There are times in even a musician's life when issues of the world, issues of humanity in pain, issues concerning human justice for those who suffer, issues of a serious and powerful import concerning future generations, take precedence over the making of art for its own sake, and become a prominent focus and force on a par with and at times even eclipsing the creative life and craft of an artist. There are times when art, and the artist, may decidedly be conscripted to serve the cause of justice as well as contribute to the expanding of our intellectual limitations, enriching our spirits, and nurturing our humanity through their own self-expressions. Artists like all people of conscience must learn to muster their courage and step out side of their comfort zones, and experience the feeling of being compelled into a more direct type of action. I have found an outlet through writing for an excellent online magazine that encompasses culture, politics, and art, with their potent areas of harmonious confluence and confines of antagonistic discord. I also work with the BDS movement here in Philadelphia and find myself in the streets in every march and protest seeking to add my voice and body to the cause for human justice against fascism and tyranny. I am personally inspired by the work of visionary Roger Waters, the creative force behind the legendary work known as "The Wall" on the last ever studio recording of Pink Floyd. Exploring themes of abandonment and isolation personal to Waters, the music also happen to fit hand in glove as an expression and symbol of the Berlin wall, that imposing physical barrier which caused the social and political isolation experienced by Eastern Europeans from the world under the USSR before its collapse in 1989. Today it is just as poignant in its representation of Israel's wall of apartheid which is isolating the Palestinian people not only from the world, but is doubling as a perimeter wall to the largest outdoor prison ghetto ever created by a colonial power. Gilad Atzmon, the world renowned jazz composer and musician who being a Jew himself and having served in the Israeli Defense Forces, has become one of the world's foremost writers and speakers about the atrocities of fascist Israel and its military imperialism along with the backing of the US government, and a deeply committed supporter of the Palestinian people in their courageous and unrelenting quest for freedom and justice. Much of his music is named for and dedicated to the Palestinian nation. And as a former soldier in the Israeli Armed Forces, his advocacy of the Palestinian cause has guaranteed that it would and does draw worldwide attention to the struggling nation of Palestine and its vicious overlords, the State of Israel. But I must include others such as the great Spanish cellist Pablo Casals who returned to fight with his people in Catalonia against the fascism of Franco rather than perform concerts, the Palestinian poet Ahmed Miqdad, Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan, actor Danny Glover, jazz singer Harry Belefonte, Palestinian photographer and film maker Emily Jacir, Saudi Arabian visual artist Shadia Alem amd her award winning writer sister Raja Alem, photograher and film maker Shirin Heshat of Iran, the famous American born Syrian actor F. Murray Abraham, the socialist murallist Diego Rivera and his legendary partner the painter Frida Kahlo, the great American jazz composer, pianist, and singer Nina Simone, the legendary Jamaican musician and activist Bob Marley, Syrian painter Tammam Azzam, writer, historian, and activist Howard Zinn, American actress and activist Ruby Dee, American poet and performance artist Jessica Moore, Russia's courageous female punk rock trio Pussy Riot who served twenty-one months in jail for publically and musically protesting Vladamir Putin's arresting of gay and transgender people and his crackdown on democratic practices, the Booker Prize winning author Arundhati Roy of India who I have only admiration for, and so many more that I could continue for a day and not begin to approach the large number of artists who I find inspiring and am awed by their artistic work, and their dedication and commitment to political activism on the ground for social justice everywhere.
Below is the link reposting my first article published a few months ago in The Quiet American , but its statement will continue to remain relevant for some time to come considering the political and social tensions occurring in our world today, and the initiation this year of yet another farcical US presidential election cycle. Though triggered and inspired initially by the raping of Greece by the IMF economic hitmen and the world-wide banking cartel, and firmly nudged along by a colluding EU and an Israeli controlled US geopolitical policy, I look back and forward to see these same jackals sucking the life out of my own country. And I've learned that naivete, pampering fuzzy thoughts of political saviors, and blowing bubbles filled with wishful thinking, are poor substitutes for courage and action when faced with the ravages of fascism.