Shanti Sena Stories: Music is powerful resistance
CPT Editor and Social Media Manager
28 January 2022
The other day we watched the movie Guava Island. Set in a fictional tropical paradise as alluded to in its title, the film in its short 55 minutes moves quickly from utopia to capitalist oppression and life-threatening resistance. The thread that ties the community together is Danny Glover’s sweet vocals riding the radio waves, through sweat shops, among the alleyways, and across the port.
The reviews for Guava Island are largely feel-good; praising the musical comedy for it’s light-hearted anti-capitalist dig to the tune of steel drums and flowery unbuttoned shirt tails flapping in the salty wind.
The film certainly does offer a beautiful image of music as resistance but there will still be a price to pay. It immediately reminded me of prices our partners pay.
In Las Pavas, Colombia, the farmers sing songs of freedom, in the face of palm oil companies who not only threaten their lives but the health of the soil for future generations. And yet they sing.
Indigenous peoples across Turtle Island beat their drums, the heartbeat proof of survival of genocidal practices and policies from the occupying colonial governments. Despite the ongoing police violence and criminalization of Indigenous land defence movements, the drum continues to resound.
In al-Khalil/Hebron recently, a music festival in the old city was interrupted by the weekly setter incursion, where dozens of illegal Israeli settlers enter into the Palestinian marketplace surrounded by dozens of Israeli military in order to assert their power over Palestinian daily life. But this day was different. The musicians refused to stop playing, asserting their own right to movement and existence in their space. After several attempts to silence the music, the settlers and soldiers returned to their side without continuing the tour. The show must go on
Music is powerful resistance. And with it comes the responsibility to recognize the costly reality of this commitment.