Saturday, May 19, 2007

The Subhumans in Frankfurt

Meike Schubert arranged for another concert appearance for the IVAW German Expeditionary Team in Frankfurt Thursday night. The Subhumans are back together and back on the road, and they were kind enough to loan us their mic and their audience for a few minutes. Jeff Englehart was particularly stoked as a long-time fan of the Subhumans.

When we were backstage, Jeff got a chance to sit down with lead singer Dick Lucas. The Subhumans are a British band and they talked about the differences between the anti-war movements in the US and Britain. It seems that in Western Europe and increasingly in Eastern Europe, the movement has a lot more enthusiasm, and by comparison, Americans are apathetic and feel helpless. They also discussed the global implications of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the complicity of the world, especially Germany.

As Jeff said onstage, “The war is not an American problem, or a German problem, but a global problem.” Naturally, the G8 came up, as it was on the minds of many of the punks in attendance who are planning on protesting when it comes to the Heilegen Dam in June. And of course, Jeff also got to ask him about their new album, which they will start recording next week.

The crowd was authentic punk. You can still pick out the people who wash the gel out of their hair and put on a suit the next day, but there are a lot more with excessive piercings and serious mohawks and bihawks. In the US, I think the ratio is usually reversed. When we spoke, the crowd was very receptive. Dick called us up on stage and I introduced us in German. After I said that I had been in Fallujah, a British guy in the crowd handed me his beer and said, “Here you go mate. This will help you forget about it.”

Then Chris announced that he was an Army deserter and the crowd went nuts. Jeff spoke about German complicity in the war and the global implications. Then the British guy yelled, “No, it’s America’s problem!” And Jeff said, “No, it’s the world’s problem.” “It’s George Bush’s problem!” “No, it’s not just Bush. It’s bigger than that. It’s a systematic problem.”

After the show, I got to meet some young men from Yugoslavia who had left for Germany years ago because of the war. After listening to their stories, including that of one who had been randomly shot through the leg, I got a new sense of what it meant to be one of the “affected people.” I was struck by how much I had been one of the “affecting people,” and had been trapped in that typical American mentality. But more on that later.


Ronn said...

Good job! Things like this make me proud to be an American!

I look forward to meeting you one day!

SGT Ronn Cantu