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Future Connector: Peter Gabriel and Salman Ahmad

November 14th, 2010
02:28 PM ET

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/11/16/story.peterg.jpg caption="Peter Gabriel"]

British rock legend Peter Gabriel is teaming up with one of Pakistan's biggest musical stars in a bid to raise money and awareness in the aftermath of the deadly floods which struck Pakistan three months ago.

Salman Ahmad, who is the founder of South Asian music group "Junoon" has worked with Gabriel on his hit song "Open your Eyes," to raise money for the cause.

The collaboration has Gabriel singing vocals over a musical score by Ahmad.

"This is a huge tragedy and maybe because of the worst association [with] terrorism with Pakistan there's been a pathetic response," Gabriel said in an interview with CBC Radio Q.

"These are people suffering in extraordinary ways and I think we've failed terribly."

"This is Salman's song and I contributed to the English version. You put your own soul into it and hope it touches people," he added.

Click here to watch the music video for "Open your Eyes."

In the past, Gabriel has lent his musical abilities to a number of other important charitable causes including "Feed the World."

Here's your chance to quiz Gabriel on this important cause.

Do you want to know what he hopes to accomplish? Why did he choose to work with Ahmad on this cause? Maybe you want to know how he thinks musicians can contribute to important humanitarian issues?

soundoff (23 Responses)
  1. Billy

    any chances of a Genesis reunion?

    November 14, 2010 at 3:17 pm | Reply
  2. Manuel Yanez

    In your life, what has been the biggest catayst for change

    November 14, 2010 at 3:42 pm | Reply
  3. Jurgen R. Brul

    Hello Peter Brian Gabriel and CNN friends,

    I would like an answer from Peter Brian Gabriel on the following questions:

    – How will your work Improve Unity, Discipline and Faith in order to Help Pakistan to recovery from the deadly floods?

    – What can we expect from you in 2011?

    I am awaiting Peter Brian Gabriel’s replies.

    Jurgen R. Brul
    Hometown: Paramaribo
    Country: Suriname

    November 14, 2010 at 5:04 pm | Reply
  4. Tracy Robinson

    Are you disappointed that many other famous musicians and celebrities choose to use their celebrity status to only further themselves instead of helping others?

    November 14, 2010 at 5:22 pm | Reply
  5. CK

    Do you think more awareness could be mustered if a Concert For Bangladesh style show could be put together? It would certainly be wonderful to see that.

    November 14, 2010 at 5:23 pm | Reply
  6. Rena Sherwood, from Philly area

    The goal of human rights is to reduce overall suffering. Places like Darfur, Haiti and now Pakistan suffer terribly from both natural and man-made disasters. For example, there are no job opportunities, fresh water and corrupt governments in both Haiti and Sudan. After the food aid runs out, the people go back to suffering. Wouldn't it be kinder to offer abortion and/or euthenasia services as well as food aid and tents to only those that want it in order reduce suffering overall in these areas? Thank you for your time and consideration.

    November 14, 2010 at 6:44 pm | Reply
  7. Bill D.

    What are your thoughts on the challenges of marketing charity singles, and gaining the public's attention? Do you find that after decades of similar projects from a variety of artists that there is something akin to "charity single fatigue" in popular mindset? That people see the words "cause", "tragedy" and "raise money" and tune out without even giving the work a fair listen?

    November 14, 2010 at 7:12 pm | Reply
  8. EJ

    Your song, "Don't give up" kept me going when I was very depressed as a teenager. Things in my life are much better now and I always wanted to thank you for keeping my spirits up and reminding me that there were people, "proud of who I was."

    It seems this song is even more relevant today since there has been an alarming rash of teen suicides in the United States. Although your current project is working with the floods in Pakistan, it seems that you have always addressed social issues in your music.

    What draws you to the specific causes that you support? What personal experiences have you had that have led you to having a philanthropic outlook on life?

    Thank you again. You helped save my life.

    (Anonymously EJ) from Atlanta, GA

    November 14, 2010 at 7:40 pm | Reply
  9. Graeme Woller

    There seems to be so much hate within humanity for those that are different, culturally, physically and religiously. Sometimes it feel like aid is offered because we feel sorry for those who are less than us, without realising that everyone on the planet has something unique to offer. How can we each help to change that, and therefore help our brother & sisters, rather than seeing it like a chore of helping a sick dog.

    Thanks for the insight, Peter.

    November 14, 2010 at 10:24 pm | Reply
  10. Dale Goldstein

    I understand through a friend who was present at the meeting on Richard Branson's island that you were most instrumental in the formation of the Council of Elders. Can you say why we don't ever hear about their efforts in the news?

