January 21, 2008

On Dr. King's birthday, listening to "Why I Am Opposed to the War in Vietnam"

Forty-one years after Vietnam, in the midst of our current unjust war — the invasion and attempted occupation of Iraq, heed Dr. King's call —
Now, it should be incandescently clear that no one who has any concern for the integrity and life of America today can ignore the present war.

Dr. King delivered the sermon (full text here) at Ebenezer Baptist Church, Atlanta, Georgia, April 30, 1967. Black Forum records, a subsidiary of Motown, released this recording, which won a Grammy in 1970 for the Best Spoken Word Recording.

January 11, 2008

Arab-Jewish Coexistence Kindergarten

Judith's email from Jerusalem sparked the video idea
[Judith attached a sound recording, and wrote:] Forget all the dark things in the news about the ME [Middle East]. This recording of my friend's nephew's little girls, Shir and Shaked, outshines them all. They go to a Jewish-Arab kindergarten in Beersheba [in Israel's Negev desert] and recorded a version of Put your hands on your head in Arabic, Hebrew, and English (in that order). Her nephew is on keyboard.

Thought you would like it. You can put it on your blog, with proper recognition of the artists!

Building around the sound recording

Enchanted by their tender voices, especially the giggling, I imagined the unseen singers in the recording (and their kindergarten fellows) looking quite like their counterparts in my world. So I matched the Arabic verses with photos of my Israeli Arab friends; the Hebrew verses, with Israeli Jewish friends and family; and the English, with American friends (Catholics, Jews, Methodists, and Protestants). Thanks to Nizo's transliteration, you could follow (if you could...) one-third, two-thirds, or all the text.

Remembering Asher Green with love
I dedicate this post and video to the memory of Asher Green (whose mother forwarded the sound recording). Asher's multiple talents and adventurous spirit led him to study at the Institute for Culinary Education in New York City. He had also studied stage design in London, and film and art in Jerusalem. Asher was planning to volunteer in Southeast Asia as part of a project to teach street children restaurant skills. He had hoped to open a similar program in Jerusalem for low-income Israeli and Palestinian teens.

אשר בן יהודית וג'ף. יהי זכרו ברוך
Asher ben Yehudit v'Jeff. Yehi zichro barukh.
Asher, son of Judith and Jeff. May his memory be a blessing.

StoryCorps' Dave Isay and Atlantans tell their stories

Valerie Jackson interviews Dave Isay,
founder and journalist

Sister-pal Sherry and I were among the throng that arrived an hour early to get a seat in Atlanta's Georgia-Pacific auditorium for a special live taping of the weekly author interview program, Between the Lines. In welcoming us, host and former First Lady of Atlanta, Valerie Jackson, instructed us to maintain strict silence and to save our questions for the Q&A after the show.

And then, the ace interviewer with the velvet voice introduced StoryCorps founder and journalist Dave Isay, who shared stories of love and healing from the largest oral history project in the nation’s history. Many of the stories are recorded in his latest book, Listening is an Act of Love: A Celebration of American Life from the StoryCorps Project.

Dave Isay on telling stories
  • Stories tell who we are. They are the poetry, grace, and wisdom of people walking down the street or sitting next to us on the bus.
  • People want to know that they matter and that they won’t be forgotten.
  • We all own family secrets, which can be destructive so we need to talk about what’s real and important and to put things out in the open.
  • Everybody can participate in telling stories (directly; not through politicians, journalists, academics, or others). Their stories might be about a first date remembered 25 years later, the Sunday school teacher who inspired a generation, a widowed father who raised healthy children amid profound loss, a hospital orderly who prays for patients, and families whose loved ones have Alzheimer’s disease.
To listen to the radio program, click here.

Update | March 27, 2008 In a virtual StoryCorps booth — this blog, Sherry told her story, Sherry's baby pictures: a portrait of Jim Crow segregation laws.