Just when I had recorded “9teen6teen” as song #5 of my Living Room Sessions a couple of days ago, Minneapolis and all the disgusting red-neck white supremacy malady that has long been eating up America’s core hit the news, and me in my living room.
Yet another sad example of the millenia-old human tradition of oppression.
History, unfortunately, bears far more proof of man’s violent hubris than of his peaceful benevolence. One person or a group of people see themselves as superior to others, and act accordingly, and violently. And ever so often, this group even gets political power to execute upon their distorted view of the world. The results are well-known. From slavery in the ancient kingdoms of Mesopotamia, Egypt, Palestine, Greece or Rome to the suppression of Africans as slaves in the so-called Land of the Free. From early European colonialism to American and Japanese imperialism. From the crusades to the Jihad. From Auschwitz to Xinjiang.
The list of names and places seems endless and unending. The common theme remains: superiority complex and violent oppression. And the reaction is often the same: Outrage, protest, and revolution – sometimes peaceful (as 1989 in Germany), mostly not (as 1789 in France, or 2020 in Minneapolis).
One song to rise them all
One of these historical moments in time that was dear to my heart when I wrote “9teen6teen”, and still is for reasons hidden in my roots, is The Easter Rising in Dublin in 1916 – a role-model example for many oppressed people to never give up, and the marking of the beginning of the end of British rule in Ireland. The Rising only lasted for six days, and was crushed in the end by overpowering British troops … BUT: it put the final spark to the flame of Irish resistance against unjust and brutal foreign rule that started way back in the 12th century. Organised by only a seven-man military council, the uprising against the Brits inflamed thousands of Irish citizens across the land. And (in historical terms only) a couple of years later, in 1922, the persistence of resistance was rewarded with the creation of the Irish Free State, built upon the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921 which marked the official secession from the United Kingdom. In 1937, Ireland (or Éire) got its own constitution, and in 1948 finally became a republic. That was the end of that.
An end that (maybe, only maybe) could have taken its decisive final steps to revolution in a small, shady, smokey and Guinness-laden pub in Dublin, where some of the famous Rising figures such as Patrick Pearse or James Connolly could have chanted the following rebel song on Easter Sunday to their followers and fellow rebels:
We’re gonna rise, we’re gonna rise at Easter
We’re gonna rise, rise and make the whole world see
Come on a rise, come on an rise with me at Easter
Cause we’re sick of all the tyranny and greed.
As mentioned: maybe, only maybe. But a nice thought. And definitely a nice story…