Sunday, December 19, 2010

Wikileaks: Revealing "Imperialism's dreadful apparatus of oppression"

All those rogues who strut and swagger/
Take the road and seek other pastures/
To carry out their wicked schemes/
No more will our fine young men/
March to war at the behest of jingoists and imperialists/
So come all you who love freedom/
Pay no attention to the prophets of doom/
In your house all the children of Adam/
Will be welcomed with food, drink and hospitality/
All the flowers will blossom/
And Black Africa will bring crashing down/
All Imperialism's dreadful apparatus of oppression/.
 English translation of The Freedom Come-All-Ye by Dick Gaughan (copyright)
Hamish Henderon (1919-2002) was a Scottish intellectual, political activist, songwriter, poet and anthologist of Scottish political and cultural traditions. His epic song The Freedom Come-All-Ye is an powerful indictment of the imperial impulse: the desire of rich and powerful nations and corporations to exploit for their own interests the resources of other nations.

Henderson's song laments the role that the Scottish nation and the Scottish people played in the imperial project of the British Empire. The song was composed in the 1960's and renounces the tradition of the Scottish soldier who acted as both cannon foddder and colonial oppressor for the Britsh empire. It reflects Henderson's vision of a global order which is just and multi-racial and which opposes imperialism and exploitation by powerful nations.

Scottish singer songwriter Dick Gaughan recorded a version of Henderson's song (considered by many to be an alternative Scottish anthem) on his 1996 CD Sail On. Gaughan's version, supported by the haunting pipes of Fred Morrison, is a remarkable tribute to Henderson's profound political vision. Dick Gaughan's English translation of the lyrics can be found on his website.

Henderson's song concludes with the hope that there will be a time when people rise up to: 
".......Bring crashing down/All Imperialism's dreadful apparatus of oppression."
Henderson's evocative final line is precisely what makes Wikileaks so powerful and such a threat to the established political and corporate order.

Wikileaks is driven by the desire to bring crashing down "imperalism's dreadful apparatus of oppression", to use Henderson's term. The great power of Wikileaks is that it exposes for us all to see just how that  appartaus of corporate and military empire operates and how its workings are hidden from "we' citizens by the political and corporate elite.

And this is precisely why Wikileaks and its spokesperson Julian Assanage are being pursued with such ferocity.

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