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Protest Song Of The Week: ‘The Rape Of The World’

America’s political class remains largely unmoved by the urgent need to radically alter society in order to curb the impacts of climate disruption. That much was clear as lobbyists and progressives appointed by Hillary Clinton opposed strengthening the Democratic Party platform to include support for a ban on natural gas fracking. They also refused to support keeping fossil fuels in the ground.

There is a moral imperative to no longer stand by and allow industries to extract resources, especially through highly destructive practices that damage the environment permanently. Singer Tracy Chapman poignantly articulated this imperative in her 1995 song, “The Rape Of The World.”

As Chapman describes, “This is the beginning of the end/This is the most heinous of crimes/This is the deadliest of sins/The greatest violation of all time.”

And yet, one should add, there are politicians who claim to care for the environment but believe it is possible to regulate—as Chapman would put it—the raping of the world.

Chapman appeals to all of humanity to consider our connection to the Earth. It is the, “Mother of us all/Place of our birth/We all are witness/To the rape of the world.”

Somewhere nearby a corporation or state-sponsored entity is wreaking havoc. The responsibility is on the people of those communities to take a stand.

To those with misconceptions about what they do by adorning the Earth with power plants, which expel toxins into the atmosphere, Chapman sings, “Some claim to have crowned her/A queen/With cities of concrete and steel.”

“But there is no glory no honor in what results from the rape of the world,” Chapman declares.

Clear-cut. Dumped on. Poisoned. Beaten up. These are all the abuses Mother Earth has endured.

More than twenty years later, there are undoubtedly environmental horrors which have been perpetrated by corporations and the political class, which Chapman did not contemplate when writing this song. However, her song is powerful enough to encapsulate the unforeseen. It still resonates now.

Humankind has a limited amount of time to stop the earth from dying or burning up to the point where it can barely sustain life any longer. Fortunately, there are hundreds of thousands of people, who have joined the climate movement. They recognize it is up to global citizens to do something to stop industries and their co-conspiring politicians from killing us all.

Like Chapman plainly states, we are all witnesses to the rape of the world, and Mother Earth is the mother of us all.


Are you an independent artist who has written and/or produced a protest song that you would like featured? Or do you have a favorite protest song? Submit a song to protestmusic@Shadowproof.com

Kevin Gosztola

Kevin Gosztola

Kevin Gosztola is managing editor of Shadowproof. He also produces and co-hosts the weekly podcast, "Unauthorized Disclosure."