‘Heavy’ trouble

I would like to congratulate Wael el-Ebrashi for the series of episodes he did on Satanists on his show el-Haqiqa(The Truth) in which he hosted two such Satanists, whose only fault seems to be that they listened to heavy metal. He also invited a guest from the older generation who attacked the young men ferociously and said he knew some youth who had repented, but it was unclear if they had repented for worshiping Satan or for listening to music.

Unmistakably though, they had repented, and that is really what counts after all. They shaved their beards, trimmed their hair and even began wearing colored clothing. Satanists are always dressed in black clothing marked with mostly grotesque drawings. They also have beards, sideburns, long hair and long fingernails. On top of this, they give themselves odd names that sound rebellious and challenge existing traditions. A Satanic girl appeared on the show at the beginning, but then suddenly disappeared. Most likely her family killed her, burning her to death or soaking her in a bathtub full of acid.

In one show, there was a kid and a man close to 40, both wearing the usual clothing and behaving similarly. However, it was unclear why these two guys were Satanists. Because they listen to bad music and look hideous? Isn’t the whole story about Satanists well past us by now? There was the issue back in 1997, but the whole thing turned out to be a storm in a tea cup, when all the kids involved were found to be innocent. So what is it with this topic? Can’t they find anything else to put on television?

The esteemed guest, who was opposed to heavy metal, launched into the usual furious and disdainful polemic used for such occasions. "These kids are atheists…they listen to terrible music…which leads to sex, drugs and immoral behavior…they are agents of an international terrorist organization…financed by Israeli and Zionist cells in Cyprus…they threaten national security…" He then called on the Ministers of Information, Education and Culture to intervene to solve the issue.

He might as well have said, "These are a bunch of homosexuals who are an abnormality in society and must be isolated like patients with a deadly transmittable disease." Then he started reciting verses from the Quran, before digressing confusedly into another subject in a breathless attempt to hold these Satanists responsible for our short-sightedness, narrow-mindedness and ignorance.

These kids seemed too naive and simplistic to be taken so seriously by the irate guest. The older Satanist defended himself robustly with a gravelish, irritated tone of voice, demanding that the guest provide evidence for the accusations leveled against them, and firmly denying that they worship Satan. He said they listen to such music because it helps them express their thoughts, provides them with relief and teaches them things they did not learn from their society, such as tolerance and the rejection of discrimination. This almost-40-year-old is a runaway from a society of frenzied talkers it seems.

Although heavy metal in my opinion is ugly music, it tends to be more soothing to them than anything else they hear in society.

The younger Satanist defended himself naively, perhaps because he was stupefied by the gravity of the accusations made against him. Occasionally he broke into tears and then all of a sudden started listening to music from his iPod, as if to say, "Why don’t you leave us alone? Are you searching for someone to blame for your failures? Either help us or leave us alone."

Former heavy metal followers who allegedly repented said they were threatened by their families and were scared that one day they would be stopped in the street and killed for no reason. Isn’t that just another one of our failures?

Such music is simply a temporary hobby for kids during their formative years. It is said that 10 percent of Egypt’s youth listen to heavy metal.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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