Thursday, April 19, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #12 - 13 Anti-War Songs

Sunday is Israel's Memorial Day. As a young country born of and in many ways still of war, Memorial Day is taken VERY seriously here. It is a day of ceremonies, of quiet reflection, of soft, sad music on the radio (yes, there is an entire genre like that). Memorial Day, as all Jewish holidays, actually starts at sundown the evening before. The solemnity of the day begins with a 2 minute siren all across the country. While the siren is going everything comes to a standstill - cars on the highway come to a halt while their drivers stand silently by, remembering, thinking. Shoppers in stores stand still, listening. All over the country you see people standing quietly and remembering the ultimate sacrifice made by so many to give us the country we have today. At 10 o'clock the following morning the sirens wail again, and again, everything stops. The different branches of the army and the police hold memorial services for their fallen, other ceremonies remember those lost to terrorism. All places of entertainment are closed.

As the day progresses and darkness falls, Israel moves from grief to celebration. The conclusion of Memorial Day moves straight into the celebration of Independence Day, which begins at 8pm that evening. How wise were the founders of this country, to inextricably link these two days, so that it is impossible to rejoice in what we have without reflecting on how we got here.

To mark Israeli Memorial Day with my own futile but fervent wish that these sacrifices should end, that we should "study war no more", I offer you 13 anti-war songs. These songs come from different countries and different wars and convey their message in vastly different ways, but wherever it strikes the tragedy of war is the same. I hope that you will choose to listen and take a moment to reflect on their message, and to imagine the shape of a world without war.

1.
And The Band Played Waltzing Matilda - The Pogues
2.
Christmas in the Trenches - John McCutcheon
3.
Through the Night - Ray Scudero - (You may have to pick "Through the Night" to see the actual lyrics, but they are well worth the extra click. To hear a clip, listen to Track 15
4.
I Ain't Marchin' Anymore - Phil Ochs
5.
The Patriot Game - The Dubliners
6.
No Bomb is Smart - SONiA (listen to Track 6)
7.
There Were Roses - Tommy Sands - a hauntingly beautiful song about a true event. I had the privilege of seeing him in concert several times last spring. When I told him that as many times as I heard the song it made me cry every single time, he shared with me that the men in the song had been friends of his, and that it had taken him 10 years to be able to put words to their story.
8.
Draft Dodger Rag - Phil Ochs
9.
Eve of Destruction - Barry McGuire
10.
The Grave - Don McLean - another powerfully haunting song
11.
The I Feel Like I'm Fixing To Die Rag - Country Joe and the Fish
12. Kill For Peace - Oscar Brand (sorry, couldn't find a link for this one)
13.
Peace Will Come - Tom Paxton

And following in the spirit of Memorial Day, next week's list will move from sadness to joy, with 13 celebrations of life in Israel.




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31 comments:

Tink said...

Nice to see The Pogues in your lsit. They are the favourite of my best friend. It's 1.30am over here, but I'll be back to listen to them all and give it the attention it deserves.
My TT is about collections I have.

Barbara said...

Waltzing Matilda is the only one of the 13 songs I'm familiar with.

Check out my TT

Janet said...

Wow, I haven't heard Country Joe and the Fish in forever! Great list :-)

This Eclectic Life said...

I got chills. I know them all. Thank you for sharing and for giving us insight into Memorial Day in Israel.

Rashenbo said...

A noble and thought provoking post. Thank you. I'm not familiar with many of them, but the ones I do recognize are great.

Great list!

Joan said...

What a wonderful world it would be without war! thanks for sharing.

My TT is also posted.

she said...

I've always loved Watzing Mathilda (Clancy Brother's Version) but my favourite anti-war songs have always been Mothers, Daughters, Wives (Judy Collins - best version imnsho is by the Corries) and Green Fields of France (Eric Bogle).

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Okay, I just got news that one of the ladies in my book club is in her final days of a battle with cancer, so Memorial Day... yeah, it means a lot to me tonight.

One day, I'll get over to Israel and experience these two days. Just the way you described it painted the picture and set the mood. So many lives lost for us to have a country...

Happy TT, my friend.

scribbit said...

Hey I was thinking music too! I love Eve of Destruction

Robin said...

Barbara - I tried to go visit your blog but it kept crashing my computer. Sorry.

