Occasionally something happens, or you come across something, that snaps your head back and makes you just say "Wow." That happened a few months back for me when I came across the site put together by The Fire This Time.
Now anyone who has read anything I've written on a consistent basis will know that I'm pretty hard line when it comes to the issue of Native and Indigenous Peoples' rights. For me, benefit of the doubt is always ceded to the Native people. But if I thought Canada was bad, compared to how indigenous peoples are treated the rest of the world over, we're damn saintly.
We don't burn them alive in the streets for fun anymore, we've stopped appropriating their land, and have actually even started giving back some of what we stole. You can't give back the sense of pride in self and people that was stolen, but at least we can give back the means to hopefully develop a new pride in themselves. If the new government in Canada honours the commitments of the previous one, agreements reached in the last year with the provinces and First Nation leadership will go a long way to redressing that imbalance.
But from Fiji to Brazil, and Chile to Indonesia, there has been little or nothing done to redress the imbalances of the last 500 years, or more, of oppression. Homelands are still being given away or stolen with government complicity. Peoples are living lives of such poverty and desperation, it has earned them the honour of their own designation: Fourth World.
Aside from their living conditions, the biggest obstacle facing these people is the complete indifference of the world to their fate. Aside from the occasional celebrity using them as colourful backdrops for soon-to-be-forgotten photo shoots and press conferences, and the occasional "Indian Uprising" like the Zapata in Mexico, they pretty much fall into the category of 'out of sight, out of mind.'
The Fire This Time (TFTT) is seeking to change this. Using music, video, visual arts, and direct involvement with the affected communities and peoples, they are working to give the silenced a voice. IR2 (Indigenous Revolution) is the music project they have developed as a step in that direction.
It was a link from one of the participants in the IR2 project, the group Asian Dub Foundation, that led me to the TFTT site in the first place. Along with members of Asian Dub, some of the leaders of the Dub music scene from around the world have pooled their talents to create music and lyrics for this album.