“Porque cuando la tiranía es ley, la revolución es orden”.
(“Because when tyranny is law, revolution is command.”)
Since we are now coming back from Spring Break, and my poor Puertorican self was unable to go back home and enjoy some relaxation on the beach (the first time in many years), I am honoring one of my favorite artists: Calle 13.
Though they talk about a wide variety of topics, the band really hits the spot when rapping about injustice and political and social problems in their music. The lyric above is taken from the song “Adentro,” and the whole of the track narrates a story of the artist, Residente, addressing an unnamed figure who thinks himself holier than thou, and in this mindset, fails to take into account all of the things wrong with that state of mind that lead to what is wrong with this world. Residente assures he is no angel either, and even gives the opponent ammo to shoot him with, but, in the end, that is pointless, for the rapper has laid his life’s failures out on the line.
I chose this specific lyric because I believe it pertains to the current state of our society. In Puerto Rico, a current crisis with the educational system is taking place. Money is being revoked from funding, teachers are being removed, students are striking, the most important university in the Caribbean is looming to be dismantled, and everything is looking bleak. Even here, with the Trump administration, a plethora of issues with long-term negative effects are arising because of the reforms the man wants to implement. Things are happening.
The structure of the sentence can easily be interpreted as a matter of cause and effect.
‘Because X, then Y.’
It is something that has to happen because of strife, trouble and conflict. I read the sentence, because of the way it is written, as an event that has to take place, something obligatory (“If this is what is happening, this is what we must we do”). The lyric is also constructed so simply that it says a thousand words in a handful. The message easily reads.
The word choices, furthermore, strengthen the message. The tyranny law is characterized by a violation of basic rights and a malpractice of authority. When this is something that takes place, a revolution is in order, sneaking from the shadows, searching for what is right and just. A revolution is a call for change in authority of a short duration; it is basically the people’s uprise. Though perceived as riotous or dangerous by some, a revolution is the necessary decree in many a political situation across the globe.
I think it is the natural way of life. If you don’t like something, you have the right to change it. If something’s not right, it is within your power to find those who support your opinion and raise your voice. As Hamilton: An American Musical so expertly put it, “If you stand for nothing… What will you fall for?”