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Music for a thoughtful day.

 

Da pacem Domine
Da pacem Domine is the incipit of two different Latin texts, a hymn and an introit. Both have been the base for compositions to be used in church liturgy, beginning with chant. Paraphrased versions of the hymn were created by Martin Luther in German in 1529, Verleih uns Frieden, also frequently set by composers. In English, the hymn entered the Book of Common Prayer, “Give peace in our time, O Lord”.

Dirtywars    You know what Remembrance Day should be for?

1.  Remembering all those who have died in war.  Precedence on the civilian deaths, because they die at far higher rate than any established military force.

2. Educate yourself as to what war is and how it is waged.

3. Take action to prevent future war and the inevitable human suffering that goes along with the organized murder we like to call warfare.

Today I’m all about the second bullet point.

Full Documentary

Have your minute of silence.   Then take an additional hour and a half to get a glimpse of what the war on terror looks like.

Remembrance Day is a conflicted day for me, I have had the absolute luxury of never having to fight in an armed conflict and for that I am grateful.

Conversely, the application of military power is always the sign of the failure of the human spirit when we must resort to destroying nations and people for what is purported to be what is “right”.  We must remember all of those who gave their lives and have had their lives taken from them.  John Pilgers quote speaks to the merciless nature of war.

During World War One, 10% of all casualties were civilians.

During World War Two, the number of civilian deaths rose to 50%.

During the Vietnam War, 70% of all casualties were civilians.

In the war in Iraq, civilians account for up to 90% of all deaths.

Sobering figures to say the least.

Speaking of participating in Remembrance Day activities, I had a concert yesterday and my choir, called Soldiers Cry.  It was special as Roland Majeau came to sing his song with us, he brought his guitar and accompanied us while he sang the solo line.   The song is rhythmically very challenging. As you’re sitting there listening, clap your hands softly to find the pulse of the music. Notice that all the lyrics start when your hands are apart. This piece of music has syncopation in spades, making it just a bear to learn.

The second challenge for me is not to think of the damn video while singing, because becoming emotional/getting misty does bad things to your vocal instrument. :/

I’ll apologize now for the disjointed nature of this post.  Days like today do much to stir the emotional pot as they raise many conflicting feelings about how we treat the past, and which parts we choose to focus on.  Our history contains a staggering amount of violence , every day could be like November 11th for all the people who have unjustly lost their lives during conflict.

I hope that on days like today people understand, even for just a short while. the importance of history and how the past makes our future.  Understanding what we have done, and why, is vital in constructing a coherent view of the world.

I’m not sure how many people really get the horror of war and the terrible price we all pay being party to it, but if Remembrance Day awakens a twinge of empathy, a stirring of consideration, even a feeling of “I don’t want that”, then days like this should be considered to valuable and worth continuing.

Joyful Noise

Update: The concert went very well, we played to a full house and managed to get an encore out of the proceedings.  :)

 

In a time where things are hyper sensationalized and denuded of any real meaning Remembrance Day has done remarkably well to maintain its somber demeanor and sense of decorum.  (I’m sure some budding capitalist is contemplating a remembrance day sale, just before being cuffed upside the head for being so vulgar)

I’d like to put forth the notion that we should change the focus of Remembrance Day; from the armed forces to the civilian populations that suffered the brunt of the casualties during  those special times where we leave our empathy and rationality at the door and engage in wholesale slaughter.

This is by no means a comprehensive listing of all civilian deaths due to war – just the low-lights that I could find.

World War I – 6.8 million civilian deaths.

World War II – 42 – 58 million civilian deaths.

Korean War – 2.8 million

Vietnam – 2.0 million

Nicaragua –  78,000 and counting due to landmines.

Iraq – 93,000 to 102,000 and rising.

Afghanistan – 32,000 and rising.

We should take this day to remember our humanity and to work toward understanding each other from across a table, not the barrels of guns.

We should remember those innocent victims of war, they certainly did not deserve their fate, yet war claimed them anyways.  We should remember the Armenian Holocaust, we should remember the Jewish Holocaust not only to remind us of depths of human depravity but to remember that tragic events such as these happened because ordinary people did not speak up and call out the injustice as it was beginning to happen.

It is our responsibility as human beings not to look and then turn away, but rather, we must face our ugly past to prevent an ugly future.

So, on this November 11th, I choose to remember our common humanity and weep for our losses due to the depredations of war and unrest.  I will remember that I will always have a choice whether or not to perpetuate evil, I will remember the past and hope I have the courage to make the right choice if faced with the grim situations that have marred our bloody history.

whitepoppy2

 

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