Big Mountain ADD

Big Mountain Speak up - I and I Live in a Deportation Nation

11/21/2018 by Gardy Stein

Big Mountain Speak up - I and I Live in a Deportation Nation

A CNN news item entitled "Music that makes a difference: Group aims to raise awareness of border strife", which aired November 20, discusses the sad reality behind Big Mountain's new song and video Deportation Nation published on October 26th. In a live interview with lead singer Joaquin "Quino" McWhinney and Dr. John Marquez, a professor of Latin Studies at North-Western University, Chicago, who also appears in the video, they talk about the issues of border control, forced deportation and child separation which, in their opinion, have to stop immediately.

"We've always been activist from the very beginning." says Quino, explaining that even the band's name Big Mountain was inspired by a Native American reservation in Arizona where they held benefiz conerts to support the Navaho's struggle during forced displacement.

"We've always been conscious, that's what we believe Reggae music is all about. Staying provocative and giving the people the truth with music."

And their video for Deportation Nation is provocative indeed. In haunting words and pictures, they hold a mirror up to how inhumanely refugees and immigrants have been treated by the American Government, not only now but throughout history.

Quino: "I'm appalled every day at some of the things President Trump is using to get his base rallied up at the expense of human beings, people that are really suffering, people that really need help. The reason we did this song is to show solidarity with them!"

Dr. John Marquez adds: "It's a critique more of American history than it is of one particular president. There is a strong anti-brown undercurrent to American Nationalism that contradicts the heroic contributions that mexicano and centro-americano people have made toward the building and maintaining of this nation state. As artists, we feel that our work is to pull back the curtain on illusions through which immigrants are persecuted despite how much they have contributed, despite the sacrifices their families have made over time!"

With such badly needed inspiration for thought, Big Mountain hopefully set an example for others to follow. The time is overdue to put aside petty relationship struggles still dominating the charts and turn to the real problems our world is facing.

As Quino puts it: "The way Donald Trump is able to manipulate the news and stoke the fear of his supporters is really a shame. That's why we artists make the art that we make. If we want a better world, first it has to be imagined. That's what the responsibility of singers, painters and poets is – we are the ones to imagine a better world and then we hand it off to the people."

Scroll down to watch the full CNN interview!

Lyrics - Deportation Nation
I and I live in a deportation nation 
I did my time upon the big plantation
I had my spot but then my spot was taken,
my reality shaken

Now everyone’s talking
And history is watching
What will the angry man do?
When is he coming for you?

I brought the muscle, I built the nation
And then the system swallowed my pension

I raised the children
Taught them a language
Me never asked for nothing more

But I and I live in a deportation nation
That don’t want to hear about no civilization
So they can round up the population
With no explanation
Right in front of our face

I reject the diseased mindset of your civilization
Slave Plantation
Campesino Exploitation
Genocidal Extermination
And Mental colonization

First they came for the weakest among us
Those without a voice
That belong in the school bus
We let down the children
And history is watching
Bow your head down low
Don’t let the feeling go, no

Que pasa gringo, I’m your amigo
Under the table, Save some dinero

Don’t want no trouble, Todo tranquilo
Your’e the one who runs the show

And I and I stuck in the land of broken treaties
Where the nightmare just keeps on repeating
And all that’s sacred is disrespected and now the settlers have been infected

It is a land that needs to cry 
Needs a mama to hold
So much inside
The centuries of sorrow
The centuries of sorrow…

Lock our children in cages and they will reinvent our world
Redefine what it means to be a nation
You know not what you do
This steel is making us stronger
Our radical traditions are rooted in how we live and love otherwise
Despite you we bond with one another
Lock us up, deport or separate
And we still find ways to connect
And we love radically and insurgently
A love that burns with the power of the sun

I and I live in a deportation nation 
I did my time upon the big plantation
I had my spot but then my spot was taken, my reality shaken

Now everyone’s talking