Bob Dylan – Only a Pawn in Their Game – Lyrics about the cowardly murder of the civil rights leader Medgar Evans.

One of my favourite songs – extremely powerful and condemning of the racist thuggery and murder.

Opher's World

ku_klux_klan_by_mikimikibo-d37022gMedgar Evans

Medgar Evans was shot in the back by a cowardly gunman who hid in the bushes. He was killed in front of his wife and children.

The aim of the murder was to strike terror into the community so that they would not rise up and seek their rights.

The aim of Islamic extremists is to impose their distorted view of religion on other people. They want to stifle free speech and the rights of the individual. They use hate, extreme violence and terror to get their way.

Like the Klu Klux Klan they will be defeated.

As Dylan pointed out the terrorists who are blowing themselves up or attacking innocent people have been duped. The people organising the killings are well away out of danger.

The perpetrators are pawns in the game.

The only way to deal with fascism is through education.

“Only A Pawn In Their Game”

A…

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My Favourite Heroes.

My ten favourite heroes! – This one made me think a lot! It could go a number of ways!
Posted on February 13, 2015 by Opher
Every man needs a hero to inspire him to do wonderful things and try to be a better person. Here are some of mine:

a. Woody Guthrie.

This was a man who was prepared to stand up for what he believed in – justice, equality and freedom. He was prepared to be there on the picket lines and take the blows. He wanted a strong union to fight for fairness of pay and conditions. He believed you fought fascism by educating people.

b. Charles Darwin

As a Biologist he looked around the world at the variety of life and realised that the religious explanation did not hold true. He used his intellect to work out what was really happening and painstakingly set out researching to test his theory. When he was sure he published despite the furore it caused for him. He set us on the road to freedom from religious oppression.

c. Martin Luther King

He believed all races were equal and died for his beliefs. He marched in the face of violence and death threats. He stood up to the racists and used his words as bullets. They took his life but he proved he was the better man.

d. Jane Goodall

Jane has spent her life working with Chimps and championing their rights. She has been tireless and faced hardships and threats. Thank heavens someone is prepared to speak out and stand up for them. They are being butchered!

e. Jack Kerouac

Jack was, like most of us, an extremely complicated and muddled man who fought his demons of alcohol and catholic indoctrination. On the Road is a book that changed the world. There had never been anything like it before. In writing it he questioned the whole premise of the establishment whose mantra was – work hard, buy and own. He suggested that experience, quest, kicks and sex might be more rewarding. I forgive his misogyny. Nobody’s perfect.

f. Emily Pankhurst

How could you not admire a woman who was prepared to go to prison and be force-fed, who stood up and spoke the truth, who fought for equality and democracy? She organised and fought for women’s rights! She took on the whole establishment and won!

g. Bob Dylan

Without Dylan I do not believe we would have the liberal society we now enjoy. In the early sixties he stood up and sang his songs about civil rights, freedom, anti-war and justice and raised the sensibilities of a whole generation.

h. Mahatma Ghandi

Ghandi was the soul of India. He showed that if you had a just cause you could stand up against authority and use Non-violent Direct Action to defeat them. Nothing has ever been the same. I think partition broke his heart.

I. Ann Frank

Via those diaries Ann showed the resolution and defiance that destroyed Nazi philosophy.

j. Roy Harper

When I first heard Roy sing and speak I felt it was like looking in a mirror. He was putting in words the feelings and thoughts that what buzzing round my head and letting me examine them more closely.

k. Ken Saro-Wiwa

Ken was a writer, poet and environmentalist who stood up against the Nigerian government and exposed their corruption. They were despoiling the environment, selling land to the oil companies without restriction. He campaigned and was threatened. He carried on. They hung him with piano wire.

l. Rachel Carson

She wrote Silent Spring and started the whole environmental movement.

m. David McTaggart

One of the founders of Greenpeace. He used Non-violent Direct Action to fight for the environment. He sailed his little boat around a nuclear bomb holding up a French atmospheric test the like of which was causing huge pollution. He put his life at risk. They rammed him, beat him up and he went back and did it again.

My heroes are men and women who fought for peace, justice, the environment, freedom and equality. They inspire me to do the same in my own little way.

I’d have another list tomorrow!

Civil Rights – Schwerner, Chaney, and Goodman – Murders – Tom Paxton Lyrics.

Civil Rights – Schwerner, Chaney, and Goodman – Murders – Tom Paxton Lyrics.

