Bob Dylan – Only a Pawn in Their Game – Lyrics about the cowardly murder of the civil rights leader Medgar Evans.

Bob Dylan – Only a Pawn in Their Game – Lyrics about the cowardly murder of the civil rights leader Medgar Evans.

 

Medgar Evans

Medgar Evans was shot in the back by a cowardly gunman who hid in the bushes. He was killed in front of his wife and children.

The aim of the murder was to strike terror into the community so that they would not rise up and seek their rights.

The aim of Islamic extremists is to impose their distorted view of religion on other people. They want to stifle free speech and the rights of the individual. They use hate, extreme violence and terror to get their way.

Like the Klu Klux Klan they will be defeated.

As Dylan pointed out the terrorists who are blowing themselves up or attacking innocent people have been duped. The people organising the killings are well away out of danger.

The perpetrators are pawns in the game.

The only way to deal with fascism is through education.

“Only A Pawn In Their Game”

A bullet from the back of a bush took Medgar Evers’ blood
A finger fired the trigger to his name
A handle hid out in the dark
A hand set the spark
Two eyes took the aim
Behind a man’s brain
But he can’t be blamed
He’s only a pawn in their game.A South politician preaches to the poor white man
“You got more than blacks, don’t complain
You’re better than them, you been born with white skin” they explain
And the Negro’s name
Is used it is plain
For the politician’s gain
As he rises to fame
And the poor white remains
On the caboose of the train
But it ain’t him to blame
He’s only a pawn in their game.The deputy sheriffs, the soldiers, the governors get paid
And the marshals and cops get the same
But the poor white man’s used in the hands of them all like a tool
He’s taught in his school
From the start by the rule
That the laws are with him
To protect his white skin
To keep up his hate
So he never thinks straight
‘Bout the shape that he’s in
But it ain’t him to blame
He’s only a pawn in their game.From the powerty shacks, he looks from the cracks to the tracks
And the hoof beats pound in his brain
And he’s taught how to walk in a pack
Shoot in the back
With his fist in a clinch
To hang and to lynch
To hide ‘neath the hood
To kill with no pain
Like a dog on a chain
He ain’t got no name
But it ain’t him to blame
He’s only a pawn in their game.

Today, Medgar Evers was buried from the bullet he caught
They lowered him down as a king
But when the shadowy sun sets on the one
That fired the gun
He’ll see by his grave
On the stone that remains
Carved next to his name
His epitaph plain:
Only a pawn in their game.

Democracy – The long and often bloody fight for freedom – The Abolition of Slavery in Britain.

Democracy – The long and often bloody fight for freedom – The Abolition of Slavery in Britain.

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Slavery has been part of many cultures and still is. There are even slaves being used in Britain and America right now. Girls are being trafficked in the sex trade and threatened and cajoled. Domestic slaves are being brought in from the Third World. Slaves are being used in the Drug trade and in business.

It is not over yet.

In Britain the main use of slaves was to service the plantations in the British colonies during our years as an Empire. They worked on cotton plantations, in sugar fields, coffee and tea plantations and in mines – wherever labour was required. They created wealth and made vast fortunes for their owners.

Those slaves were purchased from Africa. But it was not just the wealthy British land-owners who had their hands dirty. Many of these slaves were the result of rivalry between Africa communities and tribes. They were captured and enslaved by other African tribes, sold to Arab slave traders and sold on to Europeans.

The Africans and Arabs had their fingers on the slave loot.

I live near Hull where we are proud of the efforts of William Wilberforce. He worked ceaselessly to have slavery abolished and the abolitionists, working on the principle that all humans were equal in the eyes of God, created such a stir that they caused a public outcry. The British people, with their feelings of social justice, rose up against the idea of slavery.

The poet William Cowper wrote in 1787 – ‘We have no slaves at home – Then why abroad? Slaves cannot breathe in England; if their lungs receive our air, that moment they are free. They touch our country, and their shackles fall.’

The antislavery movement began in earnest in 1783 and by 1807 had forced parliament to bring in an antislavery act that while not banning slavery made the slave trade illegal.

In 1833 slavery itself was abolished three days before William Wilberforce died. The public’s abhorrence, stirred up by Wilberforce and the other abolitionists had brought civilisation to the British Empire.

Between 1808 and 1860 the British navy captured 1600 slave ships and freed 150,000 African slaves.

The idea of tolerance, equality and social justice was born. It is up to all of us to take up the baton and take it forward until all the world shines with its light.

