Sunday, June 24, 2007

80s Music Video Sunday #28

As you have probably gathered by now, I'm a news junkie. It started in my teenage years, when a young Israeli woman (with whom I am still friends) from the town of Arad came to stay with our family for three weeks in the framework of a student exchange. I'll never forget how impressed I was that this 15 year-old Israeli was discussing politics and current events with my father, in English no less. At the same time, I was ashamed of myself for not being able to join in. Her visit was a turning point for me, as it was the catalyst that led me to start reading the newspaper and follow the news. I made the conscious decision to make myself aware of what was going on in the world, and it was a decision that had a great impact on my day-to-day life. I became more intense and found that I wasn't really interested in shallow small talk, and as much as it may have guided me towards certain friendships, I'm quite certain that there were people who were turned off by it, people who weren't interested in maintaining a friendship with someone who was so focused on such issues.

During my freshman year in university, I found myself going to various fraternity parties and other keg parties, as the early friends I'd made had been keen to attend, and frankly, I was curious. I discovered pretty quickly that it wasn't for me. In fact, I was pretty miserable during my first semester in school, until I found my niche. It took me a while to realize that I probably wasn't ever going to meet people who interested me at those parties, as the people who shared my interests weren't actually going to those parties. In the end, most of my friends turned out to be international students (or those with a keen interest in international students or issues), campus activists, and student government types, and once I'd begun to find these people, my life took a turn for the better. I much preferred sitting around discussing politics and current events to loud keg parties, and drinking coffee with friends was much more attractive to me than going to a bar and having to chat up strangers.

I tremendously enjoyed being a campus activist, enjoyed promoting various issues and taking a stand against others. I was proud of the fact that I was doing my part to make a difference; that I was taking an active roll in trying to shape campus life. I enjoyed supporting my student government friends (and also enjoyed going out to salsa clubs with them in the evenings, despite the fact that I have no rhythm and was a hopeless case, even though one of the Colombians showed extreme amounts of patience as he tried to teach me basic steps). I look back on my activist years fondly, and I suppose I'd have to say, judging by the contents of this blog, that I really miss those years, given how much I've written about various issues here, how frequently I've taken a stand. I feel lucky that I can use my writing skills as a tool to make people think about important and often controversial topics, that I can use my writing to promote various causes. I have a great deal of respect for a number of musical artists who also use their talents or their fame to help raise awareness for certain issues, whether it be Bob Geldof and Band Aid, or Midnight Oil, the Australian band particularly active in promoting environmental and indigenous causes.

Today's 80s Music Video Sunday song is Midnight Oil's "Beds are Burning". According to its Wikipedia entry, this song is "a plea for the land rights of indigenous Australians", a term that includes both the Torres Strait Islanders and the Aboriginal people, who together comprise approximately 2.5% of Australia's population. An amazing song on its own, but even more so because it has a message.



Beds are Burning
Midnight Oil

Out where the river broke
The bloodwood and the desert oak
Holden wrecks and boiling diesels
Steam in forty five degrees

The time has come
To say fair's fair
To pay the rent
To pay our share
The time has come
A fact's a fact
It belongs to them
Let's give it back

How can we dance when our earth is turning
How do we sleep while our beds are burning
How can we dance when our earth is turning
How do we sleep while our beds are burning

The time has come to say fairs fair
To pay the rent, now to pay our share

Four wheels scare the cockatoos
From Kintore East to Yuendemu
The western desert lives and breathes
In forty five degrees

The time has come
To say fair's fair
To pay the rent
To pay our share
The time has come
A fact's a fact
It belongs to them
Let's give it back

How can we dance when our earth is turning
How do we sleep while our beds are burning
How can we dance when our earth is turning
How do we sleep while our beds are burning

The time has come to say fair's fair
To pay the rent, now to pay our share
The time has come, a fact's a fact
It belongs to them, let's give it back

How can we dance when our earth is turning
How do we sleep while our beds are burning

2 comments:

nominally challenged said...

The 80s coming hot on the heels of the bicentenery of 'discovery' of Australia (was it ever lost?) were pretty much the dawning of awareness over there about the injustices (to put it mildly) done to Aborigines. It was an important step, and Midnight Oil were at the forefront of making it an issue. Beds are Burning is an awesome song, and I think it, and the band, had a huge effect on popular opinion.

Lead singer Peter Garrett is now, by the way, in politics :)

Beth said...

Oh we SO would have been friends in college! ;)