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November 21, 2012

Protest Song of the Day: ‘Freedom for Palestine’ by OneWorld

Posted in: Protest Songs

To recognize the power of protest music, acknowledge its role in creating a culture of dissent and how musicians translate social issues and systemic problems into song, The Dissenter has launched a daily feature that highlights a protest song every weekday.

With a ceasefire announced today, Gaza residents are celebrating. There is a little hope amidst pain and suffering that there may be some kind of breakthrough and Israel might end the blockade of Gaza. So, today’s song is anthem released in July 3, 2011, called “Freedom for Palestine.”

The song is by OneWorld, which was a collective of artists that included Maxi Jazz (Faithless), Dave Randall (Slovo/Faithless), LSK, the Durban Gospel Choir, members of the London Community Gospel Choir, Jamie Catto (1 Giant Leap) and other musicians.

It has a vibe similar to Band Aid’s “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” or USA for Africa’s “We Are the World” because it is uplifting, and, as much as the song is a protest against current conditions in the Palestinian territory, it is a celebration of a possible future where Palestinians are able to enjoy freedom and justice.

The chorus is, “We’ll break down the wall/Freedom for Palestine/Demand justice for all/Freedom for Palestine.” Also repeated, “We are the people/And this is our time/Stand up/Sing out/For Palestine.” In the verses of the song, the “more than 6 million refugees,” who have been forced from their home are mentioned. Gaza is described as a “prison camp.” The apartheid wall that divides the West Bank is highlighted. Illegal occupation, violence and racial segregation is denounced. And the song calls for all religious communities to unite for freedom.

The song stirred controversy when it was released. The musical group Coldplay posted it on their Facebook page because they had friends involved in the project. But, according to Frank Barat of OneWorld, “Facebook removed the link because thousands of people (and computer generated posts) reported it as abusive.”

Archbishop Desmond Tutu endorsed the song with a video where he declared, “Through music and art, we speak to a common humanity, one which transcends political and economic interests. For this, I am proud to support ‘Freedom for Palestine’ by OneWorld. I urge everyone to buy this single and send spread its message. Let’s send a message to governments that a critical mass of people want to see an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestine and oppression of its people.”


If you have requests for songs that should be featured or if you have a protest song you recorded, which you would like to see featured, email [email protected] And all previous Protest Song of the Day selections can be found here.

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