Slavery was the first step. Putting a stop to religious intolerance, political tyranny and social inequality must now be the aim of all civilised people.

One people – One future – Help change the zeitgeist!!!

Chuck Berry – Too Much Monkey Business – Protest in Rock ‘n’ Roll.

Chuck Berry – Too Much Monkey Business – Protest in Rock ‘n’ Roll.

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Chuck was the poet laureate of Rock Music. This was as good a Protest Song as any from Dylan. It’s full of Social Comment and it rocks.

Chuck was a genius. It was a great shame he was shafted by the establishment. They shut him up, locked him up and ripped him off.

Clearly speaking out is not tolerated.

Too Much Monkey Business

Runnin’ to-and-fro – hard workin’ at the mill.
Never fail in the mail – yeah, come a rotten bill!
Too much monkey business. Too much monkey business.
Too much monkey business for me to be involved in!
Salesman talkin’ to me – tryin’ to run me up a creek.
Says you can buy now, go on try – you can pay me next week, ahh!
Too much monkey business. Too much monkey business.
Too much monkey business for me to be involved in!
Blond hair, good looks – tryin’ to get me hooked.
Want me to marry – get a home – settle down – write a book!
Too much monkey business. Too much monkey business.
Too much monkey business for me to be involved in!
Same thing every day – gettin’ up, goin’ to school.
No need for me to complain – my objection’s overruled, ahh!
Too much monkey business. Too much monkey business.
Too much monkey business for me to be involved in!
Pay phone – something wrong – dime gone – will hold
I ought to sue the operator for spinning me a tale- ahh!
Too much monkey business. Too much monkey business.
Too much monkey business for me to be involved in!
Been to Yokohama – been fightin’ in the war.
Army bunk – Army chow – Army clothes – Army car, aah!
Too much monkey business. Too much monkey business.
Too much monkey business for me to be involved in!
Workin’ in the fillin’ station – too many tasks.
Wipe the windows – check the tires – check the oil – dollar gas!
Too much monkey business. Too much monkey business.
Don’t want your botheration, get away, leave me!
TOO MUCH MONKEY BUSINESS FOR ME!!

Billie Holiday – Strange Fruit – a hauntingly poetic Jazz Protest highlighting the lynching of black people in the South. Civil Rights Protest.

billie Billie Holiday

This song was written for Billie and she made it her signature tune.

It was a haunting Jazz song, languid and soft, reflecting those hot magnolia scented nights in the Deep South. The word plaintive was invented for this song.

Unfortunately it tells of the frequent and arbitrary rough justice handed out to the black community on the slightest pretext. It was the law of the mob, unjust and vicious, without the slightest trace of compassion. They hung people in the most horrifying way. The strange fruit were the corpses of black men dangling from the trees.

Sometimes this was even worse. What happened to Emmett Till was even worse. He was beaten and tortured by a gang of white thugs and killed. His screams resounded all around but no one came to his rescues.

Thank heavens for the Civil Rights Movement. Thank heavens for all the white activists who put their lives at risk supporting the black communities.

This was an important song.

Strange Fruit

Southern trees bear strange fruit,
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root,
Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze,
Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees.
Pastoral scene of the gallant south,
The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth,
Scent of magnolias, sweet and fresh,
Then the sudden smell of burning flesh.Here is fruit for the crows to pluck,
For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck,
For the sun to rot, for the trees to drop,
Here is a strange and bitter crop.

Anthropocene Apocalypse – 7.29 Billion and counting – heading for 12 Billion

Anthropocene Apocalypse – 7.29 Billion and counting – heading for 12 Billion

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There are now 7,293,000,000 people on this planet.

We all require water, food and fuel. We take up room; we destroy the habitat, pollute the water, air and soil and we will soon be 12 Billion.

The natural resources are being used up. The fossil fuels are being used. The climate is being affected. The forests are being destroyed all over the planet.

It is relentless.

If there were ten people they could eat, burn, slaughter and produce waste to their heart’s content. It would not make a speck of difference.

When you have ten billion all requiring wheat, rice, meat, fish, space, shelter, vehicles, fuel, gadgets and the rest it is destroying the natural resources.

Surely everyone can appreciate that this is simply unsustainable? Or are we blithely going to proceed until the last tree is chopped, the last wild animal butchered, the last insect poisoned, river besmirched with sewage, sea made stagnant and climate transformed into a greenhouse cauldron?

Will someone then say ‘Hey – I liked it better before’.

