SMH. Sometimes, the news of the world sounds like sketch comedy.
The wrong ringtone can get you killed in the unpredictable and dangerous world of Afghanistan.
Thugs at Taliban checkpoints will often check the cells of travelers for hints of their allegiance.
If your ringtone is Lady Gaga, for instance, the militant group might view it as pro-American and react with hostility or even deadly violence.
As a result, many residents are forced to stock up on Taliban-friendly ringtones in case they are stopped at checkpoints.
“If they search your phone and see your videos and songs, they will think you are their sympathizer,” Haji Mohammad Khan, a Kabul grocer who often travels out of the city and into more dangerous areas, tells the Wall Street Journal. “On occasion, it can save your life.”
Ironically, the miltant group’s ringtones are not hard to find.
The Taliban have 40 singers that produce on average of one 12-song album every month, a spokesperson for the group tells the Wall Street Journal. An Afghan shopkeeper uploads Taliban songs and ringtones into customers’ phones for $2, The Journal reports. And business is good.
Taliban ringtones include the titles “Teenager,” “Doomsday” and “Suicide Bomber,” according to the WSJ. Lyrics for “Doomsday” obtained by The Journal, include “Its Judgment Day for the Satan of the West … The evening is blazing, blazing … The sound of machine guns can be heard.” For “Suicide Bomber,” the song begins like this: “Young hero, martyrdom seeker (suicide bomber), you went up into flames … You burned like a moth, young hero, martyrdom seeker … You are the Muslims’ atomic bomb.”
LOL at the Taliban’s record label being more active than No Limit in it’s prime.
Afghan travelers will often carry two SIM cards, one with their personal information and music, and one with pro-Taliban sentiments and ringtones, if they need it in a pinch.
“If you are going 30 or 60 miles outside of Kabul, you will surely find Taliban on the road,” a member of President Hamid Karzai’s government tells the WSJ. “If you have Indian music or Afghan music ringtones, they will tell you that you are not obeying Islamic rules and, in most cases, break our mobiles.”
Or worse. Travelers who are unprepared for the checkpoints have been forced to swallow SIM cards, had phones broken on their heads and been interrogated for hours, according to The Journal. And on occasion, people have been killed, Afghans believe.
Over ringtones though? They should have never gave you characters pseudo-democracy.