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History is not always written by resistance and shouting slogans by taking to the roads. History is written by making use of the heart and mind in equable ratios to inoculate common sense in a rather reckless, self-obsessed and self-absorbed society. It is of vital importance that when everybody else is silently toeing the line, there needs to be a voice of reason and balance that needs to speak up. This voice is bound to annoy those who have fragile egos, but that is an insignificant price to pay: at the end of the day, despite the outcomes, truth must be spoken simply because truth always triumphs. 

On Tuesday, the 11th of April 2017, at 16.30, Ali posted something that resonated what each human being ought to have followed without having to be told to follow such. I am posting his letter in its entirety below –

An Open Letter to Event Organisers, School and Institutions and Promoters:

To whomsoever it may concern

In advance of asking me for a performance, with this letter, I would like to address a persistent issue I have been facing at my concerts for some time. 

There is a recurring culture of special or VIP seating areas at concerts, placed right in front of the stage and assigned only to ‘special guests’, faculty members, head of departments, principals and owners of institutions. Therefore, in such an arrangement, the students, or indeed actual fans, are almost always made to stand and watch and participate at a considerable distance from the stage, well behind the VIP or special seating which creates a huge distance between me the artist, and them, my audience, who have often paid to be there. Please appreciate that as a performer, I cannot help but feel this defeats the very purpose of having artists such as myself perform for audiences where both of us are denied any direct interaction. 

Speaking specifically about school concerts and without meaning to moralise, I must mention here that it is my belief that among many others values, a school’s education is to teach equality to our children; I myself have been raised by two career educationalists, and speak from what I have been taught by example, and with the utmost respect for educational institutions and academics. Having this physical divide at concerts then goes against the very spirit of equality we should be imparting. Concerts are arranged mostly for students to be able to enjoy a form of healthy entertainment and by having them stand huge distances from the stage to allow for other more ‘special’ guests, I feel is setting a very wrong precedent. 

It is my humble request to you then not to have this VIP area in front of the stage and instead allow the real audience, the students and fans, to be front and centre. 

I hope the organisers and the institutions and the promoters reading this take this to heart in the most constructive way possible. Let the music win. 

Yours sincerely

Ali Zafar