If we do not do something to stop it the politicians in hand with the businessmen will sell off the future to finance their yachts and penthouse suites; only then will they discover that they have to breathe the same air as us!

Civil Rights – Emmett Till – The Brutal Murder of a Fourteen Year Old Boy – Bob Dylan lyrics.

Civil Rights – Emmett Till – The Brutal Murder of a Fourteen Year Old Boy – Bob Dylan lyrics.

 

Emmett Till was just fourteen years old. He came from Chicago and was visiting relatives in the Mississippi. Emmett was not used to Southern ways. Blacks were considered to be almost sub-human. The white supremacists of the Klu Klux Klan set about terrorising the black community.

Emmett made the ‘mistake’ of talking to a 21 year old white woman in a manner that was considered too casual and flirtatious. Two days later the woman’s husband and half brother went round and grabbed Emmett. They dragged him to a barn and beat him unmercifully in the course of which they gouged out his eye. The beating went on for hours and his screams were clearly heard but no-one had the courage to come to his rescue. They knew the price would be similar treatment and a lynching.

Eventually they shot him, tied a metal fan round his neck with barbed wire and threw his body into the Tallahatchie river.

The body was recovered and so badly beaten that his mother could not recognise him

The two men were acquitted.

The trial brings shame on the white community of Mississippi in a number of ways.

Racism is a canker that turns reasonable people into brutal beasts. We have to build a world based on equality and fairness!

Bob Dylan was one of many who highlighted this terrible crime, and the disgusting legal system that freed those men, in his song – ‘Emmett Till’

The Death of Emmett Till

Was down in Mississippi not so long ago
When a young boy from Chicago town
Walked in a Southern door

This boy’s fateful tragedy
You all should remember well
The color of his skin was black
And his name was Emmett Till

Some men, they dragged him to a barn
And there they beat him up
They said they had a reason
But I just can’t remember what

They tortured him and did some things
Too evil to repeat
There were screaming sounds inside the barn
There was laughing sounds out on the street

Then they rolled his body down a gulf
Amidst a blood red rain
And they threw him in the waters wide
To cease his screaming pain

The reason that they killed him there
And I’m a-sure, it ain’t no lie
‘Was for the fun of killing him
He was born to die

And then to stop the United States
Of yelling for a trial
Two brothers, they confessed
That they had killed poor Emmett Till

But on the jury there were men
Who had helped the brothers commit this awful crime
And so this trial was a mockery
But nobody there seemed to mind

I saw the morning papers
But I could not bear
To see smiling brothers
Walkin’ down the courthouse stairs

For the jury found them innocent
And the brothers, they went free
While Emmett’s body floats the foam
Of a Jim Crow southern sea

If you can’t speak out against this kind of thing
A crime that’s so unjust
Your eyes are filled with dead men’s dirt
Your ears must be filled with dust

Your arms and legs
They must be in shackles and chains
And your blood, it must cease to flow
For you to let our human race
Fall down so God-awful low

This song is just a reminder
To remind your fellow man
That this kind of thing still lives today
In that ghost-robed Ku Klux Klan

But if all of us folks that thinks alike
If we gave all we could give
We’d make this great land of ours
A greater place to live

Democracy – The importance of dissidence.

Democracy – The importance of dissidence.

If something is worthy it will stand up to close scrutiny.

No institution should be above criticism, whether that be a government, religion or political party.

Someone who is prepared to look closely at what is going on around them, see what is wrong and speak out is someone who should be valued and lauded above all else.

Without criticism we do not get improvement. Without people being prepared to put their head above the parapet and speak out we do not get justice. If our dissidents and critics are gagged we have tyranny. If a government, leader, religion or political party places itself above the judgement of its peers we are in danger of despotic fascism.

This is why Islam threatens its critics with cruel death to shut them up.

This is why tyrannical governments, of all hues, round up their critics and execute them.

The free air of liberty comes from the throats of brave dissidents.

In Britain we have a strong tradition of dissidence, protest and struggle. It has won us our rights and freedoms.

In the modern age I cannot think of any greater dissident than the poet, musician and songwriter Roy Harper. I have not always agreed with him but his intelligent observations and fearless outspokenness are an inspiration. It is lamentable to see him brought down so low by allegations of this nature concerning events forty years ago.

Let us hope justice is done and Roy receives the credit he deserves.

Civil Rights – Schwerner, Chaney, and Goodman – Murders – Tom Paxton Lyrics.

Civil Rights – Schwerner, Chaney, and Goodman – Murders – Tom Paxton Lyrics.

