Open Nations Prosper. Closed Ones Fall. Saul Williams on the Lessons of History.
Whether it's the refugee crisis, the rise of ISIS, or the global state of terror, the Western world is reaping what it has sown. Its response to these consequences will determine the course of the world moving forward.
Saul Williams is an American rapper, singer, songwriter, musician, poet, writer, and actor. He is known for his blend of poetry and alternative hip hop, and for his lead roles in the 1998 film Slam and Holler If Ya Hear Me, a Broadway musical featuring music by Tupac Shakur. As a writer, Williams has been published in The New York Times, Esquire, and SPIN. As a musician, Williams has released four studio albums, two of which were produced by Rick Rubin and Trent Reznor. Called "the poet laureate of hip-hop," Williams' latest collection of poetry is titled US (a.).
Saul Williams: Part of the reason the crisis refugees, especially if we’re talking about Syrian refugees, is complicated has a lot to do with our role in Iraq and Afghanistan. It has a lot to do with that. The birth of ISIS has a lot to do with our role in Iraq and Afghanistan and all of these, like, prisoners of war that we kept, you know, locked in prisons in these countries who had the time to plot and think and plan on a larger scale. And then the people that we funded. The weapons that we left. The money that we spent. In the same way that people like Osama Bin Laden used to be on an American payroll. In many ways this is some of our own stuff coming back to haunt us. Not just Americans, of course, because we’re talking about, you know, a global crisis so to speak. It’s very obvious why people want to leave Syria. I know it’s very confusing about whether, you know, we should be giving Assad money or which we should be backing whom or what have you. It’s complicated because of the underhanded way in which we have played the game.
The number of assassinations that U.S. money has been behind, the number of rebel groups that we have supported that have at some point turned on or against our interests or our best interests or against human interest. When you play the game that way, that’s what happens. So what do I think about that side of it? That’s what I think. I think it’s — what do you expect. Now in terms of people accepting and embracing refugees — yes, it has to happen. I mean that, for example, is I mean I think Barack (Obama) has agreed to accept like 10,000 over the next two years. I mean that’s what America is founded on. Of course when you look at Europe, Germany, it’s impossible to not go back to World War II. It’s impossible to not look at the fact that, you know, Germany is the superpower that they are right now and their role in the Euro has a lot to do with the fact that because they were not allowed to have an army, they were able to invest in other things.
And to develop other things, which gave them an economic stronghold that we now see them maneuvering. I look at 800,000 people that will be accepted into Germany and I think of the victims of the Holocaust and I go okay, well these many people were exterminated, these many people are now going to be accepted. I know I’m connecting weird dots here, but hey, I think it’s weirder to try to disconnect these dots, you know. Look at the irony. All the other countries are taking like 24,000. France is taking 24,000. Other countries 22, 24. Germany: 800,000, you know, which fills a big gap, right. Of course what we’re going to see there and what we could learn from is that that economy is going to grow and blossom as a result of the ingestion of those people. And that’s something that we always tend to forget is that with, you know, the arrival of new people, new energy there’s always new businesses, new markets and new things that occur. It’s not just unemployment. People want to work actually. People want to work. The reason why America is in the position that it is, is because of all of the — because of its diversity. Not because of the smart men who look alike who run it. But because of the diversity of the people. It’s because of the diversity of the people that all of these things, you know, have taken root and that we’ve been able to blossom the way that we have and the pushback is ludicrous.
Actor, poet, and musician Saul Williams riffs on global politics. The Western world is reaping what it has sown: refugees, global terrorism, ISIS, etc. These are all the present consequences of past actions. The manner in which we deal with these issues will determine the course of the world moving forward. The first thing that must be done is the welcoming of refugees from lands devastated by wars we instigated.
"The reason why America is in the position that it is, is because of its diversity. Not because of the smart men who look alike who run it. But because of the diversity of people. It’s because of the diversity of the people that all of these things have taken root and that we’ve been able to blossom the way that we have and the pushback [against including others] is ludicrous."
Williams' new book of poetry is titled US (a.).
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