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Archive for May 19th, 2015

 

 

When justice is served to Palestinian refugees: Roger Waters to Dionne Warwick

Najat Rizk  shared this link
May 16, 2015

Thank you Roger Waters ….Humanity and Justice for All.

Doc Jazz's photo.

ROGER WATERS, former PINK FLOYD frontman:

“Dionne Warwick called me out by name in asserting she’d play Tel Aviv. Here’s what she misunderstands.

Singer and U.N. global ambassador Dionne Warwick recently released an interesting if puzzling statement asserting that she would, and I quote, “never fall victim to the hard pressures of Roger Waters, from Pink Floyd, or other political people who have their views on politics in Israel.”

“Waters’ political views are of no concern,” I assume she means to her, the statement read. “Art,” she added, “has no boundaries.”

Until today, I have not publicly commented on Ms. Warwick’s Tel Aviv concert or reached out to her privately.

But given her implicit invitation, I will comment now.

First, in my view, Dionne Warwick is a truly great singer.

Secondly, I doubt not that she is deeply committed to her family and her fans.

But, ultimately, this whole conversation is not about her, her gig in Tel Aviv, or even her conception of boundaries and art, though I will touch on that conception later.

This is about human rights and, more specifically, this is about the dystopia that can develop, as it has in Israel, when society lacks basic belief in equal human value, when it strays from the ability to feel empathy for our brothers and sisters of different faiths, nationalities, creeds or colors.

It strikes me as deeply disingenuous of Ms. Warwick to try to cast herself as a potential victim here.

The victims are the occupied people of Palestine with no right to vote and the unequal Palestinian citizens of Israel, including Bedouin Israeli citizens of the village of al-Araqib, which has now been bulldozed 83 times by order of the Israeli government.

I believe you mean well, Ms. Warwick, but you are showing yourself to be profoundly ignorant of what has happened in Palestine since 1947, and I am sorry but you are wrong, art does know boundaries.

In fact, it is an absolute responsibility of artists to stand up for human rights – social, political and religious – on behalf of all our brothers and sisters who are being oppressed, whoever and wherever they may be on the surface of this small planet.

Forgive me, Ms. Warwick, but I have done a little research, and know that you crossed the picket line to play Sun City at the height of the anti-apartheid movement.

In those days, Little Steven, Bruce Springsteen and 50 or so other musicians protested against the vicious, racist oppression of the indigenous peoples of South Africa.

Those artists allowed their art to cross boundaries, but for the purpose of political action. They released a record that struck a chord across the world. That record, “I Ain’t Gonna play Sun City,” showed the tremendous support of musicians all over the world for the anti-apartheid effort.
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Those artists helped win that battle, and we, in the nonviolent Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, will win this one against the similarly racist and colonialist policies of the Israeli government of occupation.

We will continue to press forward in favor of equal rights for all the peoples of the Holy Land.

Just as musicians weren’t going to play Sun City, increasingly we’re not going to play Tel Aviv. There is no place today in this world for another racist, apartheid regime.

As I’m sure you know, Lauryn Hill canceled her gig in Tel Aviv last week. She did not explicitly cite Israeli oppression of Palestinians as her reason for cancelling, but the subtext of her actions is clear and we thank her for her principled stand.

Dionne, I am of your generation. I remember the road to Montgomery, I remember Selma, I remember the struggles against the Jim Crow laws here.

Sadly, we are still fighting those battles, whether here in the USA in Ferguson or Baltimore, or in Gaza or the Negev, wherever the oppressed need us to raise our voices unafraid. We need to stand shoulder to shoulder with them, our brothers and sisters, until true equality and justice are won.

Remember, “Operation Protective Edge,” the Israeli bombing of Gaza last summer, resulted in the deaths of over 2,000 Palestinians, most of them civilians, including more than 500 Palestinian children.

It is hard for us over here to imagine what it is like to be exiled, disenfranchised, imprisoned, rendered homeless and then slaughtered, with no place to flee. Hopefully, in the end, love will triumph.

But love will not triumph unless we stand up to such injustice and fight it tooth and nail, together.

Dionne, your words indicate that part of you is set on going through with your concert. I am appealing to another part of you, to implore that other part to join us. We will welcome you.

It is more than likely that you harbor reservations in your heart about what Israel is doing to the Palestinians, that when you see a mother’s child in ruins you wonder what if that child were mine?

It is not too late to hear those reservations, to listen to that other voice, to value freedom and equality for all over the value you place on your concert in Tel Aviv.

