Friday, 24 April 2009

Songs of Protest

We are reducing the clutter in our home ready to make a move round the world to the UK from New Zealand. As part of the process, we are having to make decisions on items that we have stored for years.

Both my wife and I used to buy long play (LPs) records back in the days when they used to produce 33 rpm vinyl records. One of the things that I noticed was the number of artists that are part of our collection that were singing protest songs. These include Arlo Guthrie, Donovan, and Joan Baez. These artists were around the time of the Vietnam war but there was an era of speaking out that seems to have gone quiet amongst the popular artists of today.

Protest movements still happen but the popular artists don't seem to be picking up the protest issues and making them part of their repertoire. It seems that we have become more accepting of a financial system that advantages the rich and enslaves the poor, and accepting of war as a mechanism for subduing those who disagree with our approach to life.

I am not a singer but I would like to hear more artists raising their protests in their music and speaking out against the injustices of the day. “Live Aid” might raise millions to feed the starving poor but it isn't challenging the systems and corruption that cause the suffering to occur. We need to be doing more than opening our wallets. We need to be challenging the systems and seeking redress at the very foundation of our society. This includes challenging the very attitudes that we have in terms of our goals and objectives.

If you want a bit of a challenge then I suggest reading Viv Grigg's book “Companion to the poor.” Viv worked amongst the squatters in Manila and the book highlights some of the issues that he faced and the struggle that he had in reconciling his beliefs with what he saw happening. Viv isn't the only author who challenges us to rethink our attitudes on prosperity and the treatment of others.

Let's rekindle the protest movements and speak out for a society that has real compassion for people and seeks to understand and not enforce conformity. I will speak more on variation in conception and using variation to aid understanding and increase learning in later blogs.

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