Goodman Chaney Schwerner

Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman were two young white men who went down to Mississippi in 1964 to help the Civil Rights cause and help sign up black registration for voting.

They were joined by James Chaney who was a young black man. They were pulled over by the cops for supposedly speeding and taken back to the police station.

Their bodies were later discovered buried in a damn. They were murdered by the Ku Klux Klan for daring to fight for justice, freedom, equality and an end to racism.

It is great that we have people as brave as these three heroes who are prepared to put their lives on the line, non-violently, for freedom and equality, but it is sad that such actions were ever necessary. Social justice is always paid for in blood.

The 1960s was not that long ago. It is hard to believe how bad things were.

Things are much better now but there’s still a lot to do. People of all colours need to come together to demand social justice.

Goodman and Schwerner and Chaney

Words and Music by Tom Paxton

The night air is heavy, no cool breezes blow.
The sounds of the voices are worried and low.
Desperately wondering and desperate to know,
About Goodman, Schwerner and Chaney.

Calm desperation and flickering hope,
Reality grapples like a hand on the throat.
For you live in the shadow of ten feet of rope,
If you’re Goodman and Schwerner and Chaney.

The Pearl River was dragged and two bodies were found,
But it was a blind alley for both men were brown.
So they all shrugged their shoulders and the search it went on,
For Goodman and Schwerner and Chaney.

Pull out the dead bodies from the ooze of the dam.
Take the bodies to Jackson all accordin’ to plan.
With the one broken body do the best that you can,
It’s the body of young James Chaney.

The nation was outraged and shocked through and through.
Call J. Edgar Hoover. He’ll know what to do.
For they’ve murdered two white men, and a colored boy too
Goodman and Schwerner and Chaney.

James Chaney your body exploded in pain,
And the beating they gave you is pounding my brain.
And they murdered much more with their dark bloody chains
And the body of pity lies bleeding.

The pot-bellied copper shook hands all around,
And joked with the rednecks who came into town
And they swore that the murderer soon would be found
And they laughed as they spat their tobacco.

Bob Dylan – Blowin’ in the Wind – Lyrics – An early anti-war song. An example of early Dylan ‘Protest’.

These are songs that meant something and woke up a generation.

Opher's World

The early Bob Dylan had a knack of taking an important subject, such as war, and encapsulating the emotion and presenting the case against in a few words. The songs were simple, had poetic content and were effective. They aroused the sensibilities of a generation and captured the mood of everyone involved. He put into words what everyone was thinking and helped them to make their own feelings and thoughts more concrete. He took us all on a journey into our conscience and helped us empathise and understand in a way nobody else had done. He drew people in so that what started as a small number became a much bigger movement. It fed directly into the late sixties protest movement. I wonder if all the sixties underground would have happened without him.

Albert Grossman recognised the potential (as did the Queen of Folk Joan Baez) and harnessed it. He took…

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Bob Dylan – A Hard Rain’s A Gonna Fall – Lyrics – an example of the more poetic, complex style of antiwar song.

A genius who put poetry and social comment into Rock Music.

Opher's World

This is a classic example of how Bob Dylan rapidly developed, to change his style from one of being journalistic and simple into a more poetic and complex style.

This is an anti-war song inspired by the Cuban Missile Crisis. Bob, like many of us, thought that we were all going to be blown to hell by a nuclear war. We did not think we would get home again as the US and Russia squared up and threatened the world with annihilation. How close we got.

Bob thought that he did not have long so wrote everything he had into one song. The imagery is immense – dead oceans, crooked highways, sad forests, burnin’, nobody listenin’, white men and black dogs, guns and sharp swords in the hands of young children, executioner’s face well hidden, mouth of a graveyard – it went on painting pictures! What a song. How powerful!

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Bob Dylan – Nobel Prize Winner!

What a poet and commentator. How we need someone to articulate our thoughts at this moment in time.

Opher's World

There are few people who have had as much social impact as Bob Dylan. He is a man whose creative skills have flourished throughout the fifty five years of his career. He has reinvented himself time and again. His word skills have been applied to poems, songs, books and interviews. He has been successful at everything he turned his hand to – whether that be poetry, song, writing or hosting Radio Shows.

His career can be viewed in a number of ways. Chronologically it reveals a bit of a chameleon

Stage 1 – Folk-Blues.

