Saturday, 13 October 2012

Liven It Up!: Melissa Etheridge - Scarecrow (Live @ Equality Rocks)

"Rising Above, All In The Name Of Love!"

Yesterday was the 14th anniversary of the tragic death of Matthew Shepard and this song and his story still give me chills.

I can't even imagine people not being aware of Matthew's story, but for those of you who are maybe too young to have heard about it or are simply outside of North America, Matthew was a 22 year old University of Wyoming student who was brutally beaten, tied to a fence and left for dead in the outskirts of Laramie Wyoming in 1998. Matthew died 6 days after the attack succumbing to injuries sustained. The two young men who robbed and beat Matthew to death pleaded "Gay Panic" during the murder trial against them, claiming that Matthew had made passes at them that evening and they decided to teach him a lesson. Justice was found for Matthew, when the two perpetrators were found guilty of their crimes, and born out of the tragedy was a new kind of education about Hate Crimes Legislation that had not been part of federal law in the US before this. With the help of Matthew's Mother, Judy Shepard and her organisation "The Matthew Shepard Foundation", an amendment was finally made to US Hate Crimes Laws to include crimes motivated by a victim's actual or perceived gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability.

If you want to learn more about Matthew Shepard or the work his Mother Judy has done on behalf of the LGBTQIA Community in the wake of her Son's death, I recommend you read the book "The Meaning Of Matthew: My Son's Murder in Laramie, and a World Transformed" By Judy Shepard (an amazingly gut wrenching read) or watch the HBO film version of Moises Kaufman's incredible play "The Laramie Project".

Finally, as for this song, Melissa wrote the song "Scarecrow" (so named because the young man who discovered Matthew's body unconscious against the fence mistook him for a scarecrow upon first notice) for her 1999 album "Breakthrough" and it is, to me, one of the most beautiful musical tribute's to Matthew ever written. She performed it soon after the albums release at the above benefit for gay rights and was visibly and vocally moved to tears during the performance. The song is perfect, one of the few songs that can make me cry every time I hear it. I'm adding the lyrics to the song as well, so you can all truly feel it's message.

Showers of your crimson blood
Seep into a nation calling up a flood
Of narrow minds who legislate
Thinly veiled intolerance
Bigotry and hate

But they tortured and burned you
They beat you and they tied you
They left you cold and breathing
For love they crucified you

I can't forget hard as I try
This silhouette against the sky

Scarecrow crying
Waiting to die wondering why
Scarecrow trying
Angels will hold carry your soul away

This was our brother
This was our son
This shepard young and mild
This unassuming one

We all gasp this can't happen here
We're all much too civilized
Where can these monsters hide

But they are knocking on our front door
They're rocking in our cradles
They're preaching in our churches
And eating at our tables

I can't forget hard as I try
This silhouette against the sky

Scarecrow crying
Waiting to die wondering why
Scarecrow trying
Angels will hold carry your soul away

I search my soul
My heart and in my mind
To try and find forgiveness
This is someone child
With pain unreconciled
Filled up with father's hate
Mother's neglect

I can forgive
But I will not forget

Scarecrow crying
Waiting to die wondering why
Scarecrow trying
Rising above all in the name of love

Longest post ever!!!!!!

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