Welcome to the Occupation
A live version of this song is
introduced as follows: "El Salvador is a small country geographically
located below the United States, the United States is a large
country geographically located above El Salvador. El Salvador
(breathes? breeds? damn Stipe's mumbling...) in euthanasia."
The 1970s and 1980s in El Salvador were marked with conflicts
between government forces backed by the U.S. and leftist guerillas;
in 1987 (at the time Document was released) these conflicts were
still ongoing. [Colin McMillen]
"Hang your collar up inside"
Perhaps a clerical collar, as many
Latin American priests were involved in the left wing resistance
to right wing (American supported) dictators, and the movement
became known as "Liberation Theology" (tying spiritual
and political freedom together). [Ron
Henry] * Maybe this line refers to
the working classes -- as in the white collar worker vs.
the blue collar worker. [Christi
Rose] * Actually this makes a lot of
sense given that Marxist revolutions in some Latin American countries
were what the U.S.-backed contras were trying to prevent, and
that Marxist ideology is based on the notion of class conflict
(white vs. blue collar). [Ron
Henry] * Well, no matter what kind
of collar it is, a collar is still a collar. Collars have reputations
for being uncomfortable and restrictive and are sometimes symbolic
of power inequalities and submission. [Christi Rose]
"Listen to the causeway"
A causeway is a raised highway.
"Sugar cane and coffee"
These are major crops of Central
America. [Ron Henry]
"Copper, steel and cattle"
These are major products of North
America. [Ron Henry] * Many of these products, cattle especially, have
been involved in the massive destruction of the rain forests,
which is not as visible a global issue as it was in the late
1980s. This, I believe, is the underpinning of the lines "The
forest for the fire" (i.e., the burning of the rain forest)
and "Fire on the hemisphere below", i.e., Central &
South America, esp. Brazil. This line literally (for me) conjures
up the image of a burning planet. [billg3man]
"the forest for the fire"
A play on "can't see the forest
for the trees". [Ron
"open up the floodgates"
Refers directly to the tactic used
by the Netherlands in their war for independence from Spain,
when they destroyed the dikes holding the water back and essentially
flooded the majority of their country, holding back the Spanish
Army, and probably indirectly refers to guerilla tactics. [Colin McMillen]
"fire on the hemisphere below"
May refer to fire, as in gunshots,
artillery, etc. [Colin McMillen]