Tuesday, November 09, 2004
Life’s brutal ironies
Vote for peace concert in Bangkok. 30 October 2004.
I was in Bangkok recently and was invited to perform at the Vote for Peace concert at Suan Santi-chaiprakarn in the old-part of town. The day I arrived, a state of non-peace greeted me as news of death and violence in Narathiwat province, a predominantly muslim province in the South of Thailand, were all over the papers. After a brutal dispersal of protestors, at least 7 people lay dead and later 78 others-- arrested and dumped face down inside a cramped truck with hands tied behind their backs -would lose their lives from suffocation. Vote for peace is a campaign initiated by United for Peace and Justice Thailand in order to make peace an election issue. It is a statement of peace groups against US President George W. Bush and his re-election bid, and a stand against the heavy handedness and militarism of PM Thaksin. Intolerance and violence took the lives of 85 people in the South, just days before the peace concert. Later that week, Bush the butcher or as Jess Santiago calls him “The patron saint of war” would get a fresh mandate from the American people.
I ended up singing just one song, Chimes of Freedom by Bob Dylan. A refrain in the song goes "Striking for the gentle, striking for the kind, striking for the guardians and protectors of the mind, and the poet and the painter far behind their rightful time, we gaze upon the chimes of freedom flashing!”