For all their negative experiences of the United States, Shihad’s Jon Toogood is not discounting the idea of them ever returning. “We saw a lot of really, ugly ugly sh** over there,” Toogood told Australia’s Beat magazine. “All The Young Fascists written about this radio festival we played in Miami, but because the whole Iraq thing happened after we were billed, it ended up being marketed as this whole ‘Support the troops’ type show… and of course, that was so far away from what we wanted. But we decided, ‘Nah, fu** it – let’s just keep our heads down and do the show’. However, we got there to 30,000 kids in this really, really angry crowd, and to the left of the stage there was this paint-ball alley set up with guns, and the kids could shoot effigies of Saddam Hussein, Osama Bin Laden, and the really scary one, Jacques Chirac, the French President. Meanwhile, all the other bands on the bill, we’re shouting out things like (dons American accent) ‘Let’s kick their fu**in’ ass!!’ Guys like that evil little prick from Saliva [Josey Scott]. I’ve met him, and he’s fu**ing evil. I don’t think he even means half the sh** he spewed onstage, but you can just tell he’s doing for effects. You can tell he’s practiced in front of the mirror. That was ugly to me. It was wrong. It was a festival that seemed to have a lot of fear and anger and all these kids being taught it was okay to turn Iraq into a fu**ing carpark. I felt like an alien, and we just wanted to get the fu** out of there. And I came away from it understanding how normal human beings can be fed really bad ideas, and believe them. Like the Fox Network over there. Like the color-coded terrorist warnings. Today’s orange, tomorrow’s red. Fear sells, and when people are afraid, they cling onto the simplest possible politics.”
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