Kudos to Hawaiian singer Makana for having the balls to perform his protest song “We Are The Many” — while wearing a shirt proclaiming “Occupy with Aloha” — in front of President Obama and other world leaders gathered at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Honolulu.
Makana explains (followed by the full music video at 5:24):
I found it odd that I was afraid to do it at first. I found that disturbing; that’s kind of why I did it. I didn’t like the idea of being afraid to sing a song that I created. I’ve never in my life been afraid to sing anything. If that’s what we’ve come to in the world, where we’re afraid to say certain things in the company of certain people, I think that’s a dangerous place to be. And so, for me to move out of that space, I had to sing the song. And that’s what I did.
Bravo. And it was especially sweet that he was able to do this, in the very midst of the powerful elite, given the fact that the summit was held in Hawaii precisely to avoid this kind of sentiment and confrontation:
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.
You can’t silence or distance yourself from the voice of the public — not forever. When people want badly enough to speak truth to power, they’ll find a way.