Archive for April, 2012

Protesters Sing ‘Children Of The Rainbow,’ A Pete Seeger Children’s Song

Anders Behring Breivik Trial: Protesters Sing ‘Children Of The Rainbow,’ A Pete Seeger Children’s Song

By JULIA GRONNEVET  04/26/12 02:13 PM ET AP

OSLO, Norway — They gathered by the tens of thousands in the drenching rain to face down terrorism with song.

Drawn by a Facebook-organized protest, Norwegians flocked to public squares across the country Thursday and rallied against far-right fanatic Anders Behring Breivik, now on trial for a bomb-and-shooting rampage that killed 77 people.

They sang a Norwegian version of a Pete Seeger tune that the confessed mass killer claims has been used to brainwash the country’s youth into supporting immigration.

Defiant singalongs of “Children of the Rainbow” were staged in Oslo and other major Norwegian cities, even as the ninth day of the trial went on with survivors of Breivik’s attacks giving tearful testimony.

In downtown Oslo alone, about 40,000 people raised their voices as Norwegian artist Lillebjoern Nilsen played the song, a Norwegian version of Seeger’s “My Rainbow Race.”

They sang the Norwegian lyrics:

“A sky full of stars, blue sea as far as you can see

“An earth where flowers grow, can you wish for more?

“Together shall we live, every sister, brother

“Young children of the rainbow, a fertile land.”

Seeger’s lyrics in the original version have a similar message of living together in harmony.

In testimony last week, Breivik mentioned the tune as an example of how he believes “cultural Marxists” have infiltrated Norwegian schools and weakened its society.

The crowd later marched to the Oslo courthouse, where they laid a carpet of red and white roses on the steps and the fence.

Reached at home in Beacon, N.Y., the 92-year-old Seeger told The Associated Press he had heard about the mass gathering in a phone call from Nilsen.

“I said, ‘Oh that’s wonderful,'” Seeger said. “It’s a tremendous honor, really. One of the greatest honors a songwriter could have is to have a song of theirs sung in another country.”

The folk singer and his music have been central in many social justice issues from civil rights to the environment. He sang out against the Vietnam War and more recently joined the Occupy Wall Street protest in Manhattan.

Breivik has admitted to setting off a bomb July 22 outside the government headquarters that killed eight people, and then going on a shooting rampage at the Labor Party’s annual youth camp on Utoya island, killing 69 others, mostly teenagers.

Shocked by Breivik’s lack of remorse, Norwegians by and large have decided the best way to confront him is by demonstrating their commitment to everything he loathes. Instead of raging against the gunman, they have manifested their support for tolerance and democracy.

“We have a quiet majority that sometimes gets a bit too quiet,” said Shoaib Sultan of The Norwegian Centre against Racism. However, he said it was important to “demonstrate tolerance.”

Eskil Pedersen, the head of the Labor Party’s youth wing, told the umbrella-holding crowd in Oslo that Thursday’s song held special significance for his group. “We aren’t here because of him, but because of each other,” Pedersen said.

Breivik’s defense lawyer, Geir Lippestad, said his client was aware of the singalong protests.

“He has registered that there is something going on outside this place, but he has obviously not seen it with his own eyes,” Lippestad told public broadcaster NRK at the courthouse.

In court, people who survived Breivik’s car bomb testified emotionally as he listened without expression.

Anne Helene Lund, 24, who was just 7 meters (23 feet) from the explosion, lay in a coma for a month. When she woke up, she had lost her memory, unable to remember even the names of her parents.

“I studied political science for three years. Now I have to relearn social studies at the junior high school level,” she testified.

Her father, Jan Henrik Lund, fought back tears as he described seeing his daughter with life-threatening brain injuries.

“It was like experiencing the worst and the best in the same moment,” he said. “It was fantastic that she was alive, horrible that she was as injured as she was.”

Breivik says he was targeting the governing Labor Party, which he claims has betrayed the country by opening its borders to Muslim immigrants. He coldly described the attacks in gruesome detail last week.

Since he has admitted his actions, Breivik’s mental state is the key issue for the trial to resolve. If found guilty and sane, Breivik would face 21 years in prison, although he can be held longer if deemed a danger to society. If declared insane, he would be committed to compulsory psychiatric care.

Breivik said Wednesday that being declared insane would be the worst thing that could happen to him because it would “delegitimize” his views.

___

Associated Press writer Rik Stevens in Albany, New York, contributed to this report.

