Friday, September 12, 2008

You Can't Blow Out A Fire

You can blow out a candle
But you can't blow out a fire
Once the flames begin to catch
The wind will blow it higher
-Peter Gabriel, "Biko"

Thirty-one years ago today, anti-apartheid activist Steve Biko died in police custody in Pretoria, South Africa. South African officials at first claimed that Biko's death resulted from a hunger strike. Later, they changed the story to a suicide attempt in order to explain his massive head injuries. World opinion was not swayed, and Biko's death drew international attention to the brutality and injustice of the apartheid regime. Twenty years later, in 1997, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission reported that five former police officers had confessed to beating Biko to death.

While the regime remained in power, Peter Gabriel closed concerts with his memorial anthem "Biko," exhorting the crowd to sing along with clenched fists raised. Friday's Choice is that song set to a montage of scenes from the 1987 film Cry Freedom, which starred Denzel Washington as Steve Biko:

1 comment:

Sylvia K said...

One would hope that we would have come futher than we have -- even if this was in South Africa. The same things have and I suspect are happening and many will never be known about. Thanks for the reminder, we all need those -- daily in these times where I can see racism returning with very little effort.