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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
sing4peace Have anti-war songs changed anything? (108* d) RE: Have anti-war songs changed anything? 14 Sep 09

"The only tyrant I accept in this world is the still small voice within me. And even though I have to face the prospect of being a minority of one, I humbly believe I have the courage to be in such a hopeless minority." Mahatma Gandhi

I've been labeled as a "protest singer" ever since I was a 15 year old banging out a very passionate, if somewhat out of tune version of "The Times They Are A Changin'" at the Pawtucket Elks Club back in the autumn of 1968. That song and so many others remain in my repertoire because they are powerful tools.

I know songs change people, I've been changed by songs my whole life. That's why I sing and that's why I listen to music. It's like food - molecularly altering. I have a box full of letters I have received from people who tell me how this or that song I sang made them question their own choices and beliefs.

Today, I think I do my best singing at an open mike/public speakout I have hosted in Memorial Square in Providence, Rhode Island (USA) every Saturday, rain or shine, for over five years (since May of 2004). It is called the "No Time To Be Silent Vigil". We started the vigil in the aftermath of Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib to speak (and sing) out against torture. We gather where we do in hopes of convincing Judge Williams (our former Supreme Court Chief Justice) to resign from the military commissions at Guantanamo Bay and we brave the elements -not to mention the so-called slings and arrows of public opinion - to address the brutal reality of "the never ending war".

Many musicians have joined me there along with poets, painters and a dancer now and then. Some will sing, some read poetry and it's quite moving when we are visited by a local jazz trumpeteer who brings us all to tears with "Taps". We practice radical listening and advocate persistant and creative non-violence. We've had thousands of conversations with people over the years - weaving community one person at a time.

Consider yourselves invited. We'll be there for the foreseeable future - every Saturday - rain or shine from noon until one in front of the monument to "the war to end all wars" - that is, as Hank Williams used to say, "God willing and if the creek don't rise".

"Hope is the thing with feathers
that perches in the soul
and sings the tune
without the words
and never stops at all."
Emily Dickinson

Your sister in Hope and Song,
Joyce Katzberg

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