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Sunday, July 12, 2009


Sunday afternoon at Stern Grove


Joan Baez * Pete Seeger

Listening to Joan Baez at Stern Grove this afternoon brought back memories of the late sixties when activists against the Vietnam war were gaining momentum. She was a prominent figure in energizing the anti-war movement. Among her repertoire today was a song that was popular in those days -- "We shall overcome". The first time I heard it was when Pete Seeger made an appearance in Kolkata in 1967 or thereabout. He invited the audience to join him in what he called a "Hootenanny". And we did.

Joan Baez at Stern Grove
© Musafir
Swaying to music
© Musafir

Happiness is a laughing child
© Musafir

It felt good to see people of all ages, races, colors enjoying the music, the sunshine, food and wine under the Eucalptus trees. Young couples hugging, mothers swaying to the beat, holding their children.

Tomorrow it will be back to work for those who have jobs. They are fortunate, but even for them there is nagging concern about the future. Are their jobs secure? In America there is no such thing as job security. But tomorrow is another day. Today they were out there enjoying themselves.

Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan

In some respects, 36 years after the end of the Vietnam war things have not changed much. We were conned into another unjust war, this time against Iraq. Sporadic incidents of internecine violence continue in Iraq as Shias and Sunnis kill each other. But it is news from the war in Afghanistan that now gets more coverage. We installed a puppet, Hamid Karzai, a corrupt and ineffective man to run Afghanistan. Bin Laden is reported to be hiding in the border area between Afghanistan and Pakistan. There are reports about a natural gas pipeline (TAP or TAPI) from Turkmenistan to India via Afghanistan and Pakistan being the primary motive for our involvement in Afghanistan. Could be true. Oil was certainly a factor in the Iraq war although it appears that we are not going to be in control of Iraq's oil. Still, a friendly government in Iraq would be good for the multi-national oil companies. Major powers and oil companies have done a lot of dirty things together. That,too, is not going to change.

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