War Stuff

Two things.
First is an important on-line survey that is looking to explore the similarities between pacifist and people with ties to the military. Bill Taylor, who is a member of my support committee, recently published a book called Lethal American Confusion: How Bush and the Pacifists Both Failed in the War on Terrorism, also created the survey and now has it available on-line.

We invite volunteers of any age, living in any country, to give us their opinions about similarities between
pacifist and military views. You fill out the survey right here on this site, sending it to us with a click.

We will collect survey responses until January 2007. Then we will begin a dialog about the results, looking for new ideas that go beyond the concepts of war and peace.

We encourage you to invite others to take part in the survey. As you finish the survey, you will be able to see immediately how your answers compare to others’.

You do not need to hold any particular view about war or peace.

Bill and his partner, Bobbie, have supported me in so many ways in my work. I really hope we get LOTS of people to fill out the survey. Please spread the word!

Second is video of Lee Hoiby’s deeply moving piece From Iraq: Last Letter Home from Pfc. Jesse Givens. It is based on the text of a letter written by a soldier stationed in Iraq.

US Army Pfc. Jesse Givens died in Iraq in the service of his country on the first of May, 2003, in his 34th year. He wrote this letter to his wife Melissa, his five year-old son Dakota (nicknamed ‘Toad’) and his unborn child Carson (nicknamed ‘Bean’). He asked Melissa not to open the envelope unless he was killed. ‘Please, only read it if I don’t come home,’ he wrote. ‘Please put it away and hopefully you will never have to read it.’

Hoiby set the words to music for a choral piece then a new arrangement for a baritone singer. In this Youtube reenactment, baritone Andrew Garland sings with Lee Hoiby on piano (which was recorded at the University of Wisconsin at Madison in honor of the centenary of the birth of Gunnar Johansen, the Danish piano virtuoso who was Hoiby’s musical mentor. The entire concert, which took place on September 17, 2006, can be found here then click on the September page.)

Garland lipsyncs the words as he writes the letter. [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5wqnPjkqu20]

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