My Thoughts on “With Earth and Each Other – A Virtual Rally for a Better Middle East”

I normally use this blog to post news about Pete Seeger and the folk music movement which he spearheaded.  However, there has been a great deal of negative email about Pete’s appearance at the Arava Virtual Rally – “With Earth and Each Other.”  I feel that a few comments are in order.

Many of the people attacking Pete Seeger are very decent human rights activists.  Do they not agree that Pete Seeger has the right to sing for whoever he wants to, anywhere in the world?  Isn’t trying to restrict him from singing for a group that one doesn’t like,  the same as the effects of the blacklist that he suffered under for so many years? 

I’ll conclude this brief post with Pete’s own words, said on a dark day in August 1955.  Pete was forced to testify before the House Unamerican Committee.  During the course of the hearing, Pete uttered these very important words: 

“I am proud that I have sung for Americans of every political persuasion, and I have never refused to sing for anybody because I disagreed with their political opinion, and I am proud of the fact that my songs seem to cut across and find perhaps a unifying thing, basic humanity.”

(Substitute “People of the world” for “Americans” and you will discover what Pete is all about.)

Jim Capaldi

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9 Comments »

  1. An excellent post, Jim. Thank you for your sensible words, calm tone, and that wonderful quote from Pete.

    • Judith Landsman said

      I also appreciate the quote, it is lovely and timeless. I do not know what decision Pete Seeger has made. My hope is that he will sing, regardless of politics, to bolster the grass-roots initiatives of those seeking solutions despite politicians and militants. Peace and positive solutions will come precisely because of organizations like Arava Institute and recognition of shared resources and responsibilites.

      I would hope the media attention will allow for review of JNF policies, particularly regarding the Bedouin people. However, forcing artists to take a political position because of a complex national issue (JNF is intertwined in Israeli history) is a tricky challenge. Pete Seeger is not being asked to alter his lyrics, or in any way compromise the integrity of his message, that I am aware of. I am curious as to his decision.

      Peace,
      J Landsman

      • Alec said

        Judith, you will be pleased to know that Pete Seeger sang, and details can be found on the Facebook page for the event.

        Also, here he is singing in Hebrew almost 60 years ago.

    • Gary Green said

      Jim:

      Excellent posting on behalf of Pete. Thanks.

      Jim my long lost old friend, you have always been a guardian for integrity and for Pete’s legacy.

      We ALL thank you!

      –gary green

  2. MT said

    If Pete’s still singing for peace, there’s nothing to worry about. It doesn’t matter who wants that peace.

  3. mahir said

    Thanks for your comment, Jim. I agree entirely. I can perfectly understand why people advocate a boycott of Israel, but I also appreciate Pete’s efforts towards reconciliation in that part of the world, and I realise exactly where he’s coming from…

  4. Tracy Saunders said

    For some reason tonight I felt I wanted to listen to old Weavers and Pete Seeger tracks. In particular, I came across Ronnie Gilbert singing Hay una mujer desparecida en Chile, and I thought: where did the folk movement go?
    I hope there are still people like Pete fighting and singing in the US today as the world sure does need them.
    TS, Spain

  5. Tracy Saunders said

    Health and Happiness Pete; you sure have influenced MY life.

  6. Carol Chamoff said

    Music is another way of communicating- having a conversation. As long as we keep communicating there is hope that we can make positive change. It’s when we stop having conversations that we see violence take over. I am so glad that Pete is still keeping our conversations going because there are a whole lot of people that need to hear his particular message. It always makes you feel good to preach to the choir but it’s more important to take your message to those who would disagree. with you.

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