Like almost every other utterance by anyone anywhere these days, Inshallah, a lovely song from Sting’s latest album, 57th and 9th has stirred up controversy. What fueled this was his decision to play this song at the Bataclan concert in Paris. This was the first live concert there after the massacre by ISIS in which 90 innocent lives were lost. Naysayers interpreted this song differently and said Sting meant to disrespect the people who died on that day by singing Inshallah and that it was God’s will that it happened. How small and ridiculous!
Anyone who has been following Sting and his work would know that he is not the kind to court controversy for publicity sake. Each of his albums has a few songs which always bring out his view on a current social or political issue: ‘Russians’, ‘Work the black seam’, ‘Fragile’, being a few in the long list of such beautiful allegories.
The song ‘Inshallah’ tells a heart-breaking story of a family who has just set sail from their home in Syria because of the turmoil there. They do not know what’s in store for them. but then ‘Inshallah’ whose meaning comes in the lines that follow, says if it be Your will, it shall come to pass. Such a beautiful and powerful meaning encompassed in just one word. The family is surrendering itself to the will of God and with the hope that this too shall pass. The simplicity of the lyrics, the music and the soul in the song is remarkable and is vintage Sting. His songs are actually poetry. For example, see the opening lines of this song below:
Sleeping child, on my shoulder
Those around us, curse the sea
Anxious mother turning fearful
Who can blame her, blaming me?
This is the hallmark of Sting, a simple yet powerful use of words painting a crystal clear image every time you hear them.
Another example of his depth is in the following lines:
Sea of worries, sea of fears
In our country, only tears
In our future there’s no past
If it be your will, it shall come to pass
The sea here is both real and metophorical, symbolic of their worries and fears, and the vast uncertainties that they are plunging into. The third line is again such a clever use of words with so much depth.
How can a humble and a simple prayer with so much depth be a source of controversy. I fail to understand that.
The official video of this song has still not been released but I am sure it will have its share of controversy whenever it will be. However, for now I am sharing this fan-made video with heart-wrenching visuals of the Syrian crisis.
After seeing this, all one can say is…Inshallah! If it be Your will, it shall come to pass