Your Paradise = Something I’ve Endured

“The point where we break gets closer every day. But where do we go?” | Rise Against – I Don’t Want to Be Here Anymore

I think it is inappropriate to immediately continue to post nice messages again after last week, as if nothing has happened at all. What would my own article from last Monday be worth then? That I pay brief attention to the anti-racism movement, but that I do nothing with it afterwards? As I wrote in that article; I don’t like to participate in anything just because everyone is doing it at the time. At the same time, I don’t want to pay too much attention to it either, because that can be counterproductive; if people read too much about a particular topic or if they come across it too often, interest slowly but surely disappears. In addition, I want this website to focus on creative freedom, without any agenda. That is why I decided that this article will be a combination of different parts, in which, on the one hand, I still want to dwell on the anti-racism movement, but on the other hand, I also want to pay attention to beautiful things in life. Because if there aren’t any beautiful things in life, then why would you fight for anything at all?

A few months ago I wrote about the lack of appreciation for music videos and that I want to pay more attention to that. Having previously discussed Tom Walker’s Angels music video, I think this is a good time to talk about the music video of I Don’t Want to Be Here Anymore by Rise Against. Where Angels is a very personal story, I Don’t Want to Be Here Anymore focuses on society as a whole, which can be linked to the anti-racism movement. Let me be honest that I didn’t even put this video on my shortlist of music videos at first, but on closer inspection it’s very suitable for the current situation.

I can imagine that my story may be a bit astonishing so far. After all, the title of the article sounds pretty dark, as well as the song title, which sounds quite suicidal. When you think of a title like “I Don’t Want to Be Here Anymore” you probably think of the individual who doesn’t want to be here anymore, instead of where the person no longer wants to be. Tim McIlrath, lead singer of Rise Against and also the writer of this song, once said in an interview that he had not even noticed the dark and suicidal interpretation of this song, until someone pointed this out to him. For him, the song was anything but dark, contrary to what the lyrics suggest.

“No longer recognize the place that I call home

No longer recognize this face as my own

Somewhere, this fate, I lost control

 

I don’t want to be here anymore

I know there’s nothing left worth staying for

Your paradise is something I’ve endured

See I don’t think I can fight this anymore

I’m listening with one foot out the door

But something has to die to be reborn

I don’t want to be here anymore”

(Text continues below video. Music video of Rise Against’s song I Don’t Want to Be Here Anymore, from their album The Black Market, released in 2014.)

As I said earlier, this music video wasn’t on my shortlist of videos that I initially wanted to share. Yet this video is also impressive in its own way. Many statistics and events about violence, war, terrorism, animal suffering, extremism, shootings and kidnapping are shared, combined with short spoken texts. Obviously, the alleged statements and statistics must be critically examined. I haven’t been fact-checking myself, but there will be some truth in the statements. At the same time, Rise Against still is an American band and some of the shared claims have been shared from an American perspective, which should be taken into account. Despite these critical footnotes, the underlying message of the video is clear.

“We backed down

We took ‘no’ for answers far too long

We felt those walls close around”

And this underlying message is not that we should all get depressed at how horrible the world is and end our lives. That’s not the idea behind the song, although it seems that way. No, the idea behind I Don’t Want to Be Here Anymore is not in the Be part, but in the Here part. You don’t want to be here anymore, instead of not wanting to be here anymore. And that is also the message that Tim McIlrath wanted to convey with this song. For him it’s not a song about giving up and leaving, but rather a song that calls for change in the world. If the world isn’t the way you want it to be, if you don’t want to live in this world, then you are going to help create a world in which you do want to live. McIlrath sees the not wanting to be here part as a good thing, especially if that place is a dangerous, damaging or negative situation.

The anti-racism movement fits perfectly with this idea. Not giving up and leaving because the world isn’t the way you’d like it to be, but trying to turn the world into a world you’d like to live in; a world in which racism no longer exists and where black and white people are equal. Get rid of the dangerous, damaging and negative world. And those are exactly the sentences with which the song ends.

“We need a better way

We need to let go”


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