APEC Dinner Gets "Occupied"

SOURCE: Shannon Rudolph (shannonkona@gmail.com) SUBHEAD: Within secure zone, Makana sings on behalf of the 99% to a slack jawed group of dining world leaders.  

By Andy Bishbaum on 13 November 2011 for Yes Labs -  

Image above: Makana reveals his newly hand printed "Occupy with Aloha" tee-shirt used during his performance. More photos at original article.

A change in the programmed entertainment at last night's Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) gala left a few world leaders slack-jawed, though most seemed not to notice that anything was amiss. During the gala dinner, renowned Hawaiian guitarist Makana, who performed at the White House in 2009, opened his suit jacket to reveal a home-made “Occupy with Aloha” T-shirt.

Then, instead of playing the expected instrumental background music, he spent almost 45 minutes repeatedly singing his protest ballad released earlier that day. The ballad, called “We Are the Many,” includes lines such as “The lobbyists at Washington do gnaw.... And until they are purged, we won't withdraw,” and ends with the refrain: “We'll occupy the streets, we'll occupy the courts, we'll occupy the offices of you, till you do the bidding of the many, not the few.”

 Video above: Makana sang "We Are The Many" for 45 minutes at dinner with Barrack Obama. From original article (http://youtu.be/H-M07v8N_eU).  
We Are The Many Ye come here, gather 'round the stage  
The time has come for us to voice our rage 
Against the ones who've trapped us in a cage 
To steal from us the value of our wage 
 From underneath the vestiture of law  
The lobbyists at Washington do gnaw  
At liberty, the bureaucrats guffaw  
And until they are purged, we won't withdraw  
We'll occupy the streets  
We'll occupy the courts  
We'll occupy the offices of you  
Till you do 
The bidding of the many, not the few 
 Our nation was built upon the right 
 Of every person to improve their plight  
But laws of this Republic they rewrite  
And now a few own everything in sight  
They own it free of liability  
They own, but they are not like you and me  
Their influence dictates legality  
And until they are stopped we are not free  
We'll occupy the street We'll occupy the court
We'll occupy the offices of you  
Till you do  
The bidding of the many, not the few  
You enforce your monopolies with guns  
While sacrificing our daughters and sons  
But certain things belong to everyone 
Your thievery has left the people none  
So take heed of our notice to redress  
We have little to lose, we must confess  
Your empty words do leave us unimpressed  
A growing number join us in protest  
We occupy the streets  
We occupy the courts  
We occupy the offices of you  
Till you do 
The bidding of the many, not the few  
You can't divide us into sides  
And from our gaze, you cannot hide  
Denial serves to amplify  
And our allegiance you can't buy  
Our government is not for sale  
The banks do not deserve a bail  
We will not reward those who fail  
We will not move till we prevail  
We'll occupy the streets  
We'll occupy the courts  
We'll occupy the offices of you  
Till you do  
The bidding of the many, not the few  
We'll occupy the streets  
We'll occupy the courts  
We'll occupy the offices of you  
Till you do  
The bidding of the many, not the few 
 We are the many You are the few 
Those who could hear Makana’s message included President Barack Obama of the United States of America, Hu Jintao of China, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of Indonesia, Prime Minister Stephen Harper of Canada, and over a dozen other heads of state. “At first, I was worried about playing ‘We Are The Many,’” said Makana.

“But I found it odd that I was afraid to sing a song I’d written, especially since I'd written it with these people in mind.” The gala was the most secure event of the summit. It was held inside the Hale Koa hotel, a 72-acre facility owned and controlled by the US Defense Department; the site was fortified with an additional three miles of fencing constructed solely for the APEC summit. Makana was surprised that no one objected to him playing the overtly critical song. “I just kept doing different versions,” he said. “I must’ve repeated ‘the bidding of the many, not the few’ at least 50 times, like a mantra. It was surreal and sobering.”

Makana’s new song is inspired by the Occupy Wall Street movement, which has taken root in cities worldwide. Last Saturday, eight protesters were arrested when they refused to leave the Occupy Honolulu encampment at Thomas Square Park. Occupy Honolulu has joined other groups, including Moana Nui, to protest the APEC meeting, and while Makana performed, hundreds of people protested outside.

After facing large-scale protests in South Korea, Australia, Peru, and Japan, APEC moved this year's event to Hawaii, the most isolated piece of land on earth. In preparation for the meeting, homeless families were moved out of sight and millions of taxpayer dollars were spent on security—including over $700,000 on non-lethal weapons for crowd control. In a bitter twist, the multi-million dollar security plans backfired when a local Hawaiian man was shot and killed by a 27-year-old DC-based federal agent providing security for dignitaries.

Makana’s action was assisted by the Yes Lab and Occupy the Boardroom. In recent weeks, Occupy protesters have been showing up at corporate events, headquarters and even on the doorsteps of those in power. “Makana really raised the bar by delivering the Occupy message inside what is probably the most secure place on the planet right now,” said Mike Bonanno of the Yes Lab. “My uncle taught me to feel out the audience and play what my heart tells me to,” said Makana. “That’s what I did tonight.”

• Lyrics and Music by Makana Contact: Mike Bonanno: music@yeslab.org, 917-209-3282 John Sweeney: hawaii@yeslab.org, 808-230-0799 

See also:
Ea O Ka Aina: APEC approach has doubters 11/8/11


1 comment :

leftygoleftier said...

Makana you are a righteous being and your action exhibited a profound bravery that few in that position would have the fortitude to excercise as so many allow the aura of power that surrounds our "supposed leaders" to overwhelm their sense of duty and real feelings when confronted with a similar circumstance. And that's what the powers that be count on when dealing with the public. They count on the intimidation factor of their position to quell the majority who are usually afraid to stand up and the speak their mind freely and honestly. You are my new favorite musician, and Ive never even heard your voice one time.

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