Posts Tagged ‘Bruce Cockburn’

Our Prime Minister continues to promote the fiction that the 9/11 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington justified the illegal invasion of Afghanistan and that Canada’s participation in the occupation is about preventing terrorists from harming Canadians.

Gov. Gen. Michaëlle Jean says she is saddened that there is any debate at all over whether Canada should be helping the country’s less fortunate. (Memo to MJ:  Canada is still a democracy, eh. We do debate these things – war and such – from time to time!)

Canadian entertainer Bruce Cockburn was part of a group of entertainers who performed at a forward operating base in the Panjwaii district of Afghanistan on Thursday, Sept. 10, 2009. After Cockburn sung If I Had a Rocket Launcher Gen. Jonathan Vance jokingly presented him with a rocket launcher of his own.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Bill Graveland

And Bruce Cockburn, arguably one of Canada’s most talented and radical singer-songwriters, was presented (briefly) with a rocket launcher the other day following his performance for Canadian troops.

Of the three stories, the last one was the least expected and the most heart-breaking. For Cockburn, the humanitarian, to lend his name and talent to this occupation, was a huge disappointment. He’s always struck me as an intelligent, well-informed, no-bullshit kinda guy.

Contrast his joshing around with the Canadian general who loaned him the rocket launcher with the man who wrote “Call it Democracy.”

Call it Democracy

by Bruce Cockburn

Padded with power here they come
International loan sharks backed by the guns
Of market hungry military profiteers
Whose word is a swamp and whose brow is smeared
With the blood of the poor

Who rob life of its quality
Who render rage a necessity
By turning countries into labour camps
Modern slavers in drag as champions of freedom

Sinister cynical instrument
Who makes the gun into a sacrament —
The only response to the deification
Of tyranny by so-called “developed” nations’
Idolatry of ideology

North South East West
Kill the best and buy the rest
It’s just spend a buck to make a buck
You don’t really give a flying fuck
About the people in misery

IMF dirty MF
Takes away everything it can get
Always making certain that there’s one thing left
Keep them on the hook with insupportable debt

See the paid-off local bottom feeders
Passing themselves off as leaders
Kiss the ladies shake hands with the fellows
Open for business like a cheap bordello

And they call it democracy
And they call it democracy
And they call it democracy
And they call it democracy

See the loaded eyes of the children too
Trying to make the best of it the way kids do
One day you’re going to rise from your habitual feast
To find yourself staring down the throat of the beast
They call the revolution

IMF dirty MF
Takes away everything it can get
Always making certain that there’s one thing left
Keep them on the hook with insupportable debt

Has Cockburn switched sides? Does he now practise the “idolatry of ideology” peddled by the Harpers and Jeans in our country whose actions and words make all Canadians complicit in murder?

Has he joined the “International loan sharks backed by the guns/ Of market hungry military profiteers/ Whose word is a swamp and whose brow is smeared/ With the blood of the poor”?

Has he forgotten why he wrote “If I had a rocket launcher“? Did he appreciate the irony of performing it to part of an invading army whose airstrikes are precisely the kind of outrage that inspired his song?

If I had a rocket launcher

by Bruce Cockburn

Here comes the helicopter — second time today
Everybody scatters and hopes it goes away
How many kids they’ve murdered only God can say
If I had a rocket launcher…I’d make somebody pay

I don’t believe in guarded borders and I don’t believe in hate
I don’t believe in generals or their stinking torture states
And when I talk with the survivors of things too sickening to relate
If I had a rocket launcher…I would retaliate

On the Rio Lacantun, one hundred thousand wait
To fall down from starvation — or some less humane fate
Cry for guatemala, with a corpse in every gate
If I had a rocket launcher…I would not hesitate

I want to raise every voice — at least I’ve got to try
Every time I think about it water rises to my eyes.
Situation desperate, echoes of the victims cry
If I had a rocket launcher…Some son of a bitch would die

Which side are you on, Bruce? What were you thinking?

In the meantime, let’s lighten up a bit with another guy’s 9/11 musings. Deek Jackson is not as polished, musically, as Bruce Cockburn, but you’ll want to sing along. (Warning: This video contains lots of vulgar language and gallows humour – which is part of its charm.)

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