This thoughtful piece was written by CMN President Anna Stange.
War is not compatible with the survival of the human species and life as we know it on our planet. All life is connected and interdependent. The first very basic step to sustainability is peaceful coexistence with other people. If humans’ very basic need for safety and security is not met, we will never be in a position to foster sustainable living on a global scale. The entire “industry” of war: extraction and destruction of natural resources, the production of armaments, the obliteration of human life, and the utter devastation of the landscape is based on destruction–destroying existence. It is senseless waste and it shames our species.
So I sing, because that’s what I do and I love to do. Songs have the power to uplift and also to make people think. And I believe that we have power in unity. One person can do, but many can do much more. When we sing together, when our voices blend, our voices are more powerful and more beautiful than one voice alone. Yes, there is a time for listening and enjoying others’ songs, but we need to sing together, even if only to remind us of what we together can accomplish.
I mostly sing with children. I bring music programs about other places around the world into the schools and to the children to let children have actual, hands-on experience with the cultures of children far from their homes. I believe that when people do not have a tangible connection to people in faraway places that it is easy to “otherize” or objectify those people. And when that happens, it becomes easy to justify less than humane treatment of those people, their land and their culture. By introducing students to the music and culture of various people around the world, I hope that my programs will help today’s children (and their their parents) become more empathetic to the situations of people around the globe and become tomorrow’s leaders: people who choose peace as the solution.
And so I sing.