When global pressure finally forces Israel to end its occupation, when the apartheid wall comes down, when justice is served to Palestinian refugees and all people there are free and equal, I will gladly join you in concert in the Holy Land, cross all the boundaries and share our music with all the people.”

Source: http://www.salon.com/…/roger_waters_to_dionne_warwick_you_…/

 

Are Smartphones Ruining your Life? Show me how

Thanks to smartphones we have never been so connected to people that can be as far as the other side of the world, whilst being left feeling disconnected from those right next to us.

These illustrations highlight how smartphones are causing the death of conversation and changing social interaction as we know it.

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Reine Azzi shared and commented on this link.

Check out these other articles:

30 Of The Most Powerful Images Ever

How classical music can transform anything?

Note: You’ll be better off to listen to the talk first: it has many musical pieces to support the arguments

Probably a lot of you know the story of the two salesmen who went down to Africa in the 1900s.

They were sent down to find if there was any opportunity for selling shoes, and they wrote telegrams back to Manchester. And one of them wrote, “Situation hopeless. Stop. They don’t wear shoes.” And the other one wrote, Glorious opportunity. They don’t have any shoes yet.” (Laughter)

Now, there’s a similar situation in the classical music world, because there are some people who think that classical music is dying.

And there are some of us who think you ain’t seen nothing yet. And rather than go into statistics and trends, and tell you about all the orchestras that are closing, and the record companies that are folding, I thought we should do an experiment tonight. Actually, it’s not really an experiment, because I know the outcome.

1:04 But it’s like an experiment. Now, before we start —

 

1:11 Before we start, I need to do two things.

One is I want to remind you of what a 7-year-old child sounds like when he plays the piano. Maybe you have this child at home. He sounds something like this. (Music) (Music ends) I see some of you recognize this child.

Now, if he practices for a year and takes lessons, he’s now 8 and he sounds like this. (Music) (Music ends) He practices for another year and takes lessons — he’s nine. (Music) (Music ends) Then he practices for another year and takes lessons — now he’s 10. (Music) (Music ends)

At that point, they usually give up. 

Now, if you’d waited for one more year, you would have heard this. (Music) (Music ends)

What happened was Not maybe what you thought, which is, he suddenly became passionate, engaged, involved, got a new teacher, he hit puberty, or whatever it is.

What actually happened was the impulses were reduced. You see, the first time, he was playing with an impulse on every note. (Music) And the second, with an impulse every other note. (Music) You can see it by looking at my head. (Laughter) The nine-year-old put an impulse on every four notes. (Music) The 10-year-old, on every eight notes. (Music) And the 11-year-old, one impulse on the whole phrase. (Music)

3:19 I don’t know how we got into this position. I didn’t say, “I’m going to move my shoulder over, my body.” No, the music pushed me over, which is why I call it one-buttock playing. (Music) It can be the other buttock. (Music)

You know, a gentleman was once watching a presentation I was doing, when I was working with a young pianist. He was the president of a corporation in Ohio. I was working with this young pianist, and said, The trouble with you is you’re a two-buttock player. You should be a one-buttock player.” I moved his body while he was playing. And suddenly, the music took off. It took flight. The audience gasped when they heard the difference. Then I got a letter from this gentleman. He said, “I was so moved. I went back and I transformed my entire company into a one-buttock company.” (Laughter)

4:09 Now, the other thing I wanted to do is to tell you about you. There are 1,600 people, I believe. My estimation is that probably 45 of you are absolutely passionate about classical music. You adore classical music. Your FM is always on that classical dial. You have CDs in your car, and you go to the symphony, your children are playing instruments. You can’t imagine your life without classical music. That’s the first group, quite small.

Then there’s another bigger group. The people who don’t mind classical music. (Laughter) You know, you’ve come home from a long day, and you take a glass of wine, and you put your feet up.

A little Vivaldi in the background doesn’t do any harm. That’s the second group. Now comes the third group: people who never listen to classical music. It’s just simply not part of your life. You might hear it like second-hand smoke at the airport…and maybe a little bit of a march from “Aida” when you come into the hall. But otherwise, you never hear it. That’s probably the largest group.

5:04 And then there’s a very small group. These are the people who think they’re tone-deaf.

Amazing number of people think they’re tone-deaf. Actually, I hear a lot, “My husband is tone-deaf.” 

Actually, you cannot be tone-deaf. Nobody is tone-deaf. If you were tone-deaf, you couldn’t change the gears on your car, in a stick shift car. You couldn’t tell the difference between somebody from Texas and somebody from Rome. And the telephone. The telephone. If your mother calls on the miserable telephone, she calls and says, “Hello,” you not only know who it is, you know what mood she’s in.