She - Mothers Daughters Wives is one of my favorites as well, but I prefer Priscilla Herdman's version. I had a lot of trouble deciding whether to include it or not, and decided eventually that it was more of a women's song than a straight anti-war song so sadly it didn't make the cut. It was REALLY hard to limit the list to only 13. So many got left out...

Susan - I'm so sorry about your friend. How very sad. I hope all those who loved her are able to find some peace.

Dragonheart said...

Great list of anti-war songs. Thank you for teaching us about Memorial Day and Independence Day. Your Memorial Day sounds a lot like our Remembrance Day in Canada - at 11 o'clock, 2 minutes of silence is observed throughout the country and their are ceremonies at all the War Memorials. The branches of the military hold services for those who were lost.

Toni said...

What a great list! Will definitely have to check these out!

Irish Church Lady :) said...

Nice way to pay tribute to Memorial Day!

Lulu said...

What a beautiful tribute! And thank you for educating me on hwo your country celebrates Memorial Day and Independece Day. I learning new things about other countries!

Thank you also for stopping by!

Wylie Kinson said...

Thanks for reminding us that people are dying on our behalf everyday. Memorial day/veteran day/rememberance day (depending on where you live) for many of us 'youngsters' has sadly turned into just another 3 day weekend. Many of us have forgotten the whys...

Carmen said...

wish the world would give peace a chance. :)

samulli said...

There are some beautiful songs in this list. I have to listen to the other ones I don't know yet.
Thanks for stopping by my blog!

Kim said...

I wish we would do something like that here in the US for Memorial Day. Like was said before, it's become just another 3 day weekend, an excuse to have a cookout and drink some beer.

And I think I live under a rock..I haven't heard of any of your songs.

Janne said...

Very interesting post. I had no idea about the memorial day.

Happy TT.

Denise Patrick said...

The only one I knew was Eve of Destruction. Great list to get people thinking.

Thanks for visiting my TT.

Lady G~ said...

Great list of songs. I sorry to day, I am not familiar with any of these artist. I tried to "hear" the songs through amazon, but wasn't able to hear some. Reading the lyrics made me cry. Hearing the ones I did,also made me cry.

Kristin said...

Thank you for your list. It is unfathomable to me that you must experience what you do, but you clearly have the right perspective. I had not ever heard of any of those songs, but I can tell how they fit Memorial Day to a tee.

impworks said...

That's strange - I could have sworn I left a comment before when I added myself to the visitors link. Must have gotten lost somewhere on the information side road. I was going to suggest Simple Mind's Belfast Child as another anti-conflict song...

Fairly Odd Mother said...

I wish we could live in a world where we didn't need anti-war songs, y/k? But, I love your list and will check out some of those songs.

amy said...

Interesting list..Thanks for sharing

Amys Random Thoughts is having a blogging scavenger hunt starting May 1st. Details announced today. Would to have you participate

FRIGGA said...

I strongly disagree with you, but Happy TT13 anyways =)

Miscellaneous-Mum said...

Proud as an Aussie to see Waltzing Matilda referred too! All good songs but


Thanks for coming and visiting me :)

Robin said...

I don't understand Frigga, what is to disagree? No matter who is on the winning side and who is on the losing side, the need for a violent solution to a conflict is a tragedgy. Every young broken body is one that won't see their children grow or the flowers bloom again. I'm not a pacifist. I know that wars are sometimes necessary, and I have to watch my own loved ones put on a uniform and go to serve, but that doesn't make war, ALL war, less of a tragedy. Whether you and I agree about a specific war, since I'm guessing that's what you're alluding to even though I didn't speak of any particular conflict, is not the issue. The side the fallen are on doesn't matter. They are lives cut short because their leaders failed at finding a better way. After all, it's never the leaders in the front lines, is it...

Robin said...

Aack. Obviously I meant to write "tragedy".

Note to self: do not try to write coherently before drinking several cups of coffee!

DS Writer said...

There is also Simon and Garfunkel's Last Night I had the strangest dream - very powerful anti war message there.

Himself said...

Great post Robin; I know it can be difficult to be anti-war in a place where war is often about existence. It's tragically ironic that being opposed to violent solutions to political problems can call your patriotism into question.

On that note, the wife and I just watched "Shut Up and Sing", a documentary about the Dixie Chicks and the big kerfuffle that followed Natalie Maines' flip comment about George W. Bush on the eve of the his preemptive war on Iraq. Even if you don't care for their music, it's a great documentary.