Sunday, July 23, 2006
Lebanon - a war of our time
'Humanity's suffering belongs to everyone' - Bernard Kouchner, director of Médecins Sans Frontières
As world leaders talk a lot and do very little, one team from Médecins Sans Frontières is already in Lebanon, and others are currently arriving there and in the surrounding countries. The teams are assessing the needs of the civilian population and focusing on displaced people in order to organize health relief activities, and essential goods are currently on their way.
Médecins Sans Frontières is an independent humanitarian medical aid agency committed to two objectives: providing medical aid wherever needed, regardless of race, religion, politics or sex, and raising awareness of the plight of the people they help. In 1999 Médecins Sans Frontières was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize 'in recognition of the organization's pioneering humanitarian work on several continents'. More information on their work in Lebanon, including podcasts, will be available in the coming days via this link.
Now playing - Michael Tippett A Child of Our Time with Sir John Pritchard conducting the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra & Choir. In his autobiography Tippett (above) says that in A Child of Our Time 'I wished to commemorate the unnamed, deranged soldier/murderer ... the work began to come together with the sounds of the shot itself - prophetic of the imminent gunfire of the war'.
A Child of Our Time was composed in 1941. In June 1943, whilst Director of Music at Morley College, London, Tippett refused to comply with the condition of his conscientious objection Tribunal that he should undertake full-time civil defence, fire service or land work. He argued, with the support of non-pacifist Ralph Vaughan Williams as a witness, that music was his most constructive contribution to society. He was sentenced to three months imprisonment. He later commented, ‘When I entered Wormwood Scrubs Prison it was really as if I had come home’. At the same time he was aware of the ultimate price of pacifism paid by his contemporaries on the other side of the war saying: ‘If I had been in Germany, I would have been shot’. Michael Tippett was President of the Peace Pledge Union.
Now read about Musicians against nuclear weapons
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