-- Political Issues: Mozambique --
This page archives comments by Bruce Cockburn on issues raised by his experiences in Mozambique.
18 January 1996 - Commenting on how he got involved with Mozambique
[Interviewer is Bill Locey.]
Bill Locey: How did you get involved with Mozambique?
BC: I was first asked to go there in 1988 as a guest of a consortium
of Canadian development agencies. At that time, there was air travel between
the cities, and everything else was a free-fire zone. I was there in September,
and even though the war is over, the threat of land mines remains.
BC: As of today, 62 countries in the world have significant land mine
problems. The reason for my recent trip was to try to get the international
community involved in solving this land mine problem. A lot needs to be
done, but almost nothing got done.
BC: Countries such as England and the United States flat refused to
quit making land mines, but Belgium, one of the larger producers of land
mines, has quit making them entirely. In most countries, an individual can
get involved with groups that are dealing with this issue.
-- from "Cockburn Still Quick to Pursue a Good Cause-
The Canadian musician will perform at Voters for Choice benefit. On the
global front, he's been crusading against use of land mines." by Bill Locey, Los Angeles Times, p. F-1A, January 18, 1996.
[Interviewer is J. Eric Smith.]
J.Eric Smith: I asked him how the cessation of hostilities and Mozambique's fledgling democracy were impacting life there. Cockburn did not paint a hopeful picture.
BC: "From the point of view of someone living in Mozambique things are about as
bad as they can get," he noted, "and the only good thing is that they aren't
actively fighting each other. After 500 years of colonialism and 25 years of
war we're seeing the beginning of a new Mozambique, but unfortunately it's
turning into a case-in-point of third world re-colonization... by the World
Bank, the International Monetary Fund and other comparable agencies and
interests. Instead of going in with military superiority we're now going in
with financial superiority--and because things are so chaotic there,
opportunities for corruption are rife. You can see that certain outside
interests are taking advantage of that, many of them the same Portuguese and
South African elements that Mozambique fought a revolution to get rid of."
-- from "Interview with Bruce Cockburn", by J. Eric Smith, 1996.
18 January 1997 - Commenting on the issues the drew him to Mozambique
[Interviewer is Scott Simon]
Scott Simon: You've been to Mozambique on at least of a couple of occasions.
BC: Yeah, twice.
SS: What was it that brought you to Mozambique twice?
BC: I was asked to go in '88 by a Canadian, a consortium of Canadian
NGOs, development agencies, that were starting up a project there.
SS: NGOs are non-governmental organizations...
SS: ... who provide international aid.
BC: Anyway, that -- there was a group of them that had banded together
to work on a particular project in Mozambique that in '88 involved feeding
people because there were huge numbers of displaced people as a result of
the civil war that was going on in that country.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
In '95 -- in the fall of '95 when I went, it was the same organization that
invited me to go. They've now reached the point where they're hoping to turn
the work over the Mozambiqean people but that process is going a little bit
slower than they want and part of the problem, a very major part of the
problem, is the presence of land mines.
And the idea was for me to go and bear witness to the effect of the presence
of land mines on a process of reconstruction such as that. And that trip was
followed by a speaking tour across Canada which I think actually worked out
It was the first big airing of that issue in Canada and subsequently, as you
know, our government is spearheading an international move to construct a
treaty around that.
-- "An interview with singer/songwriter Bruce Cockburn. His new album
is called "The Charity of Night", Weekend Saturday, National Public Radio, interviewed by Scott Simon, 18, January, 1997.
January 1997 - On being drawn into Mozambique by its people
Songs like The Mines Of Mozambique have a history behind them. I went to Mozambique as a representative for a Canadian organization, to study the
territory and the local situation. I was supposed to write a report for a magazine. When I arrived there, I was very fortunate to meet people who almost immediately showed me what was going on. The people I met made me aware of their lifestyle and of their culture and of the actual situation. The songs I wrote there don't have a precise story, they are descriptive and
meditative songs. Mozambique is a very distinctive country, with a soul of its own.
-- from "Bruce Cockburn - Night Visions," by Paolo Caru, Buscadero No. 176, January 1997.
27 July 2000 - Commenting on his trip to Mozambique and taking a stand
"You have to decide whether you want to take a stand or not," he said. "To
me it can be a legitimate decision if you decide to take a stance of
noninvolvement. But it has to be a deliberate choice and you must realize
the implications. I've learned that I have to pay attention to what's going
on in the world. I feel a responsibility as a human being to be aware of as
much of the human experience as I can and to share as much of it as I can."
-- from The North Coast Journal, Taking a Stand, by Bob Doran, July 27, 2000.
Submitted by Bobbi Wisby.
16 October 2000 - Commenting upon his travels to Mozambique and the use of landmines
"In 1988, I went to Mozambique for the first time in behalf of Canadian
NGO's who pooled their resources to provide for the displaced from the
North - displaced from years of civil war. My job was to observe and then
speak about it at home. I came back and made speeches and did a magazine
No songs came out of that because my energy went to the speeches. Then
years later I went back, and now the war was over but the people couldn't
get back on the land because of the danger of land mines. I went there and
met people who had suffered."
-- from the Institute for Policy Studies', 24th Annual Letelier-Moffitt Human Rights
Awards, 16 October, 2000. Transcribed by Ruth White.
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This page is part of The Cockburn Project, a unique website that exists to document the work of Canadian singer-songwriter and musician Bruce Cockburn. The Project archives self-commentary by Cockburn on his songs and music, and supplements this core part of the website with news, tour dates, and other current information.