Is this a hopeless task?
I mean, singing about how to bring about peace? Is that hopeless? I think so!
If you search on line for ‘songs for world peace’, you’ll soon discover that there are dozens (maybe hundreds) written over the decades – indeed, over centuries.
So, what does that tell us?
Does it suggest that many people have worried and shown their opposition to war in the ‘trouble spots’ of the world … throughout all time … just as we do today?
And still it continues. We have to accept that singing anti-war songs does little to help.
There are people who have sadly, in their lifetime, never known other than conflict and terror and bombs and fighting.
And songs are written.
Think of children who may never know a peaceful existence; kids who have never experienced a happy family picnic, never been to a party, never been to the beach. (Don’t even know what a beach is!). Kids who have never seen birds in a blue sky or climbed a grassy hill just to roll down it. Kids whose school has been blown to smithereens. Maybe their homes also. Maybe their friends and family members have been brutalized - or killed - before their eyes.
What would they know about peace?
(‘Last night I had the strangest dream…’)
In Australia John Farnham sings:
“We're all someone's daughter
We're all someone's son
How long can we look at each other
Down the barrel of a gun?”
Before going on to sing:
“You're the voice, try and understand it
Make a noise and make it clear…”
“We're not gonna sit in silence
We're not gonna live with fear”
And, we DON’T ‘sit in silence’, because we DON’T want to ‘live with fear’
But that ‘living in fear’ is what it's like for many people. And it doesn’t seem to matter what we say, or think or do. Or what we sing.
When the song then suggests:
“This time, we know we all can stand together
With the power to be powerful
Believing we can make it better…”
We know that that is true in some ways, but how can we ‘make it better’?
John Farnham has been singing this song since 1986. Think about that! 1986!
It’s just yet another song that is sung with gusto – and has been for nearly 30 years - and yet, like countless other songs, has little effect other than us voicing something to make us feel ever-so-slightly better; even though it does nothing towards a more peaceful existence.
It is so disillusioning that the ‘powers-that-be’ continue to promote war-like attitudes…and this is not just where the fighting is currently happening, but most of the ‘Western world’ (Hello, USA! Hello UK! Hello Australia!). It is unforgiveable that we can have - in living memory - the atrocities of World Wars 1 and 2 and yet not learn a thing from them.
I now often resort to listening to music to block out the awfulness of what is happening, especially with the current mistreatment of asylum seekers.
I no longer concentrate on music literally promoting peace but, instead, use some music for the soul.
Please take time to check out the beautiful singing of Gurrumul, singing in his native language.