The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #100487   Message #2031645
Posted By: Eleanor Walden
20-Apr-07 - 10:03 PM
Thread Name: Pete Seeger: Nobel Peace -Updated-deadline Feb1!
Subject: RE: Pete Seeger for Nobel Peace Prize

Pete Seeger is an ambassador for Peace and Social Justice and has been over the course of his 87year lifetime. As a prominent musician his songs and performance style have worked to engage other people, particularly the youth, in causes to end the Vietnam war, ban nuclear weapons, work for international solidarity, and ecological responsibility. It is time that cultural work receives the recognition that the arts have great influence and global reach, that it is not only a medium of entertainment but of education, compassion and fraternity. There is no more quintessential cultural worker than Pete Seeger.

Culture, in essence, means to honor our forbears. In the words of the Eastern European writer Milan Kundera: " the struggle for people's power is the struggle for memory and against forgetting". We all stand on Pete Seeger's shoulders in a manner of speaking. We have an opportunity to acknowledge him a "father" of many cultural, social, and political movements, which have enriched us all and in which we all share, as much as we share our parental DNA.

Pete's unique sense of purpose, decency, and ability, and the support of, his wife Toshi, and his family gave him the opportunity to be all that he could be. Pete also had his mentors: among them Paul Robeson, who said: "The Artist must elect to fight for freedom or slavery. I have made my choice; I had no alternative."

Cultural workers know the power of the arts; we also know how difficult it is to gain recognition for cultural creation. Pete Seeger has gained recognition without compromise! Carl Sandburg called Seeger "the living embodiment of America's traditions...." When Pete was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996 they said, "Pete Seeger's contribution to folk music, both in terms of its revival and survival, cannot be overstated." Pete was also honored by the Kennedy Center with its Lifetime Achievement Award in 1994. In 2001 they again paid tribute to Pete Seeger with a cross generational presentation. The program featured friends and family including Tao Rodriguez-Seeger, grandson of Pete Seeger, and Sarah Lee Guthrie, granddaughter of Woody Guthrie. The songs, which Pete wrote or contributed to -- "We Shall Overcome," "Where Have All the Flowers Gone," and "The Big Muddy,"-- all anti-war anthems, have served as beacons for an entire generation.

Pete knit the world together with songs from China, the Soviet Union, Israel, Cuba, South Africa and republican Spain. We learned about the history of this country from his singing of songs from the, revolutionary war, the Farmer-Labor party, anti-slavery movements, IWW, and CIO organizing days.

It is the desire of the committee and the signers of the petition that we not be engaged in "forgetting," and in making the choice to "fight for freedom". This nomination puts those objectives in perspective.

Pete will be 88 years old May 3rd so there is urgency to this endeavor.

Contact: Eleanor Walden