I first encountered Bob in the early sixties when my friend Charlie had a job as a merchant seaman and brought his first album back from the States. He played it to me and told me (a young lad of about thirteen) that Bob was going to be big and would have hits if he released singles…

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Quotes – A few Bob Dylan quotes that are pertinent!

You can’t beat Dylan

Opher's World

A lot of people are bewildered by Bob doing a no-show for the Nobel prize for literature – I’m not. I think he found all that business of being ‘The Voice of a Generation’ a millstone round his neck. He doesn’t need it. It stops him being creative by putting too much weight of expectation on him. That dries up the creativity. He jettisoned all that as quickly as he could.

Having these colossal accolades and titles, they get in the way.

If I wasn’t Bob Dylan, I’d probably think that Bob Dylan has a lot of answers myself.

You’re going to die. You’re going to be dead. It could be 20 years, it could be tomorrow, anytime. So am I. I mean, we’re just going to be gone. The world’s going to go on without us. All right now. You do your job in the face of that, and…

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‘All You Fascists Bound to Lose’ – Woody Guthrie lyrics brought to life by Billy Bragg. Religious fanatics, political tyrants and those who practice hate, intolerance and cruelty – you have no future!

White supremacists, Nazis, Fascists – You are losers!!

Opher's World

Photo of Woody Guthrie

Woody was highly prophetic. This song was written about fascists like Hitler, Mussolini, the Klu Klux Klan and other xenophobic racists of the first order but it applies equally well to ISIS, the Taliban, Al Shabaab, AlQaeda and Boko Haraam – all the fanatical thugs who are practicing their intolerance and hatred right now.

Woody believed that you did not destroy fascism with guns; you killed it in the minds of people. That is why it is so important to look at the horrors or fanaticism, intolerance and hatred and prevent people being sucked in to that twisted ideology. Education is the key; understanding and respect.

Regardless – the whole world is getting organised to wipe out the evil caliphate. It is now just a question of how much pain and misery they can inflict in the mean-time.

Humans are vicious animals but love will conquer over hate.

All You…

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Civil Rights Quotes – Equality, Freedom and Justice!! Something worth fighting for!

Some quotes to chew on.

Opher's World

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All people are not equal and never will be. That is obvious. Some are much better at some things than others. Some are stronger, some are cleverer, some are faster, some are nicer. We can never all be the same.

But what is important is that, regardless of abilities, all people are of equal worth.

To place a value on a human being that relates to their race, gender, age, ability, disability, religion, political persuasion, creed, personality, culture, education, class, or preferences is simply wrong.

All people deserve equal opportunities. A system that penalises some requires opposing.

The greatest evil in our country today is…ignorance…We need to be taught to study rather than to believe.”
Septima Poinsette Clark

Education is the only way we are going to build better societies and ultimately a better world. We need to dispel the tribal myths that create division. We need to devise…

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Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs, Joan Baez and the Civil Rights Movement of the 60s.

Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs, Joan Baez and the Civil Rights Movement of the 60s.

 

Back in the early 1960s the Civil Rights Movement was picking up momentum. Martin Luther King was organising marches, sit-ins, boycotts and protests. There was a move towards gaining equality for people regardless of creed, race or religion. Segregation was rife and needed to be utterly destroyed.

The Folk Movement had come out of the Left Wing protests of the 1950s with its social messages from the likes of Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger and the Weavers. It stood for freedom, equality and fairness. It supported the unions, fair pay and social justice.

The songs that came out of the early sixties were termed protest songs. They were songs for human rights and justice.

Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Phil Ochs and Tom Paxton were at the forefront singing songs that helped rouse the conscience of the world. The white liberals and radicals joined with the blacks to fight for equality.

With songs like ‘Blowing in the Wind’, ‘To Ramona’, ‘The Ballad of Hollis Brown’, ‘The Ballad of Medgar Evans’, ‘Links on the Chain’, Power and the Glory’, ‘Only a Pawn in their Game’, ‘Chimes of Freedom’, ‘We Shall Overcome’, ‘Here to the State of Mississippi’ and hundreds more, the singer/songwriters took a stance, sang their truth, and opposed the Jim Crow laws. They put their bodies on the line. They supported the freedom riders and went on the marches.

Bob Dylan and Joan Baez performed at the great march on Washington that drew a million people in to hear Martin Luther King speak.

Their voice told the black protestors that they were not alone. White supporters went down South to support the protests and were killed by the rabid racist Klu Klux Klan along with the blacks they were supporting.