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Hey radio, let musical artists make statements

Never has a war brought so much fear into the music industry and restricted an artist’s right of free speech than the United States’ conflict with Iraq.

The war in Iraq has many artists embracing the Internet to express themselves. Protest songs have long been an integral part of music, but now those songs have become taboo.

The reason for this is that radio is simply viewing any expression against the war as being unpatriotic and artists are then being rightfully punished (i.e. the Dixie Chicks).

Immediately after Dixie Chicks’ singer Natalie Maines revealed her personal thoughts on the embarrassment President Bush has brought on Texas, radio stations across the country pulled the band’s songs from their play lists and now the Chicks find themselves in the midst of a major backlash that threatens to end the group’s five-year career.

Since Bush declared war on Iraq in early March, artists such as the Beastie Boys, Audioslave, John Mellencamp and System Of A Down have expressed their opposition to the war.

Zack De La Rocha, the former frontman of one of music’s most politically outspoken bands, Rage Against The Machine, has teamed up with DJ Shadow to launch a Web site for their antiwar collaboration, “March of Death.”

“March of Death” is a poignant song that addresses the obvious problems that currently have the nation divided on whether the government’s actions were justified and gives those willing to listen insight on De La Rocha’s opinion of Bush.

Lenny Kravitz and R.E.M. are the most notable artists to recently join the antiwar bandwagon. Kravitz has taken it a step further by dueting with an Iraqi pop star, Kadim Al Sahir, on “We Want Peace.”

And while Madonna has pulled an antiwar video in which she wears army fatigues and is seen throwing a grenade at a Bush look alike, bands like System Of A Down aren’t backing down. With “Boom,” the second single from Steal This Album, the band revisits the events of 1991’s Iraqi war and simply promotes peace.

It’s a shame that radio programmers have taken the added responsibility of making our choices for us and deciding what we want to hear.