Nurul Izzah is Inviting Radiohead to Malaysia.. BUT Will They Come?

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(Source: Najjua Zulkefli/ The Malaysian Insight)

If you thought Nurul Izzah’s ‘Radiohead promise’ was just for show, well, you’re wrong.. kinda.

The Permatang Pauh MP made a promise to bring Radiohead to Malaysia for a concert back in an interview in 2013. If you missed that, here’s a quick recap of the incident:

After GE14, Radiohead fans tweeted that her promise should be fulfilled inserting the hashtag – #PostRamadanDiscussion – and it’s about time for an update from Nurul. She told reporters at the World Conference on Islamic Thinking and Civilisation organised by Universiti Sultan Azlan Shah yesterday:

“I’m writing an open letter and it is now in the final process to expose to them the importance of being sensitive to issues about the Palestinian struggle. Secondly, it is hoped that they will agree with my proposal to hold a concert, which will be for charity.”

(Source: Enmore Audio)

The British band formed in 1985 are not only known for their hits but also their political views which is why Nurul Izzah wants to address the significance of being sensitive to the plight of the Palestinians.

Radiohead have been criticised for frontman Thom Yorke’s actions onstage whilst performing at Glasgow last year. The singer’s gesture of flipping his middle finger to fans waving Palestinian flags has been the centre of controversy which was already stirred by their decision to play in Tel Aviv, Israel despite protest from fans and activists. For my colleague’s view on the band’s controversial stand on the Palestinian situation, here’s an opinion piece he wrote.

I, however, believe it is their right to perform anywhere they please. We sure as hell know that whatever our leaders do (or should I say, former-leaders did), does not represent the people as a whole. I think Yorke said it best himself, “Playing in a country isn’t the same as endorsing its government… We’ve played in Israel for over 20 years through a succession of governments, some more liberal than others. As we have in America. We don’t endorse [Israeli Prime Minister] Netanyahu any more than Trump, but we still play in America. Music, art and academia is about crossing borders not building them, about open minds not closed ones, about shared humanity, dialogue and freedom of expression.”

Nurul Izzah has played this one well. On one hand, if she blindly brings them in, pro-Palestine supporters and activists will not be happy. On the other hand, if she got Radiohead to understand the situation, and play a benefit concert for Palestine–which would not contradict, rather enforce Yorke’s statement “about crossing borders”–then everyone wins in the end.

Hopefully, they won’t decline the invitation.