque. In fact, in 2017 the band paid a visit to Palestine to enrich their perspective and seek inspiration.

There have been no official statements from the government that the Coldplay concert was being reconsidered especially since Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim himself had extended his "Selamat Datang" (welcome) greeting to the band when Kuala Lumpur was confirmed to be a stop for the “Music of the Spheres World Tour”.

"Let us work together to protect our environment and keep the world safe, terima kasih," he said in a short clip posted on his Facebook with a brief caption, "See you in November! Coldplay”.

Sinar Daily has contacted both Communications and Digital Minister Fahmi Fadzil and his deputy Teo Nie Ching to get an update on Coldplay’s concert but the results have been futile.