More musos attack Reclaim racists for misuse of their songs

Goanna frontman Shane Howard released an open letter slamming Reclaim Australia for playing the group's hit 'Solid Rock', which
Friday, July 24, 2015

In the aftermath of Cold Chisel frontman Jimmy Barnes' Facebook statement asking the far-right Reclaim Australia movement to stop playing his songs at their rallies, other musicians whose songs have featured have issued similar calls.

John Farnham, whose 1987 hit "Your The Voice" has featured at Reclaim events, labelled its use "disgusting". Other acts include Goanna's Shane Howard, Redgum's John Schumann, Men At Work's Colin Hay and Midnight Oil.

Country singer Lee Kernaghan, however, issued an ambiguious statement over theuse of his material, requesting anyone who uses his song "Spirit of the Anzacs" do so in a "respectful" fashion.

After the Midnight Oil's "Short Memory" was played at a recent reclaim Australia rally in Adelaide, the famously left-wing, anti-racist band said in a statement to Fairfax media: "We ask that no Midnight Oil songs are played or used by the organisation. We are in favour of a tolerant Australia, made up of many cultures."

Schumann issued a statement condemning the use of his anti-war anthem "I Was Only 19" after the first round of Reclaim rallies in April. he said the song was about compassion, tolerance and inclusiveness.

Howard, meanwhile, issued an open letter on the use of Goanna's song "Solid Ground", which condemns the injustices suffered by Aboriginal people.

The open letter reads: "It was brought to my attention that recent Reclaim Australia rallies had been playing my song, Solid Rock, Sacred Ground, recorded by my band Goanna.

"I want to make it absolutely clear that this is an unacceptable use of a song that was meant to inspire Australians to look deeper into the historical racism and injustices suffered by Aboriginal Australia at the hands of Settler Culture since 1788. Since its release in 1982, much has changed in Australia, for the better and Aboriginal Australia now has a voice and a seat at the table of national affairs, that was so long denied. There are also anti-discrimination laws to protect Aboriginal people and others, from racial vilification.

"We have an unfortunate history of racism in Australia. We were a deeply racist country for much of our history and you could be forgiven for thinking that racism was something we had now left behind us. I'm generalizing here but in the mid-1800's, we were racist towards the Chinese, whose history in Australia is as old as that of the Scots or the Irish. We went on to discriminate against Italians, Greeks, Vietnamese and anybody who came to our shores and was different.

"Now, I fear that Reclaim Australia are encouraging racism, (or religious intolerance), against Muslims. Very few Muslims support IS or violent jihad concepts. Most Muslims, like the rest of Australians, want to lead peaceful, fulfilled lives and raise their families in a tolerant, pluralistic, society. There will always be an extreme few who use misguided notions of violence to achieve outcomes.

"I love our diverse and multicultural society, its openness and tolerance. The many cultures who have come to these shores have brought the wealth and treasures of their own rich cultural history and they have all enriched our Australian identity; the music, the food, the ideas, the trade opportunities.

"This was an Aboriginal country, for tens of thousands of years and the early colonial settlement of this country brought much misery to Aboriginal Australia. Aboriginal people are only recently in the early stages of recovery from the brutality of the racism that they had to endure, for too long. There is still a long way to go.

"Martin Luther King said, 'Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere'. We should remain vigilant but at the same time, tolerant and non-violent in the expression of our opinions. Reclaim Australia's confused vision of what Australia is, or should be, is not my vision. I have no idea who they are trying to Reclaim Australia for? Such distorted feelings and actions belong to a handful of people who seem insecure about their own identity. Working to find our common identity and shared destiny, in this remarkable Aboriginal cultural reality is a more powerful, peaceful and rewarding way forward."

"I ask that my song, Solid Rock, Sacred Ground, not be used at such rallies."

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