Thursday, February 19, 2009

With God On Our Side

Album: The Times They Are A-Changin’


Release date: January 13, 1964
Cover Photo: Barry Feinstein
Produced by: Tom Wilson

This is one of Dylan’s most cynical songs. Many would argue that it also one of his angriest, but I don’t find it to be an angry song. He just simply is questioning God, and war. Let’s not forget that this song is about war.

The song holds its relevance to this day. All one needs to do is to look at the wars being fought today, and how each faction claims that God is on their side.

As I listened to this song the other day, I decided that this had to be the next song I discussed. With God On Our Side has probably had more influence on my core beliefs than any book, movie. song or any other type of media. Back in 1964, when the song was released on the album, The Times They Are A Changin’, I was still in college. I grew up in the post World War II era, and have vague recollections of the Nuremburg Trials. I remember having nightmares as a young child, in which I was being chased by Nazis.

The Holocaust formed so many of my beliefs about God. Even as a very young child, I questioned how God could allow such a thing to happen. So many of the 6,000,000 Jews killed in the camps were very pious people, who followed Judaism to the letter of the law. Yet God allowed them to die.

They did not just die, but died under horrible circumstances. They were treated as animals, experimented upon, tortured beyond our wildest imaginings, forced to watch their loved ones die excruciating deaths, all while God stood by. And so I asked, why?

Today, of course, I realize that there is no answer, because there is no God. I think, Dylan figured that out a lot quicker that I did.

There is a bit of controversy about the song, as Dylan was accused of plagiarism by Domenic Behan. Behan wrote a song, The Patriot Game, whose melody is borrowed from a traditional Irish folk song.

Best Lyric:

When the Second World War
Came to an end
We forgave the Germans
And we were friends
Though they murdered six million
In the ovens they fried
The Germans now too
Have God on their side.

ziggy martin

like a complete unknown

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