The music video opens in black and white with images from the 1940s of young politicians, military officers and journalists from Indonesia’s past as they fight to gain independence from the Netherlands. Suddenly, those images are juxtaposed to the Indonesia of today: a chaotic voting scene, disgraced government officials pushing away photographers, police officers on a bus asking passengers for money. In the background, we hear the voice of a young male singer:
“A rich country with children in hunger/greedy officials and politicians/a rich country with uneducated child/greedy business eroded the forest/ a country with constant disaster/ judges are always bribable/ corruptors with full protections…”
The video is by the young Indonesian band Simponi and is entitled Vonis, meaning “verdict”. Vonis was one of the more than 75 entries last year in the Fair Play Anti-Corruption Music Competition, a global battle-of-the-bands style contest for original songs on the theme of anti-corruption. The event is organized by the Global Youth Anti-Corruption network (GYAC). Because Simponi’s video won second place, the band received a free trip to perform a concert in Brasilia last November in front of Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff, along with more than 2,000 anti-corruption leaders at the 15th International Anti-Corruption Conference.
Others who competed in the Fair Play competition last November include Italian underground hip-hop group Zero Plastica, whose song entitled La Pedata di Dio (“God’s Kick”) compares the Italian mafia to an octopus with a stranglehold on all public services, courts and politicians in Italy. “This goes out to those who denounce the extortion and to those who boycott mafia-controlled services, this goes out to every victim gone missing and no longer with us”, the group calls out in its song.
Fair Play is not the only organization bringing together music and the anti-corruption message. Last year, young supporters in Berlin began throwing club nights under the banner “Beats against Corruption”. In dark dance halls young people came together, combining group artwork with thumping techno beats to raise awareness about the growing anti-corruption movement. As the lyrics in Simponi’s song “Verdict” declare:
“We are making a movement, we are not a silent generation/share your wild imagination/we are building a revolution/one world without corruption!”