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Norwegians heckle mass killer Anders Breivik with Pete Seeger’s song “Rainbow Race”

Norwegians heckle mass killer Anders Breivik with Pete Seeger children’s song

 

Some 40,000 people stand in drizzling rain in Oslo’s Youngstorget square to participate in the singing of “Barn av Regnbuen” (Children of the Rainbow), April 26, 2012. (AP)

 

(CBS/AP) OSLO, Norway – Facing terror with music, tens of thousands gathered in squares across Norway to sing a children’s song that gunman Anders Behring Breivik claimed is being used to brainwash young Norwegians.

The defiant Facebook protest against the right-wing fanatic took place as survivors gave tearful testimony Thursday in his trial for the July 22 bombing-and-shooting rampage that killed 77 people, mostly teenagers.

Some 40,000 people converged at a central square in Oslo in the pouring rain to sing the 1970’s song “Children of the Rainbow” — a Norwegian version of American folk music singer Pete Seeger’s “Rainbow Race.”

Folk singer Pete Seeger to be honored by arts academy

Singer Lillebjorn Nilsen, who popularized the song in Norway, led the protesters in singing through both the Norwegian and English versions, according to the English-language website Views and News from Norway (Watch video).

Later they were to lay roses on the steps of the courthouse in memory of those killed in the massacre.

In testimony last week, Breivik mentioned the song as an example of how he believes “cultural Marxists” have infiltrated Norwegian schools, triggering a Facebook intiative for Thursday’s protests.

Shocked by Breivik’s lack of remorse for his massacre, Norwegians by and large have decided the best way to confront him is by demonstrating their commitment to everything he loathes.

In court Thursday, people who survived Breivik’s car bomb in Olso’s government district gave emotional testimony as he listened expressionless.

Anne Helene Lund, 24, was just 23 feet from the explosion. She was in a coma for a month, and when she woke up she had lost her memory, unable to even remember the names of parents.

Her father, Jan Erik Lund, also took the stand. Fighting tears, he described his mixed emotions at seeing his daughter with severe life-threatening brain injuries in the hospital.

“It was like experiencing the worst and the best in the same moment,” he said. “It was fantastic that she was alive, horrible that she was as injured as she was.”

Breivik says he was targeting the governing Labor Party, which he claims has betrayed the country by opening its borders to Muslim immigrants. He has shown no remorse for the attacks, which he coldly described last week in gruesome detail.

Since he has admitted to the attacks, Breivik’s mental state is the key issue for the trial to resolved.

If found guilty and sane, Breivik would face 21 years in prison, though he can be held longer if deemed a danger to society. If declared insane, he would be committed to compulsory psychiatric care.

Breivik said Wednesday that being declared insane would be the worst thing that could happen to him because it would “delegitimize” his views.

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-202_162-57421887/norwegians-heckle-mass-killer-anders-breivik-with-pete-seeger-childrens-song/

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Folk legend Pete Seeger honored by arts academy; To receive award May 16th

Folk legend Pete Seeger honored by arts academy

Associated Press

NEW YORK  — Folk music legend Pete Seeger has won a prize and he might just sing a song to celebrate.

The 92-year-old troubadour is receiving a “Distinguished Service” award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. According to academy executive director Virginia Dajani, Seeger might perform at the May 16 ceremony, where playwright Tony Kushner will present Seeger a certificate and a check for $1,000. In an acceptance letter sent to the academy, and shared with The Associated Press, Seeger wrote that his father, Charles Louis Seeger, Jr., would have been “especially pleased.” The elder Seeger was a composer, conductor and pioneer of “ethnomusicology.”

“I am glad we are all realizing that the arts, in a broad sense, may save the world, save the human race,” Pete Seeger wrote to the academy.

Also Wednesday, the academy announced that a pair of Pulitzer Prize winners and academy members will receive gold medals for lifetime achievement: David McCullough for biography and Steven Reich for music. Because academy members are eligible for the medals, no cash prize is awarded.

The arts academy is an honorary society founded in 1898. It has a core membership of 250 writers, artists and musicians, including McCullough, Reich, Toni Morrison, Jasper Johns and Ornette Coleman

—Copyright 2012 Associated Press

http://online.wsj.com/article/APde92c855a4a5419b96888beca4986f26.html?KEYWORDS=seeger

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VOICES: The Earth’s a cleaner place, thanks to Pete Seeger

VOICES: The Earth’s a cleaner place, thanks to Pete Seeger
BY THE REV. SANDRA FITZ-HENRY FOR THE SUN CHRONICLE
Saturday, April 21, 2012 2:00 AM EDT

“We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.”

– Native American proverb

Tomorrow is Earth Day and outside everything is bursting into blossom.

