Sri Lankan-born rapper M.I.A. performed at a protest tonight outside of London’s Home Office to boycott the extradition of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. The WikiLeaks founder is currently fighting off extradition to the US after being charged as guilty for failing to surrender to the court, while facing numerous US conspiracy charges related to one of the largest ever leaks of government secrets.
Once Upon a time there were men with beards…
B 4 the bearded guys there were someone else I can’t remember
Now it’s Russians
Later it could be u or me
I’m here for whatever sets truth free
Coz Jesus loves me.
C u tonight 6pm outside the home office pic.twitter.com/v1BPSomhoP
— M.I.A (@MIAuniverse) November 5, 2019
The rapper posted a couple tweets in support of Assange, which included a teaser image and video showing the figure across a glitchy computer generated background. M.I.A. and Assange are long time friends, with the rapper stating in 2017 that the world should thank Assange, and should “fast fix your system not hide him or the cracks he exposed.”
— M.I.A (@MIAuniverse) November 4, 2019
Earlier this year Assange was arrested at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he had been residing in for seven years to avoid extradition to Sweden on sexual assault charges. These charges were eventually dropped, however Assange was sentenced to 50 weeks in prison for a bail violation relating to the US charges.
M.I.A. appears at 45:20 in the video.
M.I.A. is not the only performer who has backed Assange this year, legendary musician and former member of Pink Floyd Roger Waters called for his release during a performance at a rally in London back in September. This performance also took place outside of the Home Office.
“How do we put ourselves in the position of a Julian Assange in solitary confinement, or with that kid in Syria or Palestine or Rohingya, being blown to bits by these people in this building here?” Waters explained at the rally.“It is called empathy,and it is the most valuable thing any human being can possess in their lives.”
M.I.A. has been a vocal activist since the beginning of her career, with her music and videos being shown to support refugees, women’s rights and equality. She released a video for her song “Reload,” last year.