When Aidan and I founded the Epic Metal Blog in 2020, there were three main reasons: We wanted to establish a platform where we could offer our favourite music a small stage to introduce bands close to our hearts to our readers without any commercial ulterior motive. We wanted to have the freedom to decide for ourselves which musicians would be in the spotlight, without considering the interests or preferences of others. Furthermore, from the very beginning, we wanted to be a value-based platform that openly considers itself political from day one, because art, or the freedom to be artistic, cannot be separated from elementary fundamental rights that have to be defended every day in a democracy and that other systems deny their subjects. And this is where the World Cup in Qatar enters the picture.
We are not a football blog. So why are we dealing with this issue at all? The answer to the question is simple, yet I would like to elaborate a little: Let’s say I wanted to visit a festival with a good friend and his partner. We travel halfway across the country and look forward to having a great time. At the entrance to the festival grounds, after showing my ticket, I get the obligatory wristband. But my friend and his partner are brusquely turned away: Homosexuals are not welcome because the organiser does not tolerate people with a “mental defect” at his event. I look at the two of them pityingly, shrug my shoulders and say: “That’s too bad! There’s nothing you can do about it…“ I turn around and walk towards the stage, as the first band is about to perform.
Of course I wouldn’t do it like that. If I did, I would be a huge a**hole. An organiser who rejects my friend and his partner because of their sexual orientation, because of who they are, can go f*** himself. I would of course rip the festival wristband off my arm and stand in solidarity with them. In this respect, many things would be conceivable – what is completely unthinkable, however, is to watch even one second of this homophobic festival.
And I personally expect this attitude from people with a halfway intact moral compass. There are also many musicians and fans in our scene who are not heterosexual. People who are treated like dirt by the Qatari regime and its stone-age ideology. How could one remain silent at this point, with the thought of family members, friends and acquaintances who belong to the LGBTQI+ community? How could one accept that these people are denied basic fundamental rights and their dignity? If we accept this, we are bowing to one (of many) states of injustice in this world, to which our metal scene is also a thorn in the side. How many metal bands do you know that can develop freely in countries like Qatar? I can’t think of any. That’s why we are in the same boat! Whoever attacks the LGBTQI+ community also attacks me. And those who attack me must expect my protest. Or to conclude in the words of Warrel Dane, which Aidan just brought to my attention today:
Without morals we wither
We might as well be gone
I believe in the other world
We cannot right our wrongs
Therefore: Boycott Qatar. Celebrate freedom.
André, Editor-in-Chief Epic Metal Blog