Saturday, June 7, 2014

Cat Stevens' Legacy

Cat Stevens
   Cat Stevens was recently inducted in the 2014 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.  He wrote songs that characterized the 60’s, an era when the teens awakened to the social issues and took to the streets to change the system.  That was when the Filipino college teens fought side by side with Berkeley students and other nations in the six o’clock news, singing the same songs, chanting the same slogans in different languages.  The protests were national but the issues were global, anti-war, freedom of speech, anti-corruption and pro-poor concerns.  

   Cat Stevens’ popular song Father and Son romanticized the struggle 

“All the times that I cried, keeping all the things I knew inside…
It's hard, but it's harder to ignore it. 
If they were right, I'd agree, but it's them you know not me.”  

and leaving home

“Now there's a way and I know that I have to go away”.  

   Thousands of Filipino college students of that era dropped out of school and left comfortable homes and caring families to donate their life and future to the struggle for National Democracy, as it was called at that time.  A lot of them died fighting for the change they wanted for the Filipino poor.  Most survived but did not manage to finish their college education, that ship has sailed.  

   The change did happen but was not accomplished solely by protesting.  The Vietnam War ended by some stroke of political fate.  The US Bases were removed from Philippine land by the Pinatubo Volcano eruption, something that probably took a hundred years to build up to.  The corruption in higher places was dealt with by Martial Law and the local police corruption was reduced by vigilantism called 'Sparrows'.  However the poor remained poor and the rich took their hidden wealth abroad.

   Cat Stevens probably had not planned on his song altering the lives of teens worldwide.  He sang it at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction with the same moving rendition that moved a generation some forty years prior.  The survivors of that generation now senior citizens listened and looked back for a few minutes on the glory of the 60’s when teens did not aspire to be drug dealers but dreamed of a heroes burial in people’s war fashion with the coffin draped in red flag and the funeral march attended by the masses they were fighting for.  

See also the following articles:

   Leadership, dated March 2013
   The Chicken, dated March 2013
   Jocar - In Memoriam, dated June 2013 

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