An international crisis demands an international response. Bystander (USA) approached Dagger (Hong Kong) about unifying east and west in a song responding to Covid-19 and the lack of response, the misdirection, denial, the outright racism, or indirect murder being committed by each country’s respective governments. Dagger’s recent posts about the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) suppressing information, jailing doctors and journalists, going after pro-democracy activists and lawmakers, encouraging immense police brutality against protestors, inspired the idea for the collaboration. The Trump Administration’s lack of response and support of racist messaging to Covid-19, and the ongoing struggle for the people of Hong Kong propelled that idea forward.
The two bands have co-released Guillotine, a single song made up of two parts; one from each band, with each group of musicians contributing to the other.
The concept behind “Guillotine” is simple. The blade waits for one of us, and who ends up with their neck exposed as the blade comes slicing down is either going to be the politicians who are using this crisis to solidify their positions of power, or it is going to be us through our inaction. In Dagger’s case, it is going to be the people of Hong Kong who have valiantly been fighting on the streets since June 2019 against an oppressive regime. The guillotine is a metaphor for removing these people from office. It can be taken however the listener chooses. This is not music for the sake of music. It is music to inspire action. When the world is threatening us, and governments are exacerbating and enhancing the threat to the level of action, the only proper response is an equal or opposite force. It is for brave souls to decide what that force will look like. It is for the brave souls who have given up their lives and youth already in order to protect their homes. Their sacrifice will never be forgotten.
NOTE: Language is a tool and a weapon. The song starts with a call out of Donald Trump’s explicit racism and inciting racial tension through the use of the term “Chinese virus”. In the United States, this is seen as a direct attack on China, a diversion of responsibility from his own failings, and a call to his followers to support his anti-foreigner agenda. In Hong Kong, however, activists hail the use of the term “Chinese virus” as its use calls out the Chinese Communist Party and labels them responsible for what has happened through their diversion away from the truth, their covert manipulation of the news, and their betrayal of the people. Believe nothing, listen to no one, and create your own reality based on what you see and know.
You can download the song at the Bandcamp link below and pay what you want. All proceeds from the sale of this song will benefit Doctors Without Borders (https://www.doctorswithoutborders.org)
Bystander by Robert Wallace
Dagger by Keith Dador
Hong Kong protest by Lam Yik Fei