I lost sleep over the efforts of the people of Egypt becoming at once very emotional/moved at the sacrifices the middle to lower classes are making to change their lot in life (it’s emotional just putting this together). I was also moved by groups like TOR, Anonymous and the French ISP who offered free dial-up services for the Egyptian people. The beauty of the Net is that even we arm chair generals can, via TOR, create bridges that, if the censored of the world can find them, can be used to get their word out somewhat anonymously. That’s thanks, initially, to the US Navy who funded the project.
I am thinking back to the late 1960’s and early 1970’s when the American people had the piss and vinegar that those in Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen and Jordan are now displaying. And let’s not forget the French and British people who took the streets last year over proposals to cut their benefits, wages and increase working hours.
Meanwhile, here in the USA, the US Congress hesitates to extend benefits for a portion of the 20 percent of America’s population out of work and not likely to get employed gainfully for years.
And where are the American people as a trillion dollars is given to salvage banking and financial firms?
The response to it all is to think that all’s ok here in the USA when, in fact, it is not. We clearly have lunatics in the US Congress now across the board and a President who has continued and even accelerated the Reagan-Bush I-Clinton-Bush II destruction of the American Constitution and Civil Society. The USA is clearly becoming a militarized state. Even as Wikileaks and assorted Leakers provide hard evidence that American leadership is defunct the militarization continues. Fear pervades the land in the USA: fear of job/benefit loss, fear of terrorism, fear of taking a stand against the idiocy, fear of knowing the truth.
To me at least, art is a refuge and a record of history, a record that rewinds/replays constantly.
Art is music, lyrics and speech too.
Upon seeing Al Jazzera’s coverage of Egypt over the past few days, I went to my link to video of Malcolm X at Oxford in 1964:
Pulled out of the IPhone songs like Ball of Confusion by the Temptations, Foght the Power by Public Enemy, Monster by Steppenwolf. Those songs have lyrics that matter. Where are the artists now?
I think too of Thomas Jefferson who got it right:
“Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.” (source)
In the end, real change has to come from the street.