‘Oppression Not An Internal Matter’: Artistes on Rihanna Tweet Row

“If you’re concerned about India’s reputation, demand civil liberties for citizens,” artistes tell celebrities

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Video Editor: Puneet Bhatia

What started with pop-star Rihanna’s tweet asking the world, ‘Why aren’t we talking about this?!’, soon became a global Twitter outpouring with climate change activist Greta Thunberg, Meena Harris, Mia Khalia, Amanda Cerny lending support and their voice to farmers’ protest.

But these tweets didn’t go down well with many people including the Ministry of External Affairs. While many trolls left sexist, racist and abusive remarks in the guise of ‘India’s internal matter’, MEA issued an official statement saying, ‘it is unfortunate to see vested interest groups trying to enforce their agenda on these protests, and derail them.’

Soon after, many Indian celebrities including sports stars and Bollywood actors jumped into the fray, and the hashtag #IndiaAgainstPropaganda started trending.

But how did the people, who have been associated in some way with the farmers’ protest react to this Twitter war? The Quint spoke to a few Indian artistes and this is what they had to say about Rihanna’s tweet and everything that followed after.

‘Human Rights violations are never an internal matter...’

It’s surreal that our MEA issued such a statement just because one woman decided to throw some light on one of it’s favourite pass-time which is internet shutdown.
Iqra K, Poet

Addressing Indian celebrities, Iqra says, ‘if they are concerned about India’s reputation being damaged, perhaps you would like to do your civil duties by holding your government accountable and demand basic civil liberties for fellow citizens.’

Amy Gill, a lyricist who has been protesting at Singhu Border from past 2 months uses social media to express his emotions via poems, photos, videos from the protest site. Since the internet is shut, he says that they can no longer see what the media is showing about the protests.

Bollywood isn’t supporting us, and if someone else is, they are also stopped. They are against the people supporting us calling them ‘fools’ for doing so. And the people who are supporting us, like some reporters, the police are picking them up. Efforts are being made to curb the protest.
Amy Gill, Lyricist

'It's An Artists' Responsibility To Speak For The Oppressed'

Poet, Aseem Sundan questions Indian celebrities who spoke about ‘Black Lives Matter’ after Goerge Floyd’s death, ‘why aren’t they speaking about something happening in their own country, why so much hypocrisy?

‘‘I somehow feel where Rihanna, Amanda and likes are coming from. And not just them, for any human being. It’s not so much about farm laws, they didn’t even comment on that, it’s about using your platform to speak for the oppressed.’’
Aseem Sundan, Poet

‘The world is watching, that’s why Rihanna’s tweet symbolises...’

Poojan Sahil is a singer-writer who also writes about social issues. He has just one request for the artistes and celebs.

They know how much their words matter, how much people listen to them. This should be a wake up call for all that people internationally are speaking about our issues.
Poojan Sahil, Singer

(The Quint is available on Telegram. For handpicked stories every day, subscribe to us on Telegram)

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