Sunday, 31 May 2009

Time to go home

Video for anti-war song by Michael Franti:

Songs which are overtly political are not always - how can I put this politely? - creatively successful. This song is different: catchy, strong rhythm, evocative lyrics. The song's message is utterly unambiguous - bring the troops home from America's foreign wars and occupations - without it feeling like you're being hit over the head with propaganda. The atmospheric video, with some vivid and unforgettable images, packs a punch too. I believe this was put out a couple of years back, but I've just discovered it through the Stop the War site - with the troops still not home despite the election of President Obama, it feels more resonant than ever.

Over several years there's been a strong tradition of artists in various fields - music, film, theatre, visual arts etc - expressing and exploring issues arising from the 'war on terror' in their work. A great many have sought to expose the truth of war and express the disgust and anger millions of us feel, with an impressive range of writers, musicians, actors and others finding ways to directly support the anti-war movement, e.g. benefit events, performing at rallies.

It's important that the tradition is maintained. Seeing this video now also, indirectly, raises the question of whether we can hope to see a renewal of the US anti-war movement in the age of Obama. It's clear the movement is as necessary as before - hopefully American activists, many of whom campaigned for Obama, will recognise this. It's certainly not enough to sit back and hope Obama delivers.

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