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MIA: I speak for my people

[TamilNet, Friday, 18 June 2010 07:52 No Comment]

Calling the Jaffna born music phenom, Maya Arulpragasam (popularly known as MIA), "the most provocative pop star of her age," the British Guardian, writing about the singer’s popularity before the release of her third album "Born Free" in July, said that "she speaks out in support of Tamil citizens," and that "[h]er assertions that the Sri Lankan government is guilty of the genocide of local Tamils have not been going down well. She’s even been accused of supporting the LTTE…" Earlier this month story of her confrontation with New York Times for misrepresenting MIA’s quotes was a popular story on major news media and noted websites that cover music.

"…[I]n an age where "immigrant" is an insult rather than a description, she uses the word proudly to describe herself: a refugee who started from nothing and became internationally successful by the time she was 28," Guardian said.

"M.I.A. lived in Sri Lanka during its civil war until she was 8, an experience that greatly influences both her music and politics. It also qualifies her as a high-profile voice in support of peace in Sri Lanka," New York Daily news said in a long article covering the expected release of her album.

On being told by Sri Lanka’s Foreign Secretary she should stick to music and not politics, MIA told Huffington Post, "I’m not doing it in a Bono way, like, ‘We must save Africa.’ I just saw something [in Sri Lanka] when I was eight and they [Sri Lanka Army] didn’t kill me. I am alive to say this is what happened, and to not have that right just because I make music now is really shit. I am not coming out as a political preacher. I survived it and I’m going to tell you my account of it, just like Jewish people get to talk about the Holocaust and we embrace it."

Speaking on how she was affected by the last stages of war when Sri Lanka allegedly killed more than 40,000 civilians, MIA told the Post, "[i]n the last months of pregnancy I watched so much destruction that was happening in Sri Lanka, and saw hundreds of babies being blown up. It was disgusting and it was horrible to watch and I felt so guilty inflicting that on my unborn baby. But at the same time it was a reality. I couldn’t really ignore it, I got extra protective. People were sending me death threats and telling me bad shit about my kid…," Huffington Post said.

"On the musical front, M.I.A. has faced a slew of obstacles along the way to releasing "/\/\/\Y/\," which hits shelves on July 13. First, the video for her song "Born Free" was yanked from YouTube after its imagery was deemed too controversial (it’s back on now, but users have to register as being 18 and older to see it on the site).

"Next came a highly publicized interview gone wrong with New York Times journalist Lynn Hirschberg, which included an incident in which M.I.A. posted Hirschberg’s cell phone number on her Twitter account.

"Despite the setbacks, however, "Born Free" and a second single, "XXXO," have already received favorable reception, indicating that M.I.A. will remain very much in the spotlight in the coming months," NY Daily News said.

The title "/\/\/\Y/\" is unrecognizable to google (search) with whom she has been at war since YouTube pulled her graphic ‘Born Free.’ video, the Huffington Post said.

[Full Coverage]

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