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2001-05-07

Ani Difranco, Part II: Radical Musician Ani Difranco Discusses Anti-Vietnam War Activism,Ralph Nader and the Green Party, and Music and Social Change

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The revelations concerning former Senator Bob Kerrey’s involvement in a massacre of Vietnamese villagers continue.

Former Senator Bob Kerrey, a Nebraskan who sought the Democratic presidential nomination in 1992 and has been talkedabout as a prospect for 2004, recently admitted— after a New York Times and 60 Minutes expose that a Navy SEALcombat mission he led during the Vietnam war was responsible for the shooting deaths of more than a dozen unarmedcivilians, mostly women and children. Kerrey maintains that his unit shot at villagers from 100 yards away, and onlyafter receiving enemy fire.

But today’s Washington Post reports that a former Viet Cong fighter who lives in the village, and two womenwho claim to have witnessed portions of the operation, described in interviews on Saturday a version of events verydifferent from Kerrey’s. One of the witnesses, Bui Thi Luom, who was 12 at the time, said the Americans ordered herand the 15 other people who were in the bunker to crawl out and sit together on the ground. Then, after admonishing awoman not to cough, the commandos opened fire from close range on the group, which included her grandmother, apregnant aunt and three younger siblings.

Today we’re going to hear about a woman who took a very different path from Bob Kerrey’s. As we conclude ourinterview with radical musician Ani DiFranco, we begin by talking about her Pete Seeger cover, a song about a Germanimmigrant who engaged in civil disobedience to try to stop a shipment of napalm.

Ani DiFranco is a songwriter, guitarist and vocalist. At 30, she has released 14 solo albums and produced manyothers. Refusing to bow to the power of record companies from the very beginning, she founded her own label at age19. Her latest album, released last month, is the double CD set, Revelling/Reckoning.

Guest:

  • Ani Difranco, vocalist, songwriter, guitarist.

CD:

  • DiFranco sings "My Name is Lisa Kalvelage," from Where Have All the Flowers Gone: The Songs of Pete Seeger(1998).

Live:

  • DiFranco sings "Fuel," from Little Plastic Castle (1998).
  • DiFranco sings "Swan Dive," from Little Plastic Castle (1998).

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