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Tuesday May 19 2020
Web Desk

Pandemic of hate and intolerance: Riz Ahmed on Muslims staring down the barrel

Web Desk

Pandemic of hate and intolerance: Riz Ahmed on Muslims staring down the barrel

British-Pakistani actor and rapper Riz Ahmed has for long been using his platform to raise his voice against injustices on marginalized segments of society.

Speaking about those injustices, and the violence against Muslims in particular, the 37-year-old detailed how he channels his work to project what actually happens in the world.

During an interview with The New Yorker, Ahmed’s visual approach for the short film The Long Goodbye as well as the song Mogambo, was brought into the discussion with stress on one particular lyric, “They want to kill us all,” and the probability of that kind of violence segregating fact from fiction.

“I think it’s been shown to be possible by what’s going on in India right now; what’s happened in Europe in our lifetimes; state-sponsored violence in America, Russia, Myanmar. I think there’s an extent to which this isn’t really a work of speculative fiction,” said the Venom actor.

“On the other hand, it’s also not designed to be a documentary. It’s a projection of what’s going on in my mind and in the mind of the filmmaker, Aneil Karia,” he explained further his thoughts behind the short film.

“I’d say not just Muslims but people from around the world are staring down the barrel of this rising intolerance and wondering, What’s the logical conclusion of all this rhetoric?”

“I do think that this is the other pandemic we’re facing, this intolerance and hate,” he added.

Moreover, he opened up about the right-wing in both the United States and the United Kingdom, and how his album negates their viewpoint of ‘wanting their country back' from immigrants.

“It’s interesting: at certain points in my life, I would say that I’m British Pakistani, to try and convey the complexity—not the contradiction—of my own identity. But I realized that British should be enough.”

“Not because I’m trying to negate my history, but because my ancestors helped to build Britain before they’d ever even set foot there,” he said.

“Britain was built by colonial subjects in the Global South. What could be more British than giving your blood, sweat, and tears in World War I? Or your life in the Bengal famine? What could be more of a contribution to qualify you and your ancestry as British than that?” he added.