Generations of Activists

Instant Karma – the Amnesty International campaign to save Darfur – is an album that was released this past June 5 that compiled of over 50 international musicians, uniting under the urgency in recognizing the problems millions of people of facing in central Africa and are doing so under the influence of one powerful drug: John Lennon’s music.

Just 40 years ago, hundreds of musicians not only produced the music that would one day lead in musical genius, but they also set out to inspire. They set out to stimulate the masses into taking action against corrupted government and to unite under one cultural agenda: freedom.

A human right is a phrase our generation has begun to take for granted; we lost the luster of challenging the goals deemed unachievable. Summer of 1967 was a year in which people claimed was the “Summer of Love,” or rather the eye of the storm just before Vietnam lashed out and sent in more of our troops and grew to be the nightmare we hear of today. A nightmare we are growing ever closer to, once again.

In 1967, musicians experimented with the power given to them, they experimented with the freedom to tap into the psychedelic world they lived in, and spoke directly through their words to the masses.

I guess what I am trying to say is that the musicians who gathered to create Instant Karma remind me that music is a powerful outlet of political power – for the people. One musician gives voice to thousands of people we have never seen and whose voices cannot reach us. Voices that are drowned out by certain unnecessary violence that I believe we could have avoided, or that I believed we could have helped – given the right leader. So when our leader fails, we call out to the masses through, well, music.

A few other CD compilations that were created to benefit the welfare of others while still entirely listenable included No Boundaries: A Benefit for Kosovar Refugees, which was my first contributing purchase in 1999. The album includes songs from Pearl Jam, Alanis Morissette, Sarah McLachlan, Ben Folds Five and Korn. In the 1985, Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie composed a single called “We are the World” with the help of Quincy Jones in production. The charity single helped relieve efforts in Ethiopia to save those suffering from famine. Another band rose to help Ethiopia in the ’80s called Band Aid who tapped into the Christmas market with their album, Do they know it’s Christmas? And finally, America: A Tribute to Heroes, came out in the aftermath of 9/11. The sincerity in its purpose and the united efforts between both young and old generations of musicians is a sentiment we all are aware of. These musicians save lives.

More on Instant Karma can be found at

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