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Do they know it’s Christmas… in Detroit?

Ottawa  ̶  This Christmas, a Canadian organization has produced a parody of the Band Aid song Do they know it’s Christmas? in order to show solidarity with the people of Detroit affected by massive water shutoffs.

The Council of Canadians is using the song to raise awareness of a human rights crisis where tens of thousands of people are going without one of their most basic needs, water, for months.

Since March 2014, on the verge of bankruptcy, Detroit has doubled water rates in an attempt to make its water system profitable and cut off many households that are unable to pay. The Council of Canadians raised awareness of this issue by urging the United Nations to declare it a human rights violation. In June, the Council delivered water from Windsor to Detroit and asked President Obama to declare the situation a state of emergency and a public health crisis.

“If there is anything that shows the spirit of Scrooge, it is Detroit’s lack of compassion for its poorest residents,” says Maude Barlow, National Chairperson for the Council of Canadians. “Unable to bathe, flush their toilets, or brush their teeth with running water, they are facing Christmas camping at other people’s houses. In this cold weather, it is a dreadful situation.  The UN has said that this is a human rights violation, and the U.S. has to respect international law. Where is the mayor? Where is Obama?”

The Council's version of the song, entitled “Do they know it’s Christmas in Detroit?” is available on YouTube. With new lyrics and singers, the song has reworked the original to bring attention to a humanitarian crisis in one of the richest countries on one of the largest bodies of water in the world. Sample lyrics include:

Where the only water flowing is the bitter sting of tears

And there won't be water in Detroit this Christmastime

The greatest gift they'll get this year is bills

Where great lakes overflow, and no tap water flows

Do they know it's Christmastime at all?

The video is available here.

The petition is available here.