Goodbye Blue Sky – Pink Floyd

We humans like to cling to things. Especially hope. During times of fear and struggle we hang dangling over darkness and uncertainty, clinging to our frayed threads of hope until our knuckles turn white. If we can hang on long enough, hope can get us through times of violence and destruction. But what about when the violence and destruction returns? We cling to the hope that things will get better, and for a time, they might. But it seems that some new conflict always arises to break down our sense of security and forces us to once again grip precariously to our threadbare hope.

If the violence and struggle keeps coming back again and again, then there must be something we’re doing wrong. There has to be some kind of change we can make to really, truly, make things better.


Pink Floyd Live – The Wall ©2013 by NCFan12311 [CC-BY-SA-3.0]


“Goodbye Blue Sky” from Pink Floyd’s legendary 1979 concept album, The Wall, is about the state of constant terror that dampened the atmosphere during the Cold War era. The Wall‘s protagonist figure, Pink, is still a child, but he wonders what happened to all of those promises of peace and a better life made during World War II (which his father died in). Like most of The Wall, “Goodbye Blue Sky” is a Roger Waters composition based upon his own life experiences.

The Song:

“Look mummy, there’s an aeroplane up in the sky”

Did you see the frightened ones?
Did you hear the falling bombs?
Did you ever wonder why we had to run for shelter when the
Promise of a brave new world unfurled beneath a clear blue

The bomb, an invention introduced just this last century, embodies a basic, ancient human fear: that death can simply drop out of the sky at any moment, obliterating the world as we know it and making everything that is familiar crumble to the ground and turn to dust. During World War II, people across the world took to bomb shelters as we, fellow human beings, dropped explosives upon each other. The generation after that faced the Cold War, when the threat of nuclear fallout haunted people’s everyday lives. Today, we face the threat of a global extremist organization who, like the extremists who came before them, threaten to drop bombs on anyone, anywhere, who doesn’t share in their beliefs. Each generation “runs for shelter”, with fingers crossed and clutching the hands of their loved ones, hoping that if they survive today things will surely be better tomorrow.

But it won’t be.

Our grandparents, parents, and now we have all run for shelter “with the promise of a brave new world”, but if each generation has overcome these threats, only for the next generation to fall back into the abyss of terrorism, then something obviously isn’t working. War and violence is like a hydra — we use our swords to cut off one head, only to start new, more violent wars fueled by new technology and new hatred. If fighting violence with violence hasn’t worked for the past millennia, then maybe it’s time to try something else.

psychadelia quote art

Did you see the frightened ones?
Did you hear the falling bombs?
The flames are all long gone, but the pain lingers on.

Goodbye, blue sky
Goodbye, blue sky.

The dropping of a bomb and the explosion happens before you can even process the tremendousness of such a catastrophe. Who’s home, belongings, and treasured memories have been destroyed? Who’s lost a limb or is now permanently paralyzed? Who’s lost a brother, sister, mother, father, husband, wife, cousin, grandparent, friend, teacher, soulmate? Who will I never see again for the rest of my life?

Who wants revenge?

The physical effects of violence hit first: the injuries, the toppled buildings, the rubble, but it’s the less obvious emotional and mental effects that have the greatest impact on the future. When one person uses violence to solve a problem, someone else learns that it’s okay to do the same. Then that person spreads the word to someone else, and then on to another, until all of the pain and destruction are forgotten and people are bent only on getting what they want. Then “the flames” that we thought were “long gone” are reignited and the pure blue sky becomes clouded with planes ready to drop their deadly cargo, all in a desperate attempt by desperate people to solve their problems.

Have humans lost their capacity to reason? Maybe instead of letting those burning, impassioned, enraged emotions take a hold of us when we have been hurt, maybe we should try to actually find a real solution. Killing is not a solution. I mean, if the government considers murder a capital offense, then how can it justify the killing of hundreds, thousands, millions of people in order to “win” a war? When someone is hurt, why does everyone alway call for hate and revenge rather than for a reasonable solution?

Bigotry Collage

There’s been enough bigotry from all sides. Photo credit respectively: ©2007 by Raphael1, ©2002 by Cliff [CC BY 2.0], ©1979 by Marion S. Trikosko, Library of Congress

Fighting hate with hate just fills the world with even more hate. Recently, the world has been becoming scarier. All over the news we see headlines about ISIS, terrorist attacks, beheadings, and more and more bombs. It seems that danger is always eminent and that destruction could occur at any moment. Because of the atmosphere of fear and panic created by both terrorists and the media, the public is overcome by an intense state of terror. This fear-charged frenzy gives rise to anger, then hate and then more violence.

But I think the world has seen enough hate and violence. We’ve seen enough “falling bombs” done enough “running for shelter”. Maybe instead of hiding behind our anger and bigotry while we send our soldiers out to go kill each other, this time we could try communicating and work to actually make things better. Instead of discriminating against whoever shares the same race, religion, or culture as some otherwise unrelated terrorist, we could try learning about each other. Maybe instead of being the “frightened ones” we could take a daring step out of our bomb shelters and call for an end to the death, destruction, hate, and madness. We’ve been following the warpath for so long, maybe it’s about time that we step off and try something different for a change, and hopefully, to make a change for the better.


©2009 by Yann Forget [CC BY 2.0]

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