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RMS Protest Song On Gitmo 500

An anonymous reader tipped us to a protest song RMS has written and recorded (while visiting Cuba) and is hosting on It's a sort of parody, although it's too serious really to be called that, in Spanish of the song "Guantanamera," in which a Gitmo prisoner talks about his experiences and mourns his fate. RMS wrote the lyrics in 2006 after learning what "Guantanamera" actually means. The lyrics are moving, and the recording, in Ogg, is competent — RMS sings well and he's got some amateur musicians from Cuba backing him up. Here are the lyrics and an English translation.
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RMS Protest Song On Gitmo

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  • by catbutt ( 469582 ) on Saturday April 21, 2007 @04:54PM (#18826183)
    but Ogg only?

    Yeah I know its RMS, so ideology wins over practicality. But I'd think AAC would be ok, and then it could be played with iTunes or whatever.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by QCompson ( 675963 )
      With the proper nG=Google+Search/ [] plugin, it seems you can easily enable itunes to play ogg.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Phroon ( 820247 )
      From the Xiph page:

      Xiph QuickTime Components (XiphQT) [] is, in short, the solution for Mac and Windows users who want to use Xiph formats in any QuickTime-based application, e.g. playing Ogg Vorbis in iTunes or producing Ogg Theora with iMovie.
      It lets you do exactly what you want to do, play Ogg in iTunes.
  • by Per Wigren ( 5315 ) on Saturday April 21, 2007 @04:54PM (#18826189) Homepage
    I was expecting something like this []...
  • A related movie (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dabadab ( 126782 ) on Saturday April 21, 2007 @04:56PM (#18826203)
    The Road to Guantanamo [] - about three British muslims who end up in Gitmo, get abused and then released.

  • i actually... (Score:2, Interesting)

    feel slightly better about the guy now... Don't ask me why.

    Not that I ever hated the guy, I only know what I read about him.

    Maybe if Bush recorded a protest song in a foreign language I would find his zealot-ous rhetoric easier to swallow.


    P.S. Hey... My first troll-bait post!!! *shakes his own hand*
    • I listened it on konqueror, not in the GNU/whatever app that plays ogg.

      But, hey, it also made him a much nicer person in my opinion. Almost everything I read about him concerns such fanatical debates that one forgets he is a human being. And his Spanish accent is not too bad, although he would need to polish a bit his "r" sounds.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      O'Reilly published a pretty good book by Stallman: 'Free as in Freedom' if you're interested in learning more about the man.
  • Disgusting (Score:2, Insightful)

    Let me get this straight. As long as Castro embraces software freedom, actual political freedom is irrelevant in Stallman's world.

    This is the same man who links to impeach Bush sites -- presumably not because of Bush's lack of embracing software freedom, though based on the current evidence, Stallman would forgive Bush for everything if he would embrace free software.

    • Political Freedom (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 21, 2007 @05:36PM (#18826497)
      "Let me get this straight. As long as Castro embraces software freedom, actual political freedom is irrelevant in Stallman's world."

      And who do you think is a good example of embracing freedom, if you were going to consider the USA, then consider the following points.
        - Doesn't recognize the democratically elected palistinian government as being legitimate
        - Recognize Pakistan's military dictatorship as legitimate.
        - Places domestic travel bans on its citizens
        - Limits travel to other countries (as mentioned above)
        - Spies on its own people without probable cause, (echlon/carnivore/whatever its called now, RFID ? )
        - Violates its own constitution (count the ways)
        - No longer has a clear separation from the judicial system (sacking bush unfriendly judges)
        - Highest imprisonment rate of any country per head of population
        - The government of some states kill their own people (capital punishment)

      Face it, "land of the free" is nothing more than a propaganda term.

      RMS isnt superman... solving all the worlds problems is too much for one person, maybe he just wants to concentrates on software freedom, doesnt mean he shouldnt express his views on other types of freedom.

      If you would expect RMS to keep silent about his views on political freedom, then can you honestly say you respect political freedom ?

      • by s20451 ( 410424 )
        Clearly you're right; all those Cubans floating across the Straits of Florida are risking their lives to let America know about the superiority of their system.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by mr_matticus ( 928346 )
        The Justice Department is an *executive* agency. The firing of federal attorneys is well within the purview of the White House. The *Judicial Branch* is still just as separate as it has been in a century (more spineless maybe, but that's not an institutional function).

