“Happy” seems to have made the jump to an unexpected global anthem for citizens living under troubled regimes. First came the Philippines, a country still picking up the pieces from Typhoon Haiyan. Soon, one followed from Tunis, still reeling from the aftershocks of the Arab Spring. And then another from Moscow. While not a “protest” song in its traditional sense, Pharrell’s “Happy” has taken on a politically charged meaning as an anthem of international resilience.
It’s crowning moment as an international protest anthem came late last month when two Polish filmmakers used it as a soundtrack to a viral video of violent clashes between Ukrainian citizens and government forces intercut with protestors in Kiev dancing. It is haunting to see protesters in Kiev dancing among barricades and answering frankly what would make them happy. “To be happy I need the Ukraine to be free,” one woman answered.
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