You have a fantastic ear. Everybody has a fantastic ear. So nobody is tone-deaf. But I tell you what.

5:44 It doesn’t work for me to go on with this thing, with such a wide gulf between those who understand, love and are passionate about classical music, and those who have no relationship to it at all. The tone-deaf people, they’re no longer here.

But even between those three categories, it’s too wide a gulf. So I’m not going to go on until every single person in this room, downstairs and in Aspen, and everybody else looking, will come to love and understand classical music. So that’s what we’re going to do.

6:17 Now, you notice that there is not the slightest doubt in my mind that this is going to work, if you look at my face, right? It’s one of the characteristics of a leader that he not doubt for one moment the capacity of the people he’s leading to realize whatever he’s dreaming. Imagine if Martin Luther King had said, “I have a dream. Of course, I’m not sure they’ll be up to it.” (Laughter)

6:45 All right. So I’m going to take a piece of Chopin. This is a beautiful prelude by Chopin. Some of you will know it. (Music) Do you know what I think probably happened here? When I started, you thought, “How beautiful that sounds.” (Music) “I don’t think we should go to the same place for our summer holidays next year.” (Laughter) It’s funny, isn’t it?

It’s funny how those thoughts kind of waft into your head. And of course — (Applause) Of course, if the piece is long and you’ve had a long day, you might actually drift off. Then your companion will dig you in the ribs and say, “Wake up! It’s culture!” And then you feel even worse. (Laughter)

8:06 But has it ever occurred to you that the reason you feel sleepy in classical music is not because of you, but because of us? Did anybody think while I was playing, “Why is he using so many impulses?” If I’d done this with my head you certainly would have thought it. (Music) (Music ends) And for the rest of your life, every time you hear classical music, you’ll always be able to know if you hear those impulses.

8:34 So let’s see what’s really going on here. We have a B. This is a B. The next note is a C. And the job of the C is to make the B sad. And it does, doesn’t it? 

Composers know that. If they want sad music, they just play those two notes. (Music) But basically, it’s just a B, with four sads. (Laughter) Now, it goes down to A. Now to G. And then to F. So we have B, A, G, F. And if we have B, A, G, F, what do we expect next? (Music) That might have been a fluke. Let’s try it again. (Music) Oh, the TED choir. (Laughter) And you notice nobody is tone-deaf, right? Nobody is.

You know, every village in Bangladesh and every hamlet in China — everybody knows: da, da, da, da — da. Everybody knows, who’s expecting that E.

9:40 Chopin didn’t want to reach the E there, because what will have happened? It will be over, like Hamlet.

Do you remember? Act One, scene three, he finds out his uncle killed his father. He keeps on going up to his uncle and almost killing him. And then he backs away, he goes up to him again, almost kills him. The critics sitting in the back row there, they have to have an opinion, so they say, “Hamlet is a procrastinator.” Or they say, “Hamlet has an Oedipus complex.” No, otherwise the play would be over, stupid. (Laughter) That’s why Shakespeare puts all that stuff in Hamlet — Ophelia going mad, the play within the play, and Yorick’s skull, and the gravediggers. That’s in order to delay — until Act Five, he can kill him.

It’s the same with the Chopin. He’s just about to reach the E, and he says, “Oops, better go back up and do it again.” So he does it again. Now, he gets excited. (Music) That’s excitement, don’t worry about it. Now, he gets to F-sharp, and finally he goes down to E, but it’s the wrong chord — because the chord he’s looking for is this one, and instead he does… Now, we call that a deceptive cadence, because it deceives us. I tell my students, “If you have a deceptive cadence, raise your eyebrows, and everybody will know.”

Right. He gets to E, but it’s the wrong chord. Now, he tries E again. That chord doesn’t work. Now, he tries the E again. That chord doesn’t work. Now, he tries E again, and that doesn’t work. And then finally… There was a gentleman in the front row who went, “Mmm.” (Laughter) It’s the same gesture he makes when he comes home after a long day, turns off the key in his car and says, Aah, I’m home.” Because we all know where home is.

11:26 So this is a piece which goes from away to home. I’m going to play it all the way through and you’re going to follow. B, C, B, C, B, C, B — down to A, down to G, down to F. Almost goes to E, but otherwise the play would be over. He goes back up to B, he gets very excited. Goes to F-sharp. Goes to E. It’s the wrong chord. It’s the wrong chord. And finally goes to E, and it’s home. And what you’re going to see is one-buttock playing. (Laughter) Because for me, to join the B to the E, I have to stop thinking about every single note along the way, and start thinking about the long, long line from B to E.

