To recognize the power of protest music, acknowledge its role in keeping dissent alive and how musicians are translating today’s social issues and systemic problems into song, The Dissenter has launched a daily feature that highlights a protest song every weekday. Today’s song:
Drones flown by the United States bring unquestionable terror to the lives of people, who live in countries where the United States is employing such warfare. The targeted killings combine with the constant surveillance to create a nightmare that makes life for people unlivable. And the allure of drone warfare for the US is troops no longer have to die if they are able to fly killer robots and be continents away from a conflict zone.
Jon Langford, a Welsh-born musician who was a member of the punk band, The Mekons, wrote a folk rock song called, “Drone Operator,” which captures how this new position affords soldiers the ability to go on living their lives while civilians in war zones have their lives transformed into ones of great misery and hell.
It opens with Langford singing about how a Drone Operator is not really a warrior:
I’m not really a soldier/I’m more likely to die/By car wreck or cancer than the eye in the sky/That follows them home, right into their window/And they never know/They never know
Acknowledging the power a Drone Operator has to execute anyone, Langford sings, “I’m like a god with a thunderbolt sitting on a big white cloud.” When mistakes are made, the drone operator faces no repercussions and can go drink it off, “It didn’t look like a wedding, it really wasn’t my call/When it all was over, I went to a bar, drank beer and watched basketball.” And the Operator’s job is even more depraved, because as Langford sings in the beginning and at the end of the song, the Operator’s Eye in the Sky will follow his targets and they’ll never know they were chosen to be killed.
“You’ll never know/You’ll never know.”
Here’s the song:
The Dissenter will be putting one of these up every weekday morning. If you have suggestions for songs that should be featured or if you recorded a song you think should be featured, email firstname.lastname@example.org.