Defying Disinformation, Inspiring Change…

Twitter/Buffy Saint Marie

The state of the world right now is a far cry from what it was a year ago, or two or three years ago more so. Never could Brexit have been predicted – none of the advanced polls foretold it – and the notion of Donald Trump becoming the ‘Leader of the Free World’ was nothing more than a (terrifying) joke until last November. But, against the odds, we have begun 2017 with Britain preparing to leave the European Union and Donald Trump as President of the United States. Everything seems uncertain, and the world seems to be slowly unraveling, but while its easy to want to run and hide, now is the time to take a stand and stare the opposition right in the eyes.

The National Theatre’s upcoming production My Country deals with the issue of Brexit and the identity of the nation, based upon interviews conducted on the days following the referendum. Similarly, Katy Perry’s recent performance at the BRIT Awards affirmed the lyrics of Chained To The Rhythm to be drenched in political criticism, featuring two dancing skeletons dressed much like Theresa May and Donald Trump during the former’s White House visit earlier this year. While the conversation started by the two performances is undoubtedly of value in uniting people in their rebellion and giving the world a glimmer of hope, it does beg the question: why now, why not sooner?

Canadian artist Buffy Sainte Marie is renowned for her political activism, campaigning against war, the mistreatment of indigenous peoples and corrupt governance through her art since the 1960s – so much, in fact, that she was censored from radio and television by the Lyndon Johnson administration in the US at that time. Her song Universal Soldier was central to protests opposing the Vietnam War and her latest single You Got To Run is a rallying call for the world to take a stand. While in recent years she has applauded social media and the internet for uniting people and allowing those with similar views to connect and have a voice, she has recently suggested in an interview for the Toronto Star that this isn’t always enough:

“My question to all the other great songwriters in the world is: Where are your protest songs? Now that Donald Trump is (elected) — and there’s probably going to be money in protest songs — are you going to start writing them now? I mean, where was your protest song last year? And the year before? Some people are consistently aware of the world and trying to share their best contributions. Other people just show up when somebody’s handing out free gifts at the party.”

Buffy Sainte Marie

The message seems clear – we need a united effort, with conviction, to get the world back on track. Marching protests are a great demonstration of numbers, but what happens when everyone goes home? Things just carry on… But art – music, literature, theatre and television – leaves a mark. Songs are sung. Books are shared. In the ‘60s, conversation was free flowing and people were unafraid to speak their mind. While social media provides a safer space for these conversations to take place, we need to be more unafraid of judgment and critique and learn to say it the way we feel it. We have to be unapologetic and tell the world about the dream. We need hope and a change of plan. And only by standing proud together will we find it…


The War Racket

            Buffy Sainte Marie


Ooo you’re slick – you investors in hate

You Saddams and you Bushes You Bin Ladens and snakes

You billionaire bullies You’re a globalized curse

You put war on the masses while you clean out the purse


And that’s how it’s done War after war

You old feudal parasites just sacrifice the poor

Got the cutting edge weapons but your scam’s still the same

as it’s been since the Romans: It’s the patriot game

It’s the war racket It’s the war racket


You twisters of language – Creeps of disguise

Your disinformation – Worms in your eyes

You Halloween robbers You privileged thieves

You profit on war: there’s less money in peace


That’s how it’s done time after time

Country after country and crime after crime

You pretend it’s religion and there’s no one to blame for

the dead and impoverished in the patriot game

in the War Racket


We got the worlds greatest power and you team up with thugs

Make a fortune on weapon, destruction and drugs

But your Flags & boots & uniforms start to all look the same

when both sides are playing the patriot game.

It’s the War Racket


That’s how it’s done and you’ve got our sons

in the crosshairs of horror at the end of a gun

But your flags & boots & uniforms all turn to shame

when both sides are playing the patriot game


And war is never, never holy

It’s just a greedy man’s dream

And you 2-faced crusaders – Both sides are obscene.

War is NOT made by God: it IS made by men who

misdirect our attention while you thieves do your thing


And that’s how it’s done

About every 30 years

The rich fill their coffers

The poor fill with tears

The young fill the coffins

The old hang a wreath

The politicians get photographed with their names underneath.

It’s the patriot game It’s the war racket

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