MIA Tackles Refugee Crisis in Poignant “Borders” Video

28 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

M.I.A’s New Single ‘Borders’ Is A Rallying Cry On Behalf Of Refugees Around The World.

The fate of Syrian refugees has become a hot button issue both in the United States and abroad, and M.I.A. examines the challenges these refugees face both in their travels and once they reach their destination in her politically charged, beautifully photographed new video for “Borders.” In the video, directed by M.I.A., the artist hops aboard refugee-filled boats and climbs barbed wire fences with the migrants to highlight the strife they encounter as they attempt to flee tyranny. “Borders” will feature on M.I.A.’s upcoming LP Matahdatah.M.I.A. has premiered her latest self-directed music video for the single “Borders” on Apple Music, and like most of the work by the British artist of Sri Lankan descent, it seeks to make a political statement. A compelling cry for compassion for refugees around the world, it comes a fortnight after the heartbreaking attack that saw Islamic State (ISIS) terrorists kill 130 people in Paris, a tragedy that has, understandably, prompted France to call for the suspension of open borders within Europe. In a Twitter statement, M.I.A. expressed why the plight of the refugees is a personal topic for her. “I want to dedicate this video to my uncle Bala, my icon and role model,” she wrote. “One of the first Tamil migrants to come to the U.K. in the 60s who went to inspire so many people as a creative, daring man with so much swag that everything I do doesn’t even touch his sides.

Refugees run in lines, climb fences and ride on boats in the background as the she sings, “What’s up with that?” about politics, identities, police shots and privilege. Filmed in Chennai, the video is the second part of her multipart series Matahdatah, which will eventually be a full-length album and film. “Both are part of a truly global and characteristically DIY M.I.A. project,” her label said in a release. Everything I became was to say thank you to you!” M.I.A. previously said of her upcoming album, “The concept for this LP is ‘broader then a border’ and Matahdatah is the journal of Matangi. The second single from M.IA.’s – aka Mathangi Arulpragasam – forthcoming fifth album Matahdatah, sees her ask, “Borders/What’s up with that?” and “Broke people/What’s up with that/Boat people/What’s up with that?”, set to swirling Eastern synths and trap-influenced snare drums. Sometimes I move vertical and sometimes I move horizontal.” 2015 may not bring everything that Back to the Future II promised it would: flying cars, self-lacing shoes, we don’t see ’em happening over the next 12 months. (Then again, don’t bet against Nike.) But this year will definitely pack plenty of punch when it comes to cultural happenings.

Other scenes show individuals scaling massive fences topped with barbed wire, a reference to the series of securitised border fences erected by number of countries to keep out refugees. It’s every bit as immediate and insistent as her Clash-sampling 2007 breakthrough hit ‘Paper Planes’, with the hypnotic, dreamlike quality of ‘Bad Girls’, the best track from her 2011 mixtape Vicki Leekz. Mad Max will roar back out of the apocalypse while Mad Men rides off into the sunset, rock’s Antichrist Superstar and hip-hop’s Yeezus will rise again. The track, which sonically fuses eastern and western styles, questions the fabric of modern society – politics, identities, privilege, “being bae”, “breaking the internet” and smartphones – before reducing the world down to its essentials: your values, your beliefs, your families, your power.

Increasingly, you can’t properly discuss M.I.A’s singles without talking about their accompanying videos. ‘Bad Girls’, a song about female empowerment, was complemented by the sight of her drifting, a Saudi pastime in which cars are driven on their side; while 2010’s ‘Born Free’ addressed the arbitrariness of ethnic cleansing by depicting redheads being rounded up and shot. But Texas Republicans are still pursuing a highly public campaign against the group, with the state attempting to boot Planned Parenthood from the federal Medicaid program. Meanwhile, in the GOP presidential primary, candidates are attempting to out-extreme each other on their stances against abortion, leaning heavily on the aforementioned videos as evidence that nefariousness is afoot not just at Planned Parenthood, but at any abortion provider’s office. Here, she talks about why she decided to specialize in abortions, the maddening trend of dismissing abortion providers’ medical expertise as political bias, and what the upcoming presidential election could mean for abortion rights. I’d always been politically conscious, though, so I worked with some fellow University of Kentucky students to start a chapter of Medical Students for Choice (MSFC).

