Reggae band says it boycotted Sri Lanka

The onetime hit reggae band ‘Big Mountain’ says it recently boycotted a tour to Sri Lanka over human rights concerns.

In a statement on its official website and Facebook page the band which was popular for the song “ooo baby I love your way” said that while they would be honored to help convey a message of peace and reconciliation in Sri Lanka they also feel that to play a concert of this type, at this moment in time, would help legitimize “systemic violence” which transpired in the country.

The full statement read as: The name of our band, Big Mountain, derives from a struggle that pitted two Native American communities against one another in a struggle over a sacred piece of land. That struggle was being manipulated by a large and powerful mining corporation in search of profit and at the expense of all native peoples of the region. Troubled by that manipulation and inspired by the struggles of our own Native American ancestors to resist the oppression of European colonizers and wealthy corporations, we recorded a song of the same name and that contained the chorus of “on top of Big Mountain, there is no room for Babylon.” By that, we meant that there is another way, a de-colonial ethic, a way to live that is not entangled within the perpetual war, violence, exploitation, and environmental degradation that was introduced in the western hemisphere by European colonizers.

We were recently invited to perform songs like Big Mountain at a reggae festival in Sri Lanka. We were encouraged by this invitation as it provided yet another opportunity for us to share our de-colonial message with our brothers and sisters in humanity. We are declining this invitation, however, due to our concern with the violence that has transpired there as of late and that has been described as part of Sri Lanka’s “civil war.” Whilst we would be honored to help convey a message of peace and reconciliation, we also feel that to play a concert of this type, at this moment in time, would help to gloss over or legitimate conditions of systemic violence that have transpired in that region and towards indigenous populations in particular. (Colombo Gazette)