Progressive politics, ideas & culture


Sak vid pa kanpe

This Magazine Staff

So last night, the Arcade Fire played Saturday Night Live for the first time, performing two songs from their upcoming Neon Bible album. In the above clip the band plays their first song, “Intervention,” after which frontman Win Butler smashes his acoustic guitar. Speculation as to why has been met online with a predictable array of theories, but my favourite connects with the phrase written in tape on the guitar: Sak vid pa kanpe, which is apparently a Haitian expression meaning, “An empty sack cannot stand up.” In other words, starving people can’t do anything.
As the theory goes, the guitar smash was a political reaction to the situation in Haiti, where Canada has a role in providing stability or undermining democracy, depending on your perspective. If that was Butler’s intention, let me help him out by noting the website for Canada Out of Haiti, where you can get involved or make a donation to the cause.

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