I hosted a Christmas dinner last night at my flat, with bread sauce, hors d’oeuvres, chicken and mince pies galore. The whole evening was a tremendous success.
As at any good meeting of friends, conversation flowed vigorously and many interesting things were said. One in particular stood out. One of the guests – my friend Piggy – was telling us all of the British-Sri Lanki singer M.I.A’s video for her song Born Free. It was such an unusual concept that I looked it up later and such an impression did it makes on me that I thought I would share it. M.I.A is probably best known for her 2007 hit Paper Planes and is a woman of many talents – art, music, film direction and fashion design. A victim of the conflict in her native Sri Lanka as a child, M.I.A (real name, Mathangi “Maya” Arulpragasam) has been both lauded and criticised for her activism in defence of various minorities including Tamils, African Americans and Palestinians. This year she released her third album, Maya, from which the song Born Free is taken.
The short film which accompanied the song is an extremely violent depiction of a fascinating concept – the ‘ethnic cleansing’, as it were, of red-heads. With many similarities to Schindler’s List, the video nods in the direction of many of the greatest conflicts of the past twenty years, including a reference to Northern Ireland. Perhaps it’s a goofy allegory, the murder of people because of their ginger hair, but in my opinion the effect is hardly reduced. It’s a strong indictment of the kinds of merciless tactics used by governments against minorities around the world. Lurid, but powerful.
This video is NSFW (not suitable for work)