        Executive appointments serve at the pleasure of the president. He can fire them whenever he wants. What's wrong here is that they tried to lie about WHY they were fired to avoid bad press and his already miserable cronyism. There's a mile
      • Re:Political Freedom (Score:4, Interesting)

        by dbIII ( 701233 ) on Saturday April 21, 2007 @09:51PM (#18828269)
        Ultimately the people in Cuba are more free than what they had before - comparing it to somewhere else is often fairly pointless. The USA has a childish attitude to Cuba becuase they ran it, let it get away through incompetance and most likely corruption and let it become such a mess (literally a gansters paradise) that a revolution with popular support occured. The odd relationship where GITMO is based there and Cuban imports are still prohibited but their cigars even end up in odd places in the White House is all really about appearance and "sending a message". It's all old news and time for US policy to grow up - you will not change anything by ignoring it or by complaining that something as old and irrelevant as losing a place that the USA went to war with Spain over is a big deal.
    • Actually I'd go so far as branding it human freedom, which Cubans mostly lack.
    • Re:Disgusting (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Chandon Seldon ( 43083 ) on Saturday April 21, 2007 @05:49PM (#18826583) Homepage

      Stallman isn't supporting Castro, he's just shitting on Bush more. The fact that Cuba isn't the bastion of human rights doesn't reduce the severity of the United States - the most powerful single country in the world - having questionable human rights practices.

      Stallman is always very careful about what he says in cases like this. Don't put words in his mouth, find out what he's actually said and respond to that.

  • How about a song for the thousands of victims tortured and killed under Castro's regime? [] You know, the people who weren't imprisioned for involvement in terrorism, but for such "crimes" as running an unauthorized library [] or demonstrating for democracy? [] Where are their songs?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      How about a song for the thousands of victims tortured and killed under Castro's regime?

      As soon as you record one, I'll be here to complain that you didn't also make a song about the millions of victims of the United Stated/North Korea/China/Great Britain/France/whatever. Let's face it: Nearly every country has blood on its hands and all countries, including industrialized ones, still violate various human rights. For example, human rights include a right to work, "just and favourable" conditions at work,

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Plutonite ( 999141 )
        This is a common fallacy. You are assuming that since everybody is dirty, the scales level out. That's simply not true. RMS has written his cute little song, and when he gets back home he will probably not get thrown in jail, tortured and and made to confess that he is a traitor. If he was Cuban, the situation would've been different. Your attempt at making equal that violations of certain Free countries with the base policies that are a governmental NORM in totalitarian ones, is BS. Remember that the machi
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by muszek ( 882567 )
          You forget one thing... RMS is not a man of compromise. He doesn't make decisions based on the resulting change to FOSS' image in the eyes of wider public. That's one thing.

          Another one is that while it (lack of compromise) sometimes hurts the movement, IMO it's necessary. In the same way we need Debian purists. Part of Ubuntu's success is in going for the compromise (example: proprietary drivers) whenever it gives considerable advantages for the user. But without purists, the community would go for
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          RMS is holding his own government to account. I'm not seeing the problem with that. And you're right, there are worse things he could be protesting about, but the fact his own government is involved in this particular abuse is a very good reason for him to prioritize it.

    • by IgnoramusMaximus ( 692000 ) on Saturday April 21, 2007 @05:34PM (#18826473)

      How about a song for the thousands of victims tortured and killed under Castro's regime? You know, the people who weren't imprisioned for involvement in terrorism, but for such "crimes" as running an unauthorized library or demonstrating for democracy? Where are their songs?

      I would caution you to take these reports with a grain of salt unless there is some other hard evidence to support them. The same kind of stuff was coming out of Eastern Europe in the 1980s and much of it turned out to be a fabrication. Cuban "commies" were always on the mild end of the spectrum, when compared to, say, China, whom apparently we are supposed to measure with a wholly different measure because they make golf-balls for Wal-Mart.

      So don't become a tool for some rabid Cuban exile land-owner who would play the world's smalles violin about human rights abuses in Cuba only to promptly abuse everyone in his path should he manage to get his paws back on the island.

      This is precisely what happened in the Eastern Europe where the Solidarity used to broadcast "shocking" reports by rebellious reporters about how well off the top members of the socialist government were: "Two! count em! Two 4-room apartaments!! Outrage!!". Of course as soon as the "freedom loving capitalists" took over, some of the former historical palaces of the nobility which have been designated as museums became houses of some of the same ex-Solidarity members who bemoaned the wretched inequality of the "commies".

      Buyer beware.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        There are independent Human Rights organizations that can be consulted for the truth about the deplorable prison conditions in Cuba and the Political dissidents housed in said prisons.

