Amnesty International is running a contest for 11-19 year olds, ‘The Power of Our Voices‘, to get them to write protest songs. There’s a pack being sent around schools, which teaches them about the history of protest music and highlights the work of current musicians like the former child soldier turned rap artist Emmanuel Jal, who only recently was knocked unconscious and beaten by the police in South Sudan as he was preparing for a peace concert there.
But can you really teach kids – or anyone – how to write protest songs? Is the somewhat sterile atmosphere of a classroom going to spawn the next Joe Strummer? It will be interesting to see what they come up with – but at least it’s better than aspiring to be on X Factor.