12:06 You know, we were just in South Africa, and you can’t go to South Africa without thinking of Mandela in jail for 27 years. What was he thinking about? Lunch? No, he was thinking about the vision for South Africa and for human beings. This is about vision. This is about the long line. Like the bird who flies over the field and doesn’t care about the fences underneath, all right?

So now, you’re going to follow the line all the way from B to E. And I’ve one last request before I play this piece all the way through. Would you think of somebody who you adore, who’s no longer there? A beloved grandmother, a lover somebody in your life who you love with all your heart, but that person is no longer with you. Bring that person into your mind, and at the same time, follow the line all the way from B to E, and you’ll hear everything that Chopin had to say. (Music) (Music ends) (Applause)

 

15:15 You may be wondering why I’m clapping. Well, I did this at a school in Boston with about 70 seventh graders, 12-year-olds. I did exactly what I did with you, and I explained the whole thing. At the end, they went crazy, clapping. I was clapping. They were clapping. Finally, I said, “Why am I clapping?” And one of them said, “Because we were listening.” (Laughter) Think of it. 1,600 people, busy people, involved in all sorts of different things, listening, understanding and being moved by a piece by Chopin. Now, that is something. Am I sure that every single person followed that, understood it, was moved by it? Of course, I can’t be sure.

15:57 But I’ll tell you what happened to me in Ireland during the Troubles, 10 years ago, and I was working with some Catholic and Protestant kids on conflict resolution. And I did this with them — a risky thing to do, because they were street kids. And one of them came to me the next morning and he said, “You know, I’ve never listened to classical music in my life, but when you played that shopping piece…” (Laughter)

He said, “My brother was shot last year and I didn’t cry for him. But last night, when you played that piece, he was the one I was thinking about. And I felt the tears streaming down my face. And it felt really good to cry for my brother.” So I made up my mind at that moment that classical music is for everybody. Everybody.

16:46 Now, how would you walk — my profession, the music profession doesn’t see it that way. They say three percent of the population likes classical music. If only we could move it to four percent, our problems would be over.

How would you walk? How would you talk? How would you be? If you thought, “Three percent of the population likes classical music, if only we could move it to four percent.” How would you walk or talk? How would you be? If you thought, “Everybody loves classical music — they just haven’t found out about it yet.” See, these are totally different worlds.

17:19 Now, I had an amazing experience. I was 45 years old, I’d been conducting for 20 years, and I suddenly had a realization. The conductor of an orchestra doesn’t make a sound. My picture appears on the front of the CD — (Laughter) But the conductor doesn’t m

ake a sound. He depends, for his power, on his ability to make other people powerful. And that changed everything for me. It was totally life-changing. People in my orchestra said, “Ben, what happened?” That’s what happened. I realized my job was to awaken possibility in other people. And of course, I wanted to know whether I was doing that. How do you find out? You look at their eyes. If their eyes are shining, you know you’re doing it.

You could light up a village with this guy’s eyes. (Laughter) Right. So if the eyes are shining, you know you’re doing it. If the eyes are not shining, you get to ask a question. And this is the question: who am I being that my players’ eyes are not shining? We can do that with our children, too. Who am I being, that my children’s eyes are not shining? That’s a totally different world.

18:32 Now, we’re all about to end this magical, on-the-mountain week, we’re going back into the world. And I say, it’s appropriate for us to ask the question, who are we being as we go back out into the world? And you know, I have a definition of success. For me, it’s very simple. It’s not about wealth and fame and power. It’s about how many shining eyes I have around me.

18:57 So now, I have one last thought, which is that it really makes a difference what we say — the words that come out of our mouth. I learned this from a woman who survived Auschwitz, one of the rare survivors. She went to Auschwitz when she was 15 years old. And… And her brother was eight, and the parents were lost. And she told me this, she said, “We were in the train going to Auschwitz, and I looked down and saw my brother’s shoes were missing. I said, ‘Why are you so stupid, can’t you keep your things together for goodness’ sake?'”

The way an elder sister might speak to a younger brother. Unfortunately, it was the last thing she ever said to him, because she never saw him again. He did not survive. And so when she came out of Auschwitz, she made a vow. She told me this. She said, “I walked out of Auschwitz into life and I made a vow. And the vow was, “I will never say anything that couldn’t stand as the last thing I ever say.

Can we do that? No. And we’ll make ourselves wrong and others wrong. But it is a possibility to live into. Shining eyes. (Applause) Shining eyes.

Patsy Z  shared this link

If you don’t already love classical music, you will after this talk:

Benjamin Zander’s energy is infectious.
t.ted.com|By Benjamin Zander

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