Discover more from Pass Along Songs
A Songs for Ukraine Manifesto
Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken
“I take a deep breath, sidestep my fear, and begin speaking from the place where beauty and bravery meet--within the chambers of a quivering heart.” ― Terry Tempest Williams
It has happened. I honestly didn’t think it would. A musician I considered a friend refused to play for Songs of Ukraine saying, “I don’t play for politics.”
I can understand a musician not wanting to sing or play because they don't want to perform in public any longer. I can understand being tired and burnt out and done with all the negative noise in the world. I understand and totally respect that decision. We have to take care of ourselves if we hope to care for others.
What I can't understand is someone telling me they don't want to contribute because they “don't play for politics,” and that I’m “…using the human rights thing to convince people to do things they already stated they don’t want to.”
How can anyone see what is happening in Ukraine as simply political? I know that politicians are involved, yes. But the fact is that innocent people (babies, women, children, the elderly, those in hospitals, and those going about the business of daily life) are being blown to pieces. Cities, cultures, economies, and lives are being destroyed.
This is not politics. It is a crime against who we are as a species. It is the very worst of what we can do and be as human beings, and it doesn’t matter where you live. What hurts one hurts us all. The crime is being committed against ALL OF US. I may be sleeping safely in my bed in a country far from Ukraine, but every time a bomb is dropped, every time a life is lost, every time a voice is silenced, we all lose.
Music, on the other hand, particularly music produced with love, is healing - a reminder that we are better than what is happening in Ukraine. Music recalls us to hope, to balance, to what is best about ourselves. Why wouldn’t you want to step into that space - a space that thousands (including myself) have told you gives them solace and joy - and make music?
I keep coming back to silence. Ever since I got interested in the Holocaust in high school, I’ve puzzled over why there was so much indifference to what was happening to the Jewish people. Was it indifference or was it fear manifesting as denial? How could so many watch as Jewish people were taken from their homes, rounded up, and shipped away? Did they really think the stench and ashes from the ovens wouldn’t rain down on them - on us all - for generations?
I think about the times I’ve failed to speak up when I had the chance. About failing to defend a friend, an animal, or even myself from attack. Why? As a child, it was fear of physical abuse. As an adult, it was fear of judgment, loss of friendship, love, or approval, and in many cases loss of a job. We’re taught to toe the line - to not make waves - if we want to survive.
What I know is that we are all wounded - all carry scars that try to protect us from awareness of our terrible vulnerability and dependency - especially our dependency on one another. But I keep coming back to what Audre Lorde said, “My silences had not protected me. Your silence will not protect you.”
Learn more about Songs of Ukraine: https://www.braidedlives.com/songs-for-ukraine
Contribute your own voice to the Music Bridge: https://www.braidedlives.com/songs4ukraine-chain
Donate to keep our doors open and the Music Bridge growing: https://gofund.me/26920e97
Copyright 2022 by Jena Ball. All Rights Reserved.