    November 14, 2010 at 10:55 pm | Reply
  11. Chim Bon

    What is happening in Pakistan is truly a tragedy, but it is also true that for much too many, Pakistan is synonymous of Muslim religion, Taliban, terrorism and hate towards "western countries and its culture". In part, those beliefs are true.
    Taliban have urged Pakistan's government not to accept Western Aid saying the help is part of a "western agenda". And unfortunately it is no secret that those who accept help, whether it be the government or Pakistani people, may suffer retaliative punishment from the Taliban for accepting western help.
    My question to Peter Gabriel would be then, why don't create consciousness about this immense tragedy but also address the issue of "Talibanism" and Islamic extremism as part of this countries tragedy?
    People all over the world don't feel the urge to help because they sense help is not wanted although greatly needed.
    This tragedy should transcend all political and religious issues but its not easy to be humanitarian towards a country that, in part, believes what is essential to be humanitarian, that is, life, should not exist where religious and political differences exist, that is "western countries and civilization".
    Also, what does Peter Gabriel think about Iran's treatment of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani?

    November 15, 2010 at 12:15 am | Reply
  12. Chim Bon

    I forgot to include the country I'm writing from, it is Venezuela...

    November 15, 2010 at 12:21 am | Reply
  13. Landry Butler

    Dear Mr. Gabriel

    I appreciate not only your work, but also the way you have introduced me to so many other great artists through it. I can't thank you enough.

    As one of your many fans, please consider this open invitation to allow me to buy you a beer (or beverage of your choice) at a time and place that is mutually agreeable to us both. At this meeting, perhaps you can answer the question that is currently on my mind: what is your favorite color?

    I appreciate your consideration in this matter and I invite you to contact me at your convenience for further discussion. Please keep in mind however, that this offer is void where prohibited and may be withdrawn at any time. This offer is limited to one drink with the option to renew for a second drink. No warranty is expressed or implied. Please, no flash photography.

    Your truly

    November 15, 2010 at 2:45 am | Reply
  14. brent sheather

    i have always loved "the lamb lies down on broadway" which i listened toas a highschool student in the mid 70s,funnily enough i can still remember some of the lyrics !

    November 15, 2010 at 3:01 am | Reply
  15. Alex

    How did Jerry Lewis last all those years to support MDA? Passion is passion and rust is rust....

    November 15, 2010 at 5:30 am | Reply
  16. Con Knudtson

    Are there any new construction plans designed to wthstand typhoon damage? Or is the next "Big One" going to, again, wipe out everything that Pakistan rebuilds now?

    November 15, 2010 at 5:32 am | Reply
  17. Duane

    Peter, I first saw you perform at the Odean, Newcastle in 76 and have admired your support for good causes for many years. Well done. How about visiting New Plymouth, New Zealand for Womad next year? We'd love to see you.

    November 15, 2010 at 8:22 am | Reply
  18. John

    No real question... Pete Gabriel is a legend!

    November 15, 2010 at 10:18 am | Reply
  19. Majid Nashtai

    Dear Mr Gabriel,
    What are your thoughts on the release of one of the Elder´s honourary members, Aung San Suu Kyi? How soon will you be meeting her?

    November 15, 2010 at 11:41 pm | Reply
  20. Diana Marie

    Mr. Gabriel, do you believe that the pathetic response to the aftermath of the flood in Pakistan is underlying a more complex issue?

    I personally believe people are not intent on helping the Pakistanis for the sole reason being their religion. Before we treat Pakistanis as victims, don't you think we should try treating them as equals? Especially in my country of America should we adopt this point of view. If America was founded on the belief that one should be free to practice any religion one feels compelled to, why is it such a matter of animosity that we should not help Pakistanis due to their choice of religion? It is this hypocrisy we must stamp out before we could hope for any change. As many western countries such as the U.S. start becoming more secular in their interests, don't you think we need a resurgence of people such as yourself offering the west a glimpse into the world by utilizing a most powerful medium; music? It seems in previous decades people were more receptive to the plight of other cultures when exposed to the power of music, if only because music reminds us of what it means to be human. Is this what you are trying to accomplish working with Ahmad on this cause? Because in times of financial crisis in most countries, I believe we have to speak to the hearts of people before we can expect anyone to help Pakistan financially. I believe you are different from other humanitarians and artists in the following way; you are trying to change our perspective
    through the realization that there is no "them," but that "they" are indeed one of "us.'
    Any insight of yours on this particular view would be truly appreciated.

    November 16, 2010 at 1:12 am | Reply
  21. Kelly

    I'm with Billy. I'd love to know if there will be a Genesis reunion in the future including Phil Collins, Tony Banks, and Mike Rutherford.

    November 18, 2010 at 1:31 am | Reply
  22. *James Bennett

    How do you feel about helping a country that is about to hang a woman for blasphemy.

    November 18, 2010 at 7:41 pm | Reply
  23. Dana

    They are about to hang a woman, mother of two children one which is disabled, for blasphemy. Until they stop treating anyone who disagrees with them like pigs, they will not get a dime from me and neither will anyone who supports them!

    November 19, 2010 at 1:25 am | Reply

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