Children's singer Raffi offers support, advice, for Occupy protesters
Children's entertainer Raffi plays his guitar in this undated handout photo. (THE CANADIAN PRESS)
The Canadian Press
Published Friday, October 14, 2011 4:59PM EDT
OTTAWA - A soothing voice from the childhood of many an Occupy Wall Street or Occupy Canada protester is offering them support and a few pieces of advice.
Raffi, a Canadian performer and activist known best for his children's music, has been tweeting about the growing demonstrations across the United States and the ones about to kick off in Canadian cities this week.
"May the spirit of Gandhi and MLK (Martin Luther King) move your thoughts, words, & deeds -- keep it peaceful!" wrote Raffi, whose full name is Raffi Cavoukian.
In an interview from his home on Saltspring Island, B.C., Raffi said he sympathizes with some of the issues that protesters have raised in their continuing demonstrations around Wall Street and elsewhere.
Raffi, a holder of the Order of Canada, has been an outspoken supporter of sustainable development and protection of the environment. His albums include "Baby Beluga," "Evergreen Everblue" and "Songs of Our World"
Earlier this year, he encouraged young voters who might have known him in their "Baby Beluga" days to get out and vote.
He said the "Occupy" protests come at a difficult time.
"The global economy is in effect compromising life-support systems on this planet and you've got a global populace that's rightly rising up and saying this is wrong, we need an economy that serves people, not merely corporate interests and if it's a popular movement that's peaceful, positive, then I'm all for it," he said.
"We need a systemic change in this world for the children who are inheriting a very perilous future in terms of climate change and all of the pollution associated with it that comes from an unsustainable economic model with an unsustainable model of commerce."
He said the demonstrators have to realize, though, that the point of a protest isn't to get arrested.
"I tell them to drop the fist in their imagery and to embrace a positive image -- a peaceful sign in other words," he continued.
He said he's mostly an observer at this point, but thinks people are listening to his advice. "And I'm pleased about that."
Raffi said he finds it amusing that some people don't understand the protests.
"It takes a stretch of the imagination not to get what these demonstrations are all about."
And he urges people to be optimistic
"People say, 'You're crazy, you can't break that wall, it's too old, too big, too strong, never gonna fall.'
"I say: 'Think of the Iron Curtain, remember Berlin. Remember apartheid. Look at the state they're in.' "
People are looking for systemic change, he said.
"I think that Americans feel, and rightly so, that corporate interests have been served at the expense of the taxpayer, which is really absurd, Robin Hood in reverse.
"There are a whole host of maladies in the system that need attention and not tinkering but transformative remedies."