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Before getting back into, well, the usual. Let’s go all future bright best possible case land for the New Year.

There is always hope.

Sometimes we forget that despite all the bullshit, all the division, all the scorn, human beings can come together and create beautiful acts that fly in the face of all the shite we put up with in our regular day to day existence. I recently had the great privilege of participating in a choir that performed Carl Jenkins Adiemus.

The piece is simple, but powerful. You find a way to move through each phrase with energy and the intent to infuse your sound into Jenkins work. Adiemus sounds great from the audience, but the experience pales compared to being inside the choir singing it.

Find your community chorus, get involved, be with people and make music.

So Say We All.

    It is talent night for my choir this evening and gee-wilkers, I’m excited.  I’ve been practising my solo piece and my part for the group ensemble we’re doing.  Things went/and are going pretty well actually.  But then I got to thinking(cue foreboding music), we need something to end our night with a bash.  What is gonna be easy enough to put together so it doesn’t implode, involves the audience (our choir) aaaaaand makes everyone smile on the way home.

I let those thoughts stew of the week letting other things take precedence, little things like getting married and such.  :)  Then I remembered a song from one of my favourite movies…its catchy, easy to pick up and most people already know it… it goes like this:

I’m hoping we can pull this off.  If we can, it is going to be great!

 

Past the politics and the divisiveness, past the rhetoric and atomization that so deeply scars our society, every once and awhile the message comes through:  Yes we can work together, yes we can overcome our differences, yes we can make beauty and harmony flow together toward one common cause that we all share.

This Friday’s Classical Music Interlude is a deeply moving experience and I am most happy to share it with you my fair readers.  The first video is the TED Talks which provides the back story and sets the stage for this magnificent accomplishment.  The second video is the song in full.  Enjoy.

 

 

The 185 singer Virtual Choir 1.o – Lux Aurumque in full.

 

 

 

The West has a long history of supporting autocratic regimes that are ‘stabilizing influences’ in various regions across the world.  The autocrats keep the inspirations of the local population in check by whatever means necessary (read violence and repression) to keep the doors open for (western) business.  This particular model crumbles eventually as people do eventually come together and throw out their oppressors.  Witness Tunisia, they are fighting for their country now and they may just win their freedom.

“The Tunisian uprising, which succeeded in toppling Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, the Tunisian president, has brought down the walls of fear, erected by repression and marginalisation, thus restoring the Arab peoples’ faith in their ability to demand social justice and end tyranny.

It is a warning to all leaders, whether supported by international or regional powers, that they are no longer immune to popular outcries of fury.

It is true that Ben Ali’s flight from the country is just the beginning of an arduous path towards freedom. It is equally true that the achievements of the Tunisian people could still be contained or confiscated by the country’s ruling elite, which is desperately clinging to power.

But the Tunisian intifada has placed the Arab world at a crossroads. If it fully succeeds in bringing real change to Tunis it will push the door wide open to freedom in Arab word. If it suffers a setback we shall witness unprecedented repression by rulers struggling to maintain their absolute grip on power.

Either way, a system that combined a starkly unequal distribution of wealth with the denial of freedoms has collapsed. (italics mine)

The maldistribution of wealth is a one of the prime motivating factors for revolution.  It is a feature of many popular revolts and will continue to be so until the elites realize that insulating themselves from the rest of people ultimately leads to their ruinous downfall.  It is the actions of the elite that determine whether societies prosper and fail.  I suggest reading Ronald Wright’s short book – A Short History of Progress to see how this story plays out repeatedly through history.

The people of Tunisia are revolting against a regime that restricted, repressed and tortured them, it is a lesson being played out in the Arab world about what can be done about their own situations, it would be wise of the people of the west also watched what has been wrought in their names, and how it is being rejected.

“Tunis may have been an extreme example, but all Arab regimes are variations on the same model, which obediently follows Western-instructed economic ‘liberalisation’ while strangling human rights and civil liberties.

The West has long admired the Tunisian system, praising its “secularism” and “liberal economic policies”, and, in its quest to open world markets and maximise profit, has turned a blind eye to human rights violations and the gagging of the media – two functions at which the Ben Ali regime excelled.

But Tunis, under Ben Ali, was not a model of secularism but a shameless model of tyranny. It turned “secularism” into an ideology of terror – not merely in the name of countering Islamic extremism but in an attempt to crush the spirit of opposition – Islamic, secular, liberal and socialist alike.

As with previous examples of countries it deemed to have embraced ‘successful economic models’, like Chile under the late dictator Augusto Pinochet, the West, particularly the US and France, backed the Ben Ali regime – prioritising forced stability over democracy.

But even when such governments remain in power for decades, thanks to Western support and a security apparatus that suppresses the people with immunity, it is only a matter of time before they come to a humiliating end.

The West, and the US in particular, has always abandoned its allies – a memorable example is the way in which Washington dropped Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the late shah of Iran, when popular anger threatened the country’s stability.

Seems like the West is about to, once again, wash its hands of another abysmal failure successful economic model country.  The infection is spreading, that contagion the freedom of people to choose the destiny for their own country.

The people of Tunisia have spoken and, most significantly, the Arab people are listening.

The Tunisian protests have already triggered peaceful demonstrations in Jordan, where people have protested over inflation and government efforts to undermine political liberties and press freedoms and have demanded the departure of Samir al-Rifai, the prime minister.”

I imagine the planners in the West are fretting as they once did during the 1950’s where the stemming the “Red Tide” was so vitally important to Western Interests.  Blocking the dreaded domino effect some 2 million Vietnamese were slaughtered.  Thankfully, military resources are not available right now that would be allocated normally to crush revolutions the like of what is happening in Tunisia.

Arabs of all generations are also expressing their sentiments online – not only congratulating Tunisians but also calling for similar movements in their own countries.   And on Facebook, many have replaced their profile pictures with images of the Tunisian flag, as though draping themselves in the colours of an Arab revolution.

The failure of one of the Arab world’s most repressive security forces to quell people power has been met with jubilation. Bloggers have compared the event to the fall of the Berlin wall, suggesting that it will usher in a new era in which the Arab people will have a greater say in determining their future. Mohamed Bouazizi, the young Tunisian who set himself on fire in protest against unemployment and poverty, has become a symbol of Tunisian sacrifices for freedom. Activists across the region have called for the “Tunisation” of the Arab street – taking Tunis as a model for the assertion of people power and aspirations for social justice, the eradication of corruption and democratisation.

But the celebratory atmosphere dominating the blogosphere and wide sectors of Arab society is tainted by a prevailing sense of caution and fear: Caution because the situation in Tunis remains unclear and fear that there may be a coup d’état, which would impose security but stifle popular aspirations.”

Jubilation and caution all mixed together.  The people in the region have seen what happened in Iran and Iraq, how meddling Western Powers can quickly destroy a nation.  Is Tunisia flying high enough above the radar to warrant Imperial attention.  Many rightfully feel trepidation because of the threat of foreign intervention.

The article ends with a quote from a Tunisian poet:

“History has shown that security forces can silence people but can never crush the simmering revolt that lies beneath the ashes. Or in the words of the beloved Tunisian poet Abul-Qasim al-Shabi in his poem To the Tyrants of the World:

 

Wait, don’t let the spring, the clearness of the sky and the shine of the morning light fool you …

Because the darkness, the thunder’s rumble and the blowing of the wind are coming toward you

from the horizon

Beware because there is a fire underneath the ash

 

As yet another new beginning approaches us, one is asked: “Why bother with life if there is no eternal reward, why struggle with the pain and the hardship, all for nothing”?  QS takes that question on and provides much food for thought in this compelling video.

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