This rock song was written by my close friend, Peter Gelling (1960-2018) – and me – long ago. I’ve decided to ‘release’ it now to mark the 20th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attack on the US.
The explanatory text below accompanies the song on youtube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BUjseopCioc
‘Blame it on the USA’ was co-written by Peter Gelling (1960-2018) and yours truly in response to the knee-jerk anti-Americanism we experienced among our friends in the weeks after the September 11 terrorist attacks on the USA.
We found it strange that nearly all of our friends, including those who identified as being on the Left, were either gloating about what had happened or automatically blaming the US. They had not looked into the nature of Al Qaeda, the Islamo-fascist* outfit behind the attacks. It was as though all one needed to understand was that America was always wrong.
As one of many who had opposed the US war in Vietnam, I couldn’t see any similarity between the Vietnamese struggle for national liberation and the targetting of civilians by a reactionary religious fundamentalist terror group who hated modernity. One of the first things I did, at the time, was to google ‘Bin Laden’ to see what he believed in. What I found wasn’t pretty and essentially medievalist.
Fortunately, there were left-wing individuals who spoke up about all this while certainly recognizing that decades of US foreign policy – the backing and arming of hated dictators such as Saddam Hussein – had led to America being a dirty word among the masses in the Middle East and elsewhere.
But to blame the US for September 11, in an unqualified way, was to overlook the nature of those behind the attack.
Peter and I embraced the notion that there is a ‘pseudo-left’. Content is what matters and when ‘anti-imperialism’ serves fascism, it is not an anti-imperialism worth supporting. Especially when most people around the world who lived under tyranny were fighting for freedom. And still are.
I don’t remember when we wrote the song’s lyrics but I know the original idea was mine. I wanted the song to have a distinctively American rock sound and Peter, the master musician and multi-instrumentalist, laid down a great Chuck Berry riff. (It doesn’t get much more American than Chuck Berry).
The song has never been released to the public before, but I know Peter would be happy to have it shared on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the September 11 attack.
The lyric “Maccas and Coke are just fine by me” will offend some people but none more than those who still want to turn the clock back to pre-modern times. The religious fascists rely on violence and terror because they know they will never win the consent of the majority in modern bourgeois-democracies. That is also why they hate things like free speech, women’s liberation, elections – and rock music.
*I rarely use this term as it can be misunderstood to mean that all Islamists are fascists but in the context of Al-Qaeda I regard it as fair usage. It was coined, I think, by the late great anti-fascist, Christopher Hitchens, whose absence is felt now more than ever.
Hoping just to tidy up some loose ends. In 2008 people here argued that the Australian housing market was about to crash is this still going to happen? People also argued that the Chinese economy was about to crash any update on that? People argued that the Palestinian question was about to be resolved. Is that still a current projection? People argued that a US withdrawal from Afghanistan would result is a regional war, will that happen any time soon? People argued that Putin was going to establish democracy in Syria. Is Assad still only a puppet? People also pushed the position that police in the US were even handed in the treatment of races. Given that the evidence for that has been shown to be bogus are we going to revisit any of these issues at any time or have they been flushed. Any how guys got to go Patrick is about to lecture me on how he got Mali right and I was completely out of my depth. Have you seen whats going on there the French troops who went in for 2 weeks are leaving now after 10 years and are being replaced by Russian mercenaries. What could go wrong?