Stop the Music?

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

In the midst of all of the VH1 Save the Music-esque funds floating around, one wouldn’t expect to find a group of artists actually petitioning to have the music stop. Zero dB is doing exactly that, by calling for the questionable practice of torturing prisoners of war in Guantanamo Bay, Iraq, and Afghanistan with American popular music to end immediately.

In the midst of all of the VH1 Save the Music-esque funds floating around, one wouldn’t expect to find a group of artists actually petitioning to have the music stop. Zero dB is doing exactly that, by calling for the questionable practice of torturing prisoners of war in Guantanamo Bay, Iraq, and Afghanistan with American popular music to end immediately.

The list of household names used to “traumatize and destabilize” prisoners includes Britney Spears, Metallica, David Gray, and theme songs from children’s shows Barney and Sesame Street. According to the Guardian, music is allegedly “blasted” in time intervals ranging from half an hour to an entire day.

Zero dB is working with human rights non-profit Reprieve in hopes of putting a stop to the method. “In the long-term, we hope raising awareness of this issue will pressurize the United Nations and the British government to uphold the treaties that ban the use of torture,” said Reprieve’s press officer Alex Grace. “But we also hope that the campaign will attract the attention of high-profile musicians who are willing to speak out against this incredibly horrible form of no-touch psychological torture.”

Opponents of the campaign cite the practice’s lack of physical torture. Reports from prisoners, however, claim that the effects of “music torture” can be just as detrimental as those of physical violence. Former Guantanamo prisoner Ruhal Ahmed hopes to see the music removed.

“From the end of 2003, they introduced the music and it became even worse,” he explained. “Before that, you could try and focus on something else. It makes you feel like you’re going mad, it’s very scary. After a while you don’t hear the lyrics, you only hear heavy banging.”

Always vocal politically, rockers Rage Against the Machine have already pledged their support for Zero dB.


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