We speak with Iraqi-American singer-songwriter and activist Stephan Said, who joined Occupy Wall Street after working with the the antiwar movement since the 1990s. “I have been raised an all-American guy who had to deal with the fact that my family was being bombed in the first and biggest war of globalization,” says Said. “I had to realize from the very beginning that the only way to stop it was to create this movement that all humanity has always waited for, for a more equal world.” He also performs his song “Take a Stand,” from his new album. [includes rush transcript]
AMY GOODMAN: I think I see Stephan Said tuning up here. Stephan, if you might come over. He’s got his guitar. I saw him the other night at the major union march, tens of thousands of people here. He was playing. It’s not the first time you’re here, Stephan.
STEPHAN SAID: No, I’ve been happy to be here every single time I’ve been here and to see it grow, especially just—not just over the last three or four weeks, but we’ve known that this is a movement that’s been building since the late ’90s, that is coincident with a global consensus that we need a systemic change to the global economy to create a more equal world.
AMY GOODMAN: Talk about your background.
STEPHAN SAID: I’m Iraqi American, and I have been raised, you know, an all-American guy who had to deal with the fact that my family was being bombed in the first and biggest war of globalization, and had to realize from the very beginning that the only way to stop it was to create this movement that all humanity has always waited for, for a more equal world. And I knew there was nothing short of it that could stop war at this point. So that’s what all my work has been about. And my new album that just came out, that you might have seen, that The Progressive published the liner notes, where there’s a statement calling for—to integrate the global movements from Sana’a in Egypt and to Madrid and to the U.S., came out just the week before Wall Street started. So it’s—I’m just happy to see all this happening and coming to the fore.
AMY GOODMAN: Well, why don’t we break right now, and we’ll be back, as Stephan Said sings his song. What are you going to sing for us?
STEPHAN SAID: I’m going to sing “Take a Stand.” It’s a global, like, rap, sung-rap anthem about uniting the world for that great movement we’ve all waited for. So that’s what it’s about.
[singing] Here comes the cacophony polyphony the great big symphony
Bright light shining through the night of misery
Song ringing ’round the world about unity
We all know that we’re all one family
A couple billion leaves growin’ on the same tree
All we ever wanted was to be free
Can someone please help me with some harmony?
’Cause I wrote a little song you can sing along
With words so easy it won’t take you long
No matter how you sing you can’t go wrong
'Cause the melody's easy and the backbeat’s strong
It’s OK, it’s OK
We’re gonna make it through the day together
Take a stand, take a stand, take a stand
In every land, ’cause we all want the same thing
Just to be free
So take my hand and take a stand
Yeah, take a stand
AMY GOODMAN: That was Stephan Said playing [“Take a Stand.”]