Gil Scott-Heron’s Revolution

Brian Jackson and Gil Scott-Heron in studio, 1973

Brian Jackson and Gil Scott-Heron in studio, 1973 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There is one thing that grinds me up the wall, and that is when people just go around saying: “The revolution will be televised!”
Sure, it sounds all cool n’ it sounds all “we’ll turn the cameras on you”, but for some reason it doesn’t do justice to the original coined by Gil Scott-Heron.

“The revolution will not be televised”, and you can’t plug in, turn on, and cop out. It’s all right there.
Now I ask you, why would the revolution be televised? Would it be televised on FOX, MSNBC, ABC, HBO, or on MTV?
Would it be televised so you can just watch it happen, comfortable from your own home eating a sandwich saying to yourself:
“Mmhm, yeah I guess I could agree with this change.”

“That song was about your mind. You have to change your mind before you change the way you live and the way you move…The thing that’s going to change people will be something that no one will ever be able to capture on film. It will just be something you see and all of a sudden you realize ‘I’m on the wrong page.'”
Gil Scott-Heron on the catchphrase

Now, of course back in the day when Gil Scott-Heron coined the term, it was mostly aimed at the black American.
The American who was born American, but still had to fight for his right to be what he was born to be. I still think that the message he has can be seen as rather universal, it can be expanded and taken to any part of the world, to any culture and to any kind of revolution. Be it of the mind, or another kind.

Maybe some artist prefer to re-invent and televise their revolution, but I find it disrespectful to the original.
In the end that’s just my opinion and I decided to go for a rant blog.
And if you don’t know who Gil Scott-Heron is, shame on you…

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Issues with Anti-Transparency and a certain Enemy of the Body Politic

English: Demonstration in front of Sydney Town...

English: Demonstration in front of Sydney Town Hall in support of Julian Assange, 2010, December 10 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Is it wrong, or morally objectionable to bring out information that clearly brings to light the complicity of a nation? Recently Julian Assange has been made the enemy of the state by the United States of America, which means that he is now in the same caste as tyrants, killers, and other human rights violators. With pundits already calling out for his assassination back in 2010, now with the current turn of events it has become close to legal to shoot the man on sight. And if not that, then he still has a worldwide arrest warrant set by Interpol.

Julian Assange is trapped by allegations of cyber terrorism and molestation –both as flimsy in origin. In any legal matter the case should be studied and a fair trial had, and I do believe that Assange should face a court. Sadly, the political climate around him doesn’t allow for much fairness, and one can be left guessing the validity of the accusations.

Whistleblowers are seen as a nuisance by governments or businesses, so it would be expected that Julian Assange’s cause would be accepted with open arms by the big man. Julian Assange has been made into a figurehead of merciless transparency of governmental action, he has allowed the common man to find out about the hidden corruption and backroom deals with the help of individuals and organizations. This makes him and those closest to him within Wikileaks great targets when fighting against the ideal carried by freedom of information.

The governments that accept Julian Assange’s current status are making a clear statement against freedom of expression and the freedom of knowledge, both that are essential for a democratic government. This kind of inaction should be regarded with great contempt.

There were those who decided to show comradeship as the enemy of the state status was placed on Assange. There were tens of thousands of people boldly stating that they are themselves enemies of the state. Even now there still are some who keep doing that, but the fad has passed.

Call me cynical, even though the sign of e-solidarity to the speech Assange gave to the UN a few days ago is admirable to say the least, but do those statements amount to anything else except idle talk. It reminded me of the mindlessness of the people who decide to drop out of the rut and be a stone in the clockwork of some capitalistic Babylon. Yet what could one do to something like a westernized version of fatwa?

I believe one of the strongest arguments against this political insanity was within the speech addressed to the UN by Julian Assange. As he brings out quite clearly the point of Wikileak’s extreme call for transparency, he points out:

This is better than the alternative – to drift into irrelevance as the world moves on.

We must be clear here.

The United States is not the enemy.

Its government is not uniform. In some cases good people in the United States supported the forces of change. And perhaps Barack Obama personally was one of them.

But in others, and en masse, early on, it actively opposed them.

This is a matter of historical record.

And it is not fair and it is not appropriate for the President to distort that record for political gain, or for the sake of uttering fine words.

Credit should be given where it is due, but it should be withheld where it is not.

-Julian Assange’s Address to the UN on Human Rights
September 26th, 2012

It is clear, Julian Assange is not the enemy of the United States and he doesn’t do his work to attack the States. The witch hunt should end and the government should look into ways to reform their system, but perhaps this is merely idealistic to hope. But this unethical war against people who demand transparency must come to an end.

The United States government has placed freedom on the line by trying to stomp out the message of a person like Julian Assange. One shouldn’t feel comfort during his persecution. For if nothing is done and we gladly give our right to access information, then we shall find strength within ignorance.

Though most of the spotlights are on Julian Assange for now, somehow the public eye has swallowed the situation of Bradley Manning. The leak he allowed and made possible, should have caused governmental introspection. The allegations of “aiding the enemy” are nothing more than signs of the lack of self-analysis. Who are the good guys again, because I am starting to doubt they exist.

While the internet being a powerful, hypersensitive media outlet and fads controlling most of the outbursts, there are those certain issues that shouldn’t be let go due to minute’s fancy. I wouldn’t want this to feel like an obituary of transparency at a later date. That would be regrettable and beyond acceptable.