Tuesday March 02, 2004

Almost nobody dares to criticize our neocon world rulers these days. That's why it's extra refreshing to see George Michael take a public stand against the loose cannon of the Labor Party, the lapdog of Washington and the destroyer of up to several buildings in downtown Baghdad, Tony Blair. George Michael is an aging popstar who as lead singer of Wham released several landmark pop albums in the 80's, which included such hits as Last Christmas and Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go. But somehow, reading his expert take on the Blair regime, I suspect his best work is still ahead of him:

George Michael describes the prime minister of Great Britain, Tony Blair, as "dangerous", in a new interview in the magazine The Big Issue, which is published on behalf of and sold by homeless people in London. - Globally speaking I think he's a dangerous man. Tony Blair thinks he knows best, but he can't live up to his own ego. [..] I can't imagine what it feels like for parents who have lost their children to hear Tony Blair's pathetic statements about how he believes the world is now a safer place. That shows a lack of respect.

Yes - consider Saddam Hussein, who lost both his sons in a treacherous attack by American special forces. Winning an uconstitutional, illegal war for oil wasn't enough for these guys? They had to punish the family of their enemies as well? It's behavior typical of regimes the US doesn't like to compare itself with, regimes that would be insulted if it did. And that's not even half of it. Consider the explosion in unemployment since most of Iraq's government was dismantled - how many children of former security officers will that kill? Or consider crime: The streets of Baghdad used to be safe. Now hardly a day goes by without parents losing their children in terrorist attacks inspired by Tony Blair. How does he sleep at night, knowing all this?

George Michael takes a considerable risk by speaking this openly:

This isn't the first time the singer kicks hard against the powers that be. In the music video "Shoot the Dog" in 2002, he portrayed Blair as the poodle of president George W. Bush. The single, which Michael himself called a political satire, flopped. - That single is the most political thing I've ever done. The risks I'm taking are enormous and completely unnecessary, George said before it was launched.

The descent on hit lists two years ago apparently doesn't frighten the popstar from criticizing again - just before his new record is released.

Some risks indeed. Life for the subversive artist has never been easy, but there's a reason they call this kind of art avant-garde: It's typically years ahead of what ordinary people can comprehend. In the future, I'm sure we'll all look back on such singles as Shoot the Dog as visionary (even prophetic?) displays of artistic bravery. Don't worry, George, your contemporaries may not understand you, but history will admire your sacrifice.