Friday, May 6, 2011

Your Friday Clash Song: When Hate and War Come Around …

“Hate and War,” performed live in the early 1980s. Originally on the both the UK and the US versions of The Clash, released in 1977 and 1979, respectively, it is a searing commentary on racism and bigotry:

Hate and war – the only things we got today

An’ if I close my eyes

They will not go away

You have to deal with it

It is the currency …

The hate of a nation

A million miles from home

An’ get war from the junkies

Who don’t like my form

I’m gonna stay in the city

Even when the house fall down

I don’t dream of a holiday

When hate and war come around

Hate and war …

This song struck me as a particularly appropriate way to end the week in which Osama bin Laden was finally killed. Whatever we may think about the operation itself, one thing seems clear to me: The September 11 attacks, which were born out of hatred and bigotry, unleashed a wave of hatred and bigotry in this country that’s still shocking to me. As I said the other day, I am glad he’s gone and I don’t judge people for their reactions to the news; but we have to move beyond the caricature-ish way we view the Arab and Muslim world and the caricature-ish way we react to them, or the cycle of hate and war will never end.

But since we’re on the subject of Osama bin Laden, September 11 and our reactions to him and to it, as much as we need to reject bigotry in all its forms we also have to make it clear that terrorism and political violence are completely unacceptable. And so, a reprise of “Tommy Gun,” a song I featured back in January, which aptly describes the terrorist’s mentality:

Tommy gun,

You’ll be dead when the war is won

Tommy gun,

But did you have to gun down every one?

I can see it’s kill

Or be killed

A national destiny

Has got to be fulfilled

Whatever you want, you’re gonna get it …

… I see all the innocents

The human sacrifice

And if death comes so cheap

Then the same goes for life!

So there you go. A Clash song for every occasion.

Turn. It. Up.

© 2011 David P. von Ebers. All rights reserved.

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