Lest we forget!!

 

Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman were two young white men who went down to Mississippi in 1964 to help the Civil Rights cause and help sign up black registration for voting.

They were joined by James Chaney who was a young black man. They were pulled over by the cops for supposedly speeding and taken back to the police station.

Their bodies were later discovered buried in a damn. They were murdered by the Ku Klux Klan for daring to fight for justice, freedom, equality and an end to racism.

It is great that we have people as brave as these three heroes who are prepared to put their lives on the line, non-violently, for freedom and equality, but it is sad that such actions were ever necessary. Social justice is always paid for in blood.

The 1960s was not that long ago. It is hard to believe how bad things were.

Things are much better now but there’s still a lot to do. People of all colours need to come together to demand social justice.

Goodman and Schwerner and Chaney

Words and Music by Tom Paxton

The night air is heavy, no cool breezes blow.
The sounds of the voices are worried and low.
Desperately wondering and desperate to know,
About Goodman, Schwerner and Chaney.

Calm desperation and flickering hope,
Reality grapples like a hand on the throat.
For you live in the shadow of ten feet of rope,
If you’re Goodman and Schwerner and Chaney.

The Pearl River was dragged and two bodies were found,
But it was a blind alley for both men were brown.
So they all shrugged their shoulders and the search it went on,
For Goodman and Schwerner and Chaney.

Pull out the dead bodies from the ooze of the dam.
Take the bodies to Jackson all accordin’ to plan.
With the one broken body do the best that you can,
It’s the body of young James Chaney.

The nation was outraged and shocked through and through.
Call J. Edgar Hoover. He’ll know what to do.
For they’ve murdered two white men, and a colored boy too
Goodman and Schwerner and Chaney.

James Chaney your body exploded in pain,
And the beating they gave you is pounding my brain.
And they murdered much more with their dark bloody chains
And the body of pity lies bleeding.

The pot-bellied copper shook hands all around,
And joked with the rednecks who came into town
And they swore that the murderer soon would be found
And they laughed as they spat their tobacco.

The Dark Ages – a poem

The Dark Ages

 

‘What were the Dark Ages, Dad?’

Dad looked thoughtful and sad.

‘A time of ignorance when things were bad.’

 

‘When did the Dark Ages end?’ she asked.

Dad looked at her with face aghast.

‘We don’t know how long they’ll last.’

 

Opher – 20.7.2019

 

 

We tend to look back at history and wonder how people could do such things, believe such things and behave so cruelly. We see them as primitive, foolish and brutal.

They are no different to us.

We live in the same ignorance and the same level of vicious depravity. We never learn.

I was looking at the butchery of the timid dolphins and porpoises in the Faroes and seeing the same vicious bloodlust and inhumanity. It’s still there unchanged. I look at ISIS, the Baptists from the Southern States, The Creationists, Boko Haram and all the others and see the same blind ignorance and belief in scriptures from barbaric times.

The Dark Ages – we’re still living them. Oh for a bit of light!

Saudi Arabia – a medieval kingdom with no human rights, blatant misogyny and barbaric laws and customs.

Saudi Arabia – a medieval kingdom with no human rights, blatant misogyny and barbaric laws and customs.

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Saudi Arabia is supposedly our ally in the Middle East yet it is the sponsorship of much of the terrorism and sectarian violence in the region. It massive oil revenue is being used to promote instability.

The extreme religious views held by the ruling class are responsible for intolerance and the imposition of barbaric laws of immense cruelty.

First we have Raif Badawi imprisoned and subjected to 1000 lashes for having a blog that was considered to critical of the regime.

 

Now we have Raja Kouja. She was openly critical of the way women are treated in Saudi Arabia and has been accused of Apostasy and threatened with death or having her hands and feet hacked off. At present she is in Britain awaiting deportation to this brutal country. Hopefully Britain will not send her back for such a fate.

To speak out against the Saudi regime is equated as going against the religion. To do that is death.

 

Misogyny is taken to the extreme. Women are second-class citizens. They are not allowed to drive, they have to have a male guardian sign documents for them, they are forced to wear the full body and face covering Abayah and subject to different laws. Not only are they segregated but can be accused of sexual misdemeanours carrying heavy sentences if they are molested.

 

It is time the West brought real pressure to bear on these violations of human rights. This barbaric behaviour is inhuman.

It makes me glad I’m an antitheist. I believe all religion does more harm than good. We’d be better off without the medieval superstition.