Editor's note: This contribution by the late journalist I.F. Stone first appeared in our January 1975 magazine.
This is our time.
People are rising up, from Tottenham, Tahrir, Madison, Madrid, Johannesburg to Jerusalem, Santiago to Sana’a.
We have to be the change every generation before dreamt of but never achieved. We have to reach across borders, and non-violently take a stand for that dream to make it a reality.
We need to raise a chorus in hip-hop, folk, rap, rock, punk, and country to bring our world together in a song united.
We have to take a stand now.
This album is intended to help build a nonviolent international movement for a more equitable society.
“Take A Stand” isn’t just a song, it’s a mission: the creation of a distribution network and broadcast platform for the music of our international movement. difrent: a one-stop for music for social change, a place where youth singing out with optimism for the change we need to see, for the better world that we must be, will be heard and not silenced.
When my first album Now’s The Time came out in 1999, it raised a clamor seeking to unite people across borders leading up to the World Trade demonstrations in Seattle later that year, yet our vision had not matured. My next album, “Proclaiming Jubilee,” a pop album aimed at preempting imminent global unrest, was shelved by a monopolized music industry that insisted “people don’t want lyrics about a better world.” It never came out.
On the 1-year anniversary of 9/11, my antiwar song “The Bell” circumvented the industry to become the first viral protest mp3/video ever. But I was blacklisted, barely able to tour or make a living from my art, unable to stop the bombs raining down on my family in Iraq. By the time the call for freedom began rising up in Tunisia and Egypt this January and I released Aheb Aisht Al Huriyah, a global majority understood the universality of the crisis, understood that we must commit to non-violence to unite people across every political, ethnic, religious, and musical border for change.
It never was an Arab Spring. It is a global one.
Now, we cannot be silenced. We must raise our voices in unison and be heard. We must take a stand.