Whenever Earth Day comes around, I think of folks who’ve done so much to raise awareness about our fragile environment. There are many. But today I am thinking of the folk singer, Pete Seeger.

Seeger will turn 93 years old on May 3. Living through the 20th and into the 21st century, he has witnessed so much history – World War II, the Cold War, the McCarthy era, the Vietnam War. … As a singer-songwriter and activist, he has sung with the Weavers, the Almanac Singers, and with Woody and Arlo Guthrie. His medium of communication and protest, has been music. He has sung in all sorts of places, and for all sorts of causes. He conveys a kind of thorough integrity, sustained through this long life. It is an integrity that radiates out to others. He believes that, “Music in some strange, mystical way brings people together, in spite of our problems.” His music empowers people to act for justice.

In 1955 when he was called before the House Un-American Activities Committee, he was unwilling to name other members of the various left-wing groups that he had belonged to over the years. For this refusal, he paid a huge price, as a blacklisted artist. Nevertheless, he stood firm.

He said: “I resent very much and very deeply the implication of being called before this committee that in some way because my opinions may be different from yours, that I am any less of an American than anyone else. … I have sung for almost every religious group in the country, from Jewish and Catholic, and Presbyterian and the Holy Rollers and Revival Churches. I love my country very dearly, and I greatly resent the implication that some of the places that I have sung and some of the people that I have known, and some of my opinions, whether they are religious or philosophical, make me less of an American.”

On this Earth Day I especially remember how in the 1960s Pete Seeger became increasingly concerned about the degradation of the environment. And although many thought it a foolish and fruitless enterprise, he decided that he would take on the cleaning up of the Hudson River. At the time, the Hudson was highly polluted, with sewage and chemicals. He had a boat built, the “Clearwater,” which sailed up and down the Hudson, beginning in 1969, making stops, holding song fests, bringing young people aboard, and helping to educate them about becoming good stewards of the Earth. He taught through the joy of singing and through being a person who cared enough to care; and cared enough to take on the “impossible.”

I was not too surprised to learn that Pete often performs at Unitarian Universalist churches and meetings. He has spoken of seeing pretty eye-to-eye with Unitarians, though I am not sure he ever joined a church. I am not surprised, though, that he found Unitarian Universalism a place and a faith that was wide and broad and deep enough to offer him a place he could feel at home.

Earth Day is a good time to remember to make every day an Earth Day, a time to grow awareness that even small things, multiplied, can make a difference. Changing to compact fluorescent light bulbs, turning off the water while brushing teeth, recycling everything possible. Solar panels. Small things multiplied make a difference. I can remember a time when people routinely threw their trash out the car window, can you believe it? – and the highways all looked like dumps.

The state in which I lived instituted a stiff fine for anyone caught disposing of trash this way, and suddenly the roadsides began to look a whole lot better. It wasn’t the “Clearwater,” but real change happened.

I am thinking of Pete Seeger with special admiration as we approach his 93rd birthday. His life reminds us that even in difficult times, we – each one of us – can meet tough challenges with integrity and creativity. Big change can happen step by step. Happy Birthday, Pete!

The Rev. Sandra D. Fitz-Henry is the minister of Murray Unitarian Universalist Church in Attleboro. Her columns are published monthly on The Sun Chronicle’s religion pages as part of our Voices series featuring members of the area clergy. They are online at thesunchronicle.com/columns.

http://www.thesunchronicle.com/articles/2012/04/21/columns/11359713.txt

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Pete Seeger in Concert April 17th at Riverside Church, NYC

VOICES OF HOPE, hosted by Pete Seeger, will take place at the Riverside Church in NYC on Tuesday April 17th at 7:30pm and feature a wonderful diversity of musicians who have been a part of Rural & Migrant Ministry’s Justice for Farmworkers Campaign’s long history including: folk singers Pat Humphries of Emma’s Revolution, and Kim & Reggie Harris as well as Broadway and NY Met performer Larry Marshall, Tyrone Aiken, Betsaida Alcantara & Zac Decker, Andres  Chamorro, Gina Figueroa, and Christina Martinez. The Concert is under the direction of RMM’s noted Music Director Jeannine Otis. A Pre-Concert Reception begins at 6:30pm

 When: Apr 17, 2012 Reception 6:30 – 7:30PM – Apr 17, 2012 Concert 7:30 – 9:30PM
Where: The Riverside Church Knave, 490 Riverside Drive, New York, NY
Tickets available at The Riverside Church Box Office https://www.vendini.com/ticket-software.html?e=b30164138d6c938bf09a43560a834ea1&t=tix
as well as www.brownpapertickets.com/event/235531

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