        You're throwing up a 'deflector shield' in the form of counter-red-baiting. You should honestly be ashamed of yourself. Remember: the Kremlin archives were opened up to journalists for long enough during the initial period of post-Soviet Russia, and many of the accusations made by western anti-Communists were definitely pro
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by pr0nboy ( 586716 )

        I would caution you to take these reports with a grain of salt unless there is some other hard evidence to support them.
        The same certainly goes with the uncorroborated claims of abuse and torture coming out of Guantanamo, no?
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          The same certainly goes with the uncorroborated claims of abuse and torture coming out of Guantanamo, no?

          Pretty much. Keep in mind however that unlike Castro's, Bush's administration is on record speaking of applying torture and otherwise playing legal games with "meaning" of torture and the like. This by itself gives weight to the Guantanamo accusations.

          Specifically it renders all testimony coming out of Guantanamo suspect and shifts the burden on proof of lack of duress during interrogations onto the G

    • by asninn ( 1071320 )
      The only thing you can come up with to defend the USA's actions is "we're still better than communist dictatorships like Cuba"? I'm not sure whether to laugh or cry.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by vivaoporto ( 1064484 )
      Yeah, all right. What about:

      McCarthy victims []: "The number imprisoned is in the hundreds, and some ten or twelve thousand lost their jobs.[42] In many cases, simply being subpoenaed by HUAC or one of the other committees was sufficient cause to be fired.[43] (...) Suspected homosexuality was also a common cause for being targeted by McCarthyism. According to some scholars, this resulted in more persecutions than did alleged connection with Communism"

      Reagan victims []: The Contra [] part of the Iran-Contra af
    • How about a song? Huh? You gonna write one? I would but I have no piano available. Wanna give me a piano so I can make one? I got a piano you can transport for me so I can write your song. Give me a chance [], get my piano to me and I'll do it. Promise.
  • Irony Much? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Shihar ( 153932 ) on Saturday April 21, 2007 @05:35PM (#18826493)
    Does anyone else appreciate the extreme irony of going to protest in Cuba, a nation that was rated as having the second least free press (just behind North Korea) in the world, no political freedom of any sort, and thousands of political prisoners. Cuba is a nation where if someone decided to go protest against the political prisoners held in Cuban jails, they would be rounded up and tossed into jail. Going to Cuba to protest some other nations violations of liberty is the sort of thing that should make people laugh until they cry.
    • Re:Irony Much? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by DamnStupidElf ( 649844 ) <> on Saturday April 21, 2007 @05:50PM (#18826587)
      Does anyone else appreciate the extreme irony of going to protest in Cuba

      Does anyone else appreciate the irony of having a U.S. military prison in Cuba? Wait, maybe that's not irony...
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by pjabardo ( 977600 )
      Not saying that Cuba is paradise or even a good place but come on! Second worst? You are quoting from Reporters without Borders, a NGO that receive a lot of cash from US State Department and other departments. That's why their main enemies lately are Cuba and Venezuela.

      It is difficult to believe that Cuba is worse than Saudi Arabia, a country that does not allow non business visits by any non-muslim. Uzbequistan is certainly much better than Cuba. The list of US client states that are a "paradise" compar
  • Bill Gates is gonna counter by releasing a song about how we need more H1B's to replace Godless communist OSS programmers.
  • by subl33t ( 739983 ) on Saturday April 21, 2007 @05:57PM (#18826645)

    The song has NOTHING at all to do with Cuba, it's about Gitmo which, for all practical purposes, is 100% American.

    He happened to write the song while in Cuba, so what? He could have written it in Argentina or Canada or China.

    Now go back to your GI Joes, the grown-ups are talking.
  • by zerojoker ( 812874 ) on Saturday April 21, 2007 @07:49PM (#18827453)
    Sorry to say that so frankly but I'm disgusted by the foreign policy of the US. But then I read Slashdot, a site which I consider only educated ppl read and ppl who are able to think for themselves... And then I read so many weird comments relativising Guanatanamo.
    The fact is, that the US is hijacking foreigners in foreign countries, flying them to 3d-world countries to torture them and circumvent US laws.

    Just one question: What would you say if ... say Germany, a powerful first world country and not usually seen as being part of the "axis of evil" would hijack a US citzien visiting Italy, flying him to say... Afghanistan, let him torture him by locals to gain information, figure out that I was a mistake and after holding him for 2+ years release him without any charges.

    What would you then think of Germany as a country?

    Thing is, the US is exactly behaving like this: []

    Then imagine reading a german website where a lots of Germans would say: "Well capturing foreigners and holding them without trial is not such a bad thing. At least we're not torturing them... well at least not so brutal... and giving them food. And bibles."

    Then figure what your opinion of Germany and the German ppl would be.

Someone is unenthusiastic about your work.