Monday, 19 December 2011

Occupy- Mass Sing Up!

Well I am now a member of the Occupy Choir! I will be singing on the steps of St Paul's on 21st December between 6.30pm and 7.30pm as part of a mass "sing-up". The rehearsal took place in an abandoned building owned by UBS which is known as the bank of ideas. It was quite an odd rehersal space. It was like visiting the set of a film in a dystopian future in which society is disintegrating. I can see why some of the protesters style themselves as the character from "V for Vendetta". Most of the songs we hope to sing are taken from oppressed people around the world including the African American spirituals "Children Don't Get Weary" and "Find The Cost Of Freedom". There are also the songs that were popular from the anti-apartheid movement in the 1980s such as "Azikatale namojaya boshwa ze ze mitze linke loule ko" which means "we do not care if we go to prison, it is for freedom we are fighting now". Fortunately I do not have to think to hard about whether I can sing that with conviction living in a liberal democracy, but it is appropriate to evoke the spirit of people who are struggling across the world struggling against economic oppression. Some of the more secular leftists I sing with are a little jittery that we appear to be singing even "mildly Christian" songs but the choir facilitator told us the story of how she went on a trip to Bosnia to get a cross-community choir to sing a song uniting Christians, Muslims and Jews who had previously been in conflict. She described the act as "subverting religion to use as a force for good". I quite agree! :)

Well, when I am out singing on Wednesday evening I expect it will be cold so renewed respect for the people camping out every night in London and the other occupy locations. You think you know these old Christmas songs, but as time goes on I find that this one by Jona Lewie is not so much about warfare as the human state!

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