FELA KUTI - BEASTS OF NO NATION

FELA KUTI - BEASTS OF NO NATION

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Beast of No Nation is the first song Fela wrote in 1986, after he was liberated from prison Ì_̍serving two years from a five year prison sentence for trumped-up foreign currency violation charges.

Everywhere he went after his release, people were asking him what he was going to sing about. People wanted to hear him sing about his prison experience, like he had done with the songs like: Alagbon Close and Expensive Shit. Finally, he decided to sing about the world we live in with particular reference to Nigeria. He said when he was in prison he called it 'Inside World', out of prison he called it 'Outside World'. But for him it is actually 'Craze World'. Otherwise, what name can one give a world with police brutality, army oppression, courts without justice, magistrates who are supposed to uphold the law? As further proof of the craze world, he sings about the judge who sent him to jail for five years on a trumped up charge, only for the same judge to visit Fela in a prison hospital two years after. The judge apologized, claiming he was under pressure from the government to convict. This could only happen in a Craze World, Fela reasons.

In 1983, the Buhari/Idigabon military regime launched a public campaign dubbed 'War Against Indiscipline'. This was the regime's solution to corruption inherent in the Nigerian society. To justify this campaign, the Nigerian head of state, General Buhari used words like: 'my people are useless! My people are senseless! My people are undisciplined!'. For Fela, only in a craze world can such remarks be made. Moreover, such statements could only have come from an 'animal in human skin'.

How can people talk about 'individual' rights? No one has the right to deprive someone else of what belongs to the individual only an animal would try to take away another person's legitimate rights.

People who hear Fela say things like this reminded him that he was sent to prison for having such opinions of government.

1. Just Like That
2. Beasts of No Nation