Three songs about how white colonial people treated indigenous or black people:
Don't Drink the Water (Dave Matthews Band):
Written as the thoughts of a white colonist in frontier America, as he pushes the native Americans off their land, telling them "There's no place here ... not room for both, just room for me." The song ends with these devastating words:
"'Cause you're all dead now I live with my justice I live with my greedy need I live with no mercy I live with my frenzied feeding I live with my hatred I live with my jealousy I live with the notion That I don't need anyone but me
Don't drink the water There's blood in the water"
Blind Willie McTell (Bob Dylan)
Dylan starts by stating his thesis that America's prosperity is compromised: "Seen the arrow on the doorpost saying, 'This land is condemned, all the way from New Orleans to Jerusalem'" then quickly paints a series of scenes from the days of slavery. He ends with this conclusion:
"Well, God is in his heaven And we all want what's his But power and greed and corruptible seed Seem to be all that there is I'm gazing out the window Of the St. James Hotel And I know no one can sing the blues Like Blind Willie McTell"
Solid Rock (Goanna)
The white settlement in Australia from the viewpoint of indigenous Australians, who, understandably, feel betrayed:
"They were standin' on the shore one day, Saw the white sails in the sun Wasn't long before they felt the sting, white man, white law, white gun Don't tell me that it's justified, 'cause somewhere, someone lied Yeah well someone lied, someone lied, genocide Well someone lied."
Whenever I hear that song, I feel the raw sting of those words: "Someone lied".
Some people want to ignore our history, because they feel it wasn't our fault and only opens up negative thoughts. It wasn't our doing, but we can, and should, feel grief for the people our ancestors treated inhumanly, even if in ignorance.
Of course it is still happening today, as Indonesia invades and subjugates the people of Irian Jaya while the rest of the world finds it more convenient to look the other way.