A Google thing reminded me that Steven Biko would have been 70 years old today. Which reminded me of this Peter Gabriel song about him called Biko.
I like some political songs, and don’t like others. The dividing line for me seems to be similar to the one I apply between songs I like and songs I don’t. Catchy, compelling, somehow feels like it means it.
In this case, Peter Gabriel’s Biko is an incantation, a testimony to someone who gave his life for the cause. It is understated and honoring, and it wins for me because I don’t hate it. I worry about a super rich rock star lending his power to the cause of a martyr, but what better use is there for rock presence? And what better use for an artist’s sense of style and grace.
Anyway, here is is:
And while we are here we should also think about the CIA overthrow of the democratically elected government in Chile and an Arlo Guthrie song about a brave resistor then.
Arlo Guthrie’s Victor Jara is an earnest tribute to Jara, a folk song, and when I hear it today I’m still outraged by what happened in Chile in 1973. The song is more a marker for that outrage, but serves as a reminder.