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Five For Fighting singer John Ondrasik released a graphic video for his song “Blood On My Hands” that’s highly critical of the United States’ withdrawal from Afghanistan. However, he doesn’t see the song as being political, instead opting to view it as historical.
The Grammy-nominated artist originally released the song in September shortly after President Biden ordered the withdrawal of U.S. and NATO troops from the country, leaving the door open for the Taliban to quickly retake control. Speaking to Fox News, Ondrasik explained that his decision to include graphic footage of what the situation looks like in Afghanistan under Taliban rule was important to get his message across.
“After experiencing the reaction to ‘Blood On My Hands,’ particularly from veterans, I felt a calling to document with images, music and commentary America’s withdrawal from Afghanistan, and its ongoing ramifications. To leave out images of the atrocities of the Taliban would have done an injustice to the victims, and would not have been an accurate representation of the ongoing reality,” he explained. “We did our best to not be gratuitous, and frankly removed clips and images that were even harder to view. I didn’t think much about the reaction.”
John Ondrasik opened up to Fox News Digital about his new song "Blood On My Hands."
(Jerod Harris/Getty Images)
However, that decision led to some controversy after YouTube removed the video for violating its policy on graphic content. However, it soon reversed its decision and reinstated the video with a graphic content warning, which the artist said he found “appropriate.” However, he noted that he couldn’t help but think about musicians with fewer resources than him.
“It made me think about artists who don’t have platforms that generate such a large outcry from influencers and politicians demanding action,” he told Fox News Digital. “What would their recourse be when their expression is singled out or silenced? I’ve been thinking about influential protest songs of the past, and what would have happened if there was a dominant entity that could, with the flip of a switch, prevent us from hearing their historic words and voices.”
He continued: “I find little credence that these actions by Big Tech have no component of internal political bias, as they tend to only censor views critical of one side. I can’t think of anything more dangerous for our nation. I now find myself not just asking ‘What’s happening?’ but ‘What’s going on?'”
The harsh rebuke in the song begins with Biden declaring that a withdrawal from Afghanistan will not, in fact, allow the Taliban to retake the country prior to the exit. From there, the video launches into a slew of news and archival footage of the situation in the country deteriorating under the Taliban, including horrifying videos of those who died trying to escape the country as well as those who were hanged, beaten and tortured by the new regime in power.
He noted that his big intention with the song as well as the sometimes shocking video was to keep the focus on Afghanistan in a world that’s already seemed to move on from the controversial decision.
Although he names Biden, as well as the secretary of state and the defense secretary in the song, he told Fox News Digital that the sentiment of the song would be the same had a similar withdrawal happened under a Republican administration.
Grammy-nominated singer John Ondrasik discussed the politics behind his recent song "Blood On My Hands."
(Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Capital Concerts)
“I have said many times if Donald Trump or any Republican were president, and we were in this position with Afghanistan, the song would remain the same, only the names would change.”
He added: “Breaking the promise of ‘no man left behind’ to me is not a political action, it is a moral one. A day after our last soldier left, my friend was risking her life to rescue Americans and allies we abandoned to the Taliban. It was surreal, infuriating and beyond the pale,” he said. “Are we the America of Normandy, The Berlin Wall, or a nation that abandons its citizens and allies to terrorists?”
Ondrasik understands that making a song critical of the Biden administration can put him in the crosshairs of cancel culture from his supporters online and in show business. However, he doesn’t look at his song as being political, but “historical” and “moral.”
John Ondrasik arrives at the "Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer" premiere at Saban Theatre on Oct. 9, 2018, in Beverly Hills, California.
(Maury Phillips/Getty Images)
Instead, he believes that what’s going on in Afghanistan under Taliban rule should be the real cause for alarm.
“It is depressing that with the tribal nature of our culture that there are virtually no songwriters, actors, celebrities speaking out about the greatest women’s rights decimation of our generation,” he said. “LGBTQ are being hunted by the Taliban, and where are the LGBTQ advocates? Fawad Andarabi, an Afghan folk singer, was murdered by the Taliban. Where is the music press that claims to support freedom of expression? This silence by most of the media, Hollywood and the culture at large is a disgrace and speaks to the hypocrisy of those who claim to speak for the oppressed. When children are being sold for food, any concerns of mine about fallout from my song personally seem trivial.”
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