This conflict started August 2nd when the dictator of Iraq invaded a small and helpless neighbor. Kuwait -- a member of the Arab League and a member of the United Nations -- was crushed; its people, brutalized. Five months ago, Saddam Hussein started this cruel war against Kuwait. Tonight, the battle has been joined.

-excerpt from President Bush's speech informing the public about the Persian Gulf War



The United States of America, the greatest nation Earth, fighting for the little guy.

The Great Hero fighting against an Invading Tyrant.



I must have been six or seven years old, and I was damned proud of MY nation. I saw tremendous streams of tracer rounds for the AAA glaring greenly in the electronically enhanced night sky, explosions, and buildings crumbling, ablaze. I never considered the idea that people were dying. I didn't understand horror. I had the mind of a child; I thought childish thoughts. Zack De La Rocha was an adult; he thought adult thoughts. The song Testify, written by Zack and performed by Rage Against the Machine, takes a frank viewpoint about the media's disingenousness targeted to form a comfortable public opinion of the war.



OH!

The movie
ran through me
The Glamour
subdue me
The tabloid
untie me
I'm empty
please fill me

Nightly television news programmes are nothing more than government or corporate disinfotainment. Sensationalism rules mass media; ignoring reality, ignoring the truth. The average viewer depends on these lies for their information about world events, and thus suffers the properly biased perception.

Mister anchor
assure me
That Baghdad
is burning
Your voice it is so soothing
That cunning mantra of killing
I need you
my witness
To dress this up so bloodless
To numb me
and purge me now
Of thoughts of blaming you

The most common footage of the war I remember seeing is the camera view of a cruise missile burrowing its way into a bunker. Night after night the anchors would comment on how the military forces present were more efficient, modern, and superior than their counterparts. Estimated amounts of casualties and the importance of human death was placed beneath the mild counterirritant of razing evil edifices.

Yes the car is
our wheelchair
My witness
your coughing
Oily silence mocks the legless ones
who travel now in coffins

The simile of automobiles being a wheelchair is used to illustrate the idea that our society is crippled, and without gasoline hungry motorized transportation, our functionality is seriously impaired. "Oily silence" is the news' corporately influenced silence about the real objective of the war. The mocking Zack rhymes about emphasizes the importance of economic reasons instead of societal reasons in the war. "Legless ones" is most likely a reference to land mine victims.

But on the corner
The jury's sleepless
We found your weakness

And it's right outside your door
Now testify
Now testify
And it's right outside your door
Now testify
yes, testify
it's right outside your door

With precision
you feed me
My witness
I'm hungry
Your temple
it calms me
So I can carry on

The media, like all expensive communication machines and spectrums, are extraordinarily careful with their choice of information to broadcast. He calls it a temple to further show how doctrine must be followed; that deviation is veritably heretical. The message may be exciting, but it is ultimately devoid of truly disturbing thoughts. Therefore it is calming the audience and lulling them into a state of heartfelt acceptance.

My slaving,
sweating,
The skin right off my bones
On a bed of fire

This imagery used to evoke a better understanding of the physical condition of the troops.

I'm choking
On the smoke that fills my home
The wrecking ball is rushing
Witness
your blushing
The pipeline
is gushing
While here we lie in tombs

Hussein held his promise concerning forceful Iraqi eviction from Kuwait. Greater than seven hundred oil wells were ignited during evacuation. Kuwaiti oil officials claimed destruction or heavy damage to all of their oil fields as a result of the Iraqi actions. Although the war had been won by coalition forces, it was somewhat of a Pyrrhic victory.

While on the corner
The jury's sleepless
We found your weakness

And it's right outside your door
Now testify
yeah testify
it's right outside your door
Now testify
Now testify
And it's right outside your door

(Mass graves for the pump and the price is set)
(and the price is set)
(Mass graves for the pump and the price is set)
(and the price is set)

Conspicuously absent from most reports were the efficacious techniques for the disposal of Iraqi troops.

(Mass graves for the pump and the price is set)
(and the price is set)
(Mass graves for the pump and the price is set)
(and the price is set)

This war was a war for resources- the human interest side was nothing more than a mountain of flowers to hide the bills.

Who controls the past now
controls the future
Who controls the present now
controls the past
Who controls the past now
controls the future

Who controls the present now?

The Oceania Party slogan from 1984 further enforces the feelings that the Ministry of Truth is alive and well in our modern world.

Now testify
Testify
And it's right outside your door

Now testify
Testify
It's right outside your door

The most important thematic metaphor in this song is that of a trial. National governments and mass media play the role of the accused criminals, the news anchors are the witnesses reporting events, and we, the viewers, compose the jury aware of public mollification.
Italicized lyrics indicates the use of a delay. Lyrics contained in parentheses are whispered. My own opinions are not entirely similar to those presented here. Instead, I have tried to interpret them as they were written.
What witnesses do, under oath.
To bear witness, give evidence as a witness; to make a declaration under oath, for the purpose of establishing a fact in court. (Black's Law Dictionary)
What the witness says when he or she testifies is known as Testimony, and is used as evidence, as they are under oath when they say it.

Here's an incorrect interpretation of how the word originated: "Back in Rome, a man had to take an oath with one hand on their testicles when they swore to something, as it was a symbol of something they held dear."

No. It sounds like a logial connection, but that isn't where the word originated. There really is a strong link between testicle and testify (as well as attest, testament, contest and other words), but it comes from something else.

From a Q&A Column:

The Latin word for a witness was testis, which derives from an Indo-European word for the number three. That was because the Romans regarded a witness as what we would call a trusted third party, one who stands aside from the dispute and can tell it how it really was. The Romans did also use the word testis in a figurative way to mean testicle. The idea seems to have been that a testicle was a witness to a man's virility. And that's the whole story of the connection

Incidentally, testis sometimes appeared in the form testiculus, a diminutive form; this was converted into English at the end of the fourteenth century first as testicule and then as testicle. The Latin testis, with its plural testes, has continued in medical use to the present day.

There was a reference to holding the testicles in the book of Genesis, although the King James Version calls it "grasping the thigh." There doesn't seem to be any link between what was written there and what the Romans did.

--Quote taken from http://www.quinion.com/words/qa/qa-swe1.htm

See also By my balls, I do swear for another take on the etemology.

Tes"ti*fy (?), v. i. [imp. & p. p. Testified (?); p. pr. & vb. n. Testifying (?).] [OF. testifier, L. testificari; testis a witness + -ficare (in comp.) to make. See -fy, and cf. Attest, Contest, Detest, Protest, Testament.]

1.

To make a solemn declaration, verbal or written, to establish some fact; to give testimony for the purpose of communicating to others a knowledge of something not known to them.

Jesus . . . needed not that any should testify of man, for he knew what was in man. John ii. 25.

2. Law

To make a solemn declaration under oath or affirmation, for the purpose of establishing, or making proof of, some fact to a court; to give testimony in a cause depending before a tribunal.

One witness shall not testify against any person to cause him to die. Num. xxxv. 30.

3.

To declare a charge; to protest; to give information; to bear witness; -- with against.

O Israel, . . . I will testify against thee. Ps. l. 7.

I testified against them in the day wherein they sold victuals. Neh. xiii. 15.

 

© Webster 1913.


Tes"ti*fy, v. t.

1.

To bear witness to; to support the truth of by testimony; to affirm or declare solemny.

We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness. John iii. 11.

2. Law

To affirm or declare under oath or affirmation before a tribunal, in order to prove some fact.

 

© Webster 1913.


Tes"ti*fy, adv.

In a testy manner; fretfully; peevishly; with petulance.

 

© Webster 1913.

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