Tag Archives: remembrance day

remembrance day songs for a different kind of soldier

don’t know why remembrance day fascinates me so – at any rate, here’s another post about it, following the one last week and this and this last year.

today i’d like to honour some soldiers for peace and democracy who died upholding their convictions.

  • ephialtes, a fighter for democracy 400 BCE
  • martin luther king, fighter for racial equality
  • gregoris lambrakis, greek anti-fascist and inspiration for the movie “Z”
  • mahatma gandhi, non-violent anti-imperialist and indian president
  • bishop oscar romero, liberation theologist from el salvador
  • john lennon, activist and ex-beatle
  • victor jara, chilean poet, singer-songwriter, educator and political activist
  • john f. kennedy, US president

two of them made music, wrote songs. here’s one by john lennon:

we are all water from
different rivers
that’s why it’s so easy to meet
we are all water in this vast,
vast ocean
someday we’ll evaporate
together.

there may be not much
difference
between rockefeller and you
if we hear you sing.

there may be not much
difference
between rockefeller and you
if we show our dreams

the other one is victor jara. watch this youtube video, it shows his beautiful and very distinctive voice and guitar playing. victor jara was a bit of a national hero – the way poets and musicians are heroes in south america – i wish we had such a culture here!

he died shortly after the coup in chile on september 11, 1973. he was one of thousands of people rounded up by the military, tortured and killed.

one of the many songs that i’d like to remember him for is canto libre. i couldn’t find any translation of it into english here on the internet so i’ll work on that and serve it up to you tomorrow.

remembrance day songs for 2007

a few days from now is remembrance day – november 11 here in canada, when we remember our soldiers in the war. and when we imagine a future without war. i know, it sounds crazy. just this morning i was reading about paul tibbets, the man who threw the atomic bomb on hiroshima and who died a few days ago. war, in his eyes, and in the eyes of many who discussed his story, is inevitable.

perhaps. but not in my eyes. i’m happy to be a simple minded pacificist. it always amuses me to remember almost 40 years ago, when a well-intentioned person predicted that i would soon lose my idealism. i still haven’t changed my mind. a pacifist is someone passionate about peace. that suits me just fine.

like last year, i’d like to offer you some remembrance day songs again that echo the need for peace.

lately, i’ve been researching for my NaNoWriMo project, which is about the story of a slave in 19th century louisiana. as you probably know, there were quite a few african-american soldiers in the wars at that time. an unknown buffalo soldier and his familythey were called buffalo soldiers. which brings us to a song by bob marley, buffalo soldier.

buffalo soldier, dreadlock rasta:
there was a buffalo soldier in the heart of america,
stolen from africa, brought to america,
fighting on arrival, fighting for survival.

yesterday morning on CBC radio i also heard another ugly war story. during the depression, many american citizens of mexican origin were deported to mexico. they even charged them for the transportation cost! but when it came time to draft people for WWII, these very citizens received draft notices. according to the CBC, all of them answered the call.

let’s also have a spanish song for peace, then. this is by one of my favourites, argentinean mercedes sosa, solo le pido a dios.

this only i ask of god
not to be indifferent to pain
that death doesn’t find me
empty and lonely, without having done what i can

this only i ask of god
not to be indifferent to injustice

this only i ask of god
not to be indifferent to war

finally, music of peace takes us to the international festival of sacred music coming out of fes, morocco.

in its 13th year now, it brings together people like pakistan-born khalid mahmood, a UK house of commons member and member of the third world solidarity group, a group of parliamentarians from all parties concerned with solidarity, peace angelique kidjo singing a rainbow songand justice in developing countries; chief rabbi rené-samuel sirat, one-time chief rabbi of france, one of the UNESCO chairs of interreligious dialogue for intercultural understanding; and sheikh khaled bentounès, spiritual leader of the sufi order alâwiya, “man of peace and indefatigable worker towards harmony between peoples”

one of the artists present at that festival was angelique kidjo, always an ambassador for justice and peace. watch and listen to her here at the newport folk festival. not somber like we usually think remembrance day songs should be. but maybe if there was more joy it would be easier to imagine peace?

(this post was included in the carnival of inspiration and motivation)