Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Last Monday Simon Cowell was on Oprah. The theme of the show that day was talent shows... a growing, worldwide phenomenom that is showing no signs of slowing down. I watched with some interest...zzzzzz... then they mentioned how this craze has hit Afghanistan. OK... now you have my attention.
"Afghan Star" has taken that country by storm and turned it on it's side. Thirteen years ago the Taliban outlawed music. You could be put in prison just for singing. Now this television show has given a platform for that supressed talent, including women, that has had to keep silent for far too long.
When Oprah asked Simon about these shows and the effects they've brought to their home countries he said, "The great thing about it is it's democracy. They've brought a certain kind of democracy to places like China & Afghanistan."
Millions are watching ‘Afghan Star’ and voting for their favorite singers. If they don't have power they use generators to run their televisions so they don't miss an episode. For many this is their first encounter with democracy and they are revelling in it... their right to vote.... even if it's just for who is their favourite pop singer.
The next day was our Provincial Election. I took a few minutes to pop down to my local polling station, considering this, I am sorry to admit, somewhat of a nuisance. The room was virtually empty except for the volunteers. I quickly cast my vote (I had lots on my to-do list that day) and popped the ballot into the box. The older gentleman at the table gave me a smile and said "Thanks for voting" and for a split second my eyes filled with tears. How blissfully unaware I have been of a world that is starving for any type of democratic freedom and how much I take for granted my right to vote.