With the providers at the time aging and retiring, I realized, there would be people who would need abortions and not be able to have them, unless I stepped up. Given that abortion is such an incredibly common and safe medical experience — 1 in 3 people who can get pregnant will have at least one — it’s amazing and appalling how marginalized it is in most areas. I was practicing family medicine in the Chicago area when I heard from a woman who was looking to connect clinics with trained providers who were willing to travel.

So once the national anti-abortion domestic terrorist organizations found out who I was, I was bombarded with calls to my office, nasty comments and veiled threats online (“I wonder if someone will shoot the new provider…”). Every day I go to work, I can make it possible for someone to leave an abusive relationship, care for their children, continue their education, deal with an illness. Thanks to abortion stigma and violence, we now live in a country where there’s not only a shortage of doctors who have the necessary training, but a mismatch between where trained providers live and where services are most needed. Given how much abortion stigma has mounted since then, and how much more difficult it is now to learn something mid-career, you don’t become an abortion provider unless you decide before you finish med school that you’re going to do it.

Then I have to worry that they might start picketing my haircut appointments, or calling the salon and threatening to boycott or protest them if they continue seeing me, or even that at my next appointment there could be someone waiting outside with a gun. Yet somehow the media continues to treat anti-abortion lawmakers, lobbyists and activists as authorities on the subject of abortion and fetal tissue donation. Somehow, anti-abortion activists have succeeded in convincing the general public that abortion providers are not to be regarded as experts on abortion.

It’s infuriating that my judgment is considered irrelevant by politicians and activists who know absolutely nothing about the provision of abortion care. We should be regarding anti-choicers’ perspective on abortion safety as the suspect one, since they find all abortion care unacceptable regardless of its safety. Planned Parenthood critics and anti-abortion lawmakers have claimed that the organization is coercing people into abortions and has coerced them into donating fetal tissue in order to generate profit. (The group announced in October it would no longer accept reimbursement for fetal tissue donations.) Is there any universe in which a conspiracy of this size would be plausible? We guide them through their options, and a patient who seems genuinely undecided is encouraged to reschedule, or simply referred for prenatal care if they are clear on not wanting an abortion.

Given the huge number of medical professionals who have worked through Planned Parenthood, and the huge number of patients they care for, it is beyond belief to suggest that a broad pattern of coercion would go unchallenged and undocumented. He received separate bills from the pathology laboratory, for handling his tissue specimen, and from the pathologist for examining the prepared specimen, each totaling several hundred dollars. As a physician, there are numerous practice areas I could choose that would pay me better and let me avoid dealing with a constant onslaught of harassment and stigma. Texas consistently has many more deaths from childbirth than from abortion each year — far more than can be attributed simply to the greater number of births.

If Planned Parenthood is forbidden to receive Medicaid reimbursement, then the rest of us who provide abortion care can also expect to lose our Medicaid practices. But when they themselves have a pregnancy they can’t continue, they’re distraught about all the things they might have said were reasonable before: forced ultrasound viewing, demeaning waiting periods, biased or false “information,” unconstitutional gestational limits, expensive and irrelevant facility upgrades. Texas is often seen as a “test case” for whether extreme abortion restrictions can pass constitutional muster, so we’re keeping a close eye on what the Supreme Court does next summer.

We’ll see more bans on specific reasons people have abortions, for reasons of any fetal diagnosis, for rape or incest, for health conditions that are deemed too “trivial” to be an abortion indication. We’ve seen bans on intact D&E and now on all D&E [a common abortion procedure –what anti-abortion lawmakers inaccurately refer to as “partial-birth” abortion] so next we’ll see bans on fetocidal injection, then on labor induction, so that there is no remaining legal technique for second-trimester abortion. Cole, then every hostile state will implement the most stringent requirements allowed by the decision, then pass more laws targeting the few clinics that survive. That’s why, as admirable as it is that a few clinics are planning to build ambulatory surgical centers in case these laws are upheld, I think it’s ultimately fruitless.

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