“What appealed to me in folk music were the songs that have lasted for generations, but I wasn’t trying to be one of those guys. I wanted to give people something original.”
– BUFFY SAINTE MARIE –
Written by BUFFY SAINTE MARIE, a singer-educator, and an activist, this song of substance still rings true and is relevant to our present predicaments. With its universal and poignant message, a little tweak on the lyrics will cut anyone’s heart for the truth it speaks on the effects of war due to incessant greed and power plays among nations’ leaders. So much for the thought of freedom, don’t you think?
For being too outspoken, several attempts were made to suppress her, but that only made her more famous. No amount of blacklisting could stop her from using her voice to preach against injustices in any form.
As for “Universal Soldier,” she drives home a valid point on the vanity of men killing fellow men in the name of peace and national honor which aren’t really, but wars instigated by the self-interest and ambition of the few who happen to wield powers and wealth. Depending on your background and your listening attitude, the song could have various shades of meanings. Some see it as unrealistic and are strongly in opposition to the songwriter‘s view. To them, so long as the world stands, there will always be war.
Now, from the perspective of an anti-war minded person like Buffy, she poses a challenging task to each one of us. That if only we become responsible enough to decry bearing arms when conflict arises, or to stop following orders from aggressors, then many lives would be spared including that of our soldiers.
He’s the universal soldier
And he really is to blame
But his orders comes from far away no more.
They come from him.
And you and me.
Oh, brothers can’t you see?
This is not the way we put an end to war
(lifted from the “Universal Soldier”)