‘The World Has Gone Mad’: Five For Fighting Lead Singer John Ondrasik On Why He Wrote ‘OK (We Are Not OK)’

Five for Fighting lead singer John Ondrasik opened up about why he wrote his latest song “OK (We Are Not Okay)” following Hamas’ terror attack in Israel on October 7 of last year.

Speaking to The Daily Wire, the 59-year-old singer said “the world has gone mad,” and he called out artists who have been silent amid the anti-Semitism raging on college campuses — like the current chaotic scene unfolding in places like Columbia University, where pro-Palestinian protestors have made Jewish students feel unsafe.

“Like so many of us, we were horrified by the events of October 7,” Ondrasik told us. “Frankly in many ways it brought back memories of 9/11. But I think what really inspired me to write the song was the aftermath of Oct. 7.”

“The collapse of so many of our institutions, the moral collapse,” he added. “Certainly the media very quickly started spouting Hamas propaganda. Now, literally as we speak, the raging anti-semitism on college campuses.”

“And to members of Congress, like Rashida Tlaib  (D-MI), who could not condemn the beheading of babies — that really scared me,” he continued. “The whole theme of ‘We Are Not Okay’… it’s really about the fight for civilization against those who want to tear it down. That’s what this song is about, it’s really about good vs evil.The singer then compared the response of artists after September 11 attack —many of whom worked to unite and call out evil — to what transpired after the October 7 attack. Ondrasik says when he played The Concert for New York City after 9/11 “every icon in the music business” was there “condemning Osama bin Laden. But after October 7, it is crickets.”

“There is a hell of a lot of complacency going around right now, especially in the arts. Musicians like to laud themselves for being on the front foot of human rights and all that is good in the world,” the singer said. “I’m ashamed of my industry. The world has gone mad. Many of those artists are Jewish and I think one reason my song resonated so much was because Israel feels abandoned by the arts. Because it has been.”

When asked about the silence from his industry, he said, “They’re scared for their families, they don’t want their concerts protested. It’s disgusting. It’s disgraceful and I think many musicians of conscience will look back on this moment and be ashamed that they did not join the right side of history.”

Ondrasik, who is not Jewish, talked about recently traveling to Israel for the first time after writing the song to “show them that they are not alone in this.” He said the trip and the people he met just solidified his support for Israel — and that it had changed him. “I don’t think I’ll ever get over it.” 

“I had no idea I’d be ending up playing the song (‘OK’ and ‘Superman’) in Hostage Square (on 4/13) three hours before Iran attacked, but I am glad I did,” the artist said, noting how surreal it was playing in the square and hearing the announcement over the loudspeaker beforehand telling people what to do “in the event of a missile attack.

He also reflected on getting to meet and play with some of the injured soldiers during his visit, and said the thing that blew him away was how positive they all were. Ondrasik also spoke briefly about meeting with the hostage families, and said “he has no words to talk about” the “agony” those families are going through.

Ondrasik said, after spending time and speaking with them, he came away understanding why they feel “abandoned, that the world’s forgotten them.” 

“When was the last time you heard [President] Joe Biden mention the hostages,” the singer said. “The names of the American hostages. The world has abandoned them in many respects. I wish every American calling for a cease fire could sit for a half hour with these hostage families and see what reality really looks like.”

The lead singer, who previously spoke out about Biden’s disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan, added, “This Administration has a lot of responsibility for the world being on fire.”

When we abandon our allies and our citizens to the Taliban I think that was an opening to all the evil actors in the world,” the singer shared. “And we even talked about the next dominoes to fall. We knew [Russian President Vladmir] Putin would have no hesitancy to go into Ukraine.”

In addition to writing his “OK” song and performing in Israel, Ondrasik says he’s organizing some concerts for the college campuses that have been dealing with anti-Semitism because, as he says, this is a “generational fight … You don’t win this war without the arts.”

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