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'A Dreadful Disaster'

McGrath of Harlow 21 Jun 00 - 08:06 PM
Áine 21 Jun 00 - 08:53 PM
GUEST,Joerg 21 Jun 00 - 09:04 PM
Callie 21 Jun 00 - 09:16 PM
GUEST,Susan of California 21 Jun 00 - 10:06 PM
Escamillo 22 Jun 00 - 12:03 AM
GeorgeH 22 Jun 00 - 10:00 AM
catspaw49 22 Jun 00 - 10:06 AM
wysiwyg 22 Jun 00 - 12:57 PM
The Shambles 22 Jun 00 - 01:08 PM
M. Ted (inactive) 22 Jun 00 - 01:41 PM
McGrath of Harlow 22 Jun 00 - 10:01 PM
Mrrzy 22 Jun 00 - 10:15 PM
Amergin 22 Jun 00 - 10:27 PM
McGrath of Harlow 23 Jun 00 - 10:20 AM
The Shambles 23 Jun 00 - 10:58 AM
McGrath of Harlow 26 Jun 00 - 01:27 PM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 26 Jun 00 - 01:55 PM
Áine 26 Jun 00 - 02:01 PM
McGrath of Harlow 27 Jun 00 - 06:50 AM
GeorgeH 27 Jun 00 - 08:56 AM
M. Ted (inactive) 27 Jun 00 - 01:26 PM
Jim the Bart 27 Jun 00 - 01:31 PM
McGrath of Harlow 27 Jun 00 - 07:50 PM
M. Ted (inactive) 28 Jun 00 - 12:42 PM
GUEST,Penny S. 28 Jun 00 - 12:58 PM
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Subject: 'A Dreadful Disaster'
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 21 Jun 00 - 08:06 PM

Just some thoughts about a story that wasn't the main one on the news today. Didn't even make it on to the front pages of a some of the English papers.

"A dreadful disaster"

Your journey's done now,
Your journey's over
From homes in China
To distant Dover

You came in peace here
You came to work here,
We never knew you –
You died in the darkness.

We tried to keep you
Outside our border
A shuttered country
You could not enter.

You came in secret
Hidden and silent
Lying in the darkness
Breathing your last there.

Fifty eight bodies,
Just two survivors
Who should we blame now?
Let's blame the driver.

There was some film shown
You were waiting in Belgium
Just hardly children,
Tired out with travelling.

Oh what a pity,
Let's turn the channel.
We're not to blame, no.
Let's watch the football.

Let's watch the football
England defeated.
All through the papers.
"What a dreadful disaster"

We've had a thread about Plane Crash at Los Gatos the last few days - nothing much changes.


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Subject: RE: 'A Dreadful Disaster'
From: Áine
Date: 21 Jun 00 - 08:53 PM

I can't find the words to describe how I feel about your song, Kevin. I'd heard the story on the public radio station, and how this terrible event might effect the upcoming elections and future immigration policy. It's too terrible. You've captured the moment well, and with beauty and dignity for these lost souls. Thank you, dear friend.

Le meas, Áine


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Subject: RE: 'A Dreadful Disaster'
From: GUEST,Joerg
Date: 21 Jun 00 - 09:04 PM

That was good, McGrath.

There's saying in german telling something like: 'Ten dead is sad, ten thousand dead is an incident' (the original is much more sarcastic). What about 58?

Joerg


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Subject: RE: 'A Dreadful Disaster'
From: Callie
Date: 21 Jun 00 - 09:16 PM

thank you for your song. Terrible things like this happen often in Australia. Our right wing government has a dreadful attitude towards refugees.

A recent container arrived with 28 dead refugees who had tried to stow away as cargo but misjudged the length of the journey. It was in the paper a few days ago. Terrible news, but at least it's out in the open now. It has been happening for years, but such common occurrence that it was not reported in the media.


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Subject: RE: 'A Dreadful Disaster'
From: GUEST,Susan of California
Date: 21 Jun 00 - 10:06 PM

I teach junior high (12 & 13 year olds) in an impoverished area of California. Many of my students are students are recent immigrants, some of my students are Anglo. For the past six months, some of those Anglo students have flirted with white-supremisist (sp?) thought and behavior. It was quite frustrating and disheartening. Why can't we realize that we are all immigrants? It is disapointing to think that we haven't come very far, that hatred and fear still win out. Beautiful lyrics, Harlow. I'm just sorry that people feel the need to keep borders closed.


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Subject: RE: 'A Dreadful Disaster'
From: Escamillo
Date: 22 Jun 00 - 12:03 AM

What can I say, son of Spanish and Frenches, arrived to America looking for a better future, father of one who wants to migrate to UK for a career, grandfather of ..? Where will they migrate ? In a smaller scale Argentina is also being flooded by illegal immigration from neighbours.. Some day, very soon, we will all have to stop all our activities, but STOP all, and think, and decide which is the planet we want. Then stop buying cars and pleasure trips, and weapons, and do something. I don´t blame developed countries, just this curious species we are.
Un abrazo - Andrés


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Subject: RE: 'A Dreadful Disaster'
From: GeorgeH
Date: 22 Jun 00 - 10:00 AM

It's interresting . . this thread occurs at the same time as Guthrie's "Deportees" is being discussed elsewhere in the Mudcat . . the reporting of this ghastly murder is so similar to the dehumanised reporting Guthrie raised his voice against SO long ago . .

And, Escamillo, I DO blame "developed" countries, or at least their politicians and media . . for legitimising greed and self-interest, and raising them to the status of a creed.

G.


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Subject: RE: 'A Dreadful Disaster'
From: catspaw49
Date: 22 Jun 00 - 10:06 AM

Well done Kevin. And like George I found it an eerie coincidence that we should be discussing "Deportee" at this time.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: 'A Dreadful Disaster'
From: wysiwyg
Date: 22 Jun 00 - 12:57 PM

Kevin....

Sometimes I just pray for you, because your heart carries so much, and so well.

Know that you have a sister here, who holds you in her heart.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: 'A Dreadful Disaster'
From: The Shambles
Date: 22 Jun 00 - 01:08 PM

I hear today that the driver is to be charged with manslaughter x 58.


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Subject: RE: 'A Dreadful Disaster'
From: M. Ted (inactive)
Date: 22 Jun 00 - 01:41 PM

While reading this, and imagining Kevin's measured and solitary baritone voice, intoning his simple and disturbing eulogy, I am more overcome by the events than I was when I read the newspaper accounts.

I think that it is important to note that this is not a coincidence that this coincides with the discussion of deportee--these type of deaths occur every day--

While I was following the Elian Gonzales story, I became aware that the waters where Elian was found are called "The Sea of Death" because uncounted thousands die there every year. They die in fours and fives, even tens and twenties, and often go completely unnoticed. The ugly truth is that most die in these journies, and that we choose not to notice, unless forced to--in which case we regard it as an anomoly, and blame the driver.


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Subject: RE: 'A Dreadful Disaster'
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 22 Jun 00 - 10:01 PM

I'm glad people liked this, especially if it helped focus this tragedy a bit better.

This is an amazing place we've got there - I post some a set of words here in England, and within a couple of hours there are posts commenting on it from people in various parts of the USA, Australia, Germany, Argentina, and back to England. Round the world. It makes immigration controls seem a really weird idea. A weird idea that has fatal consequences.

Anyway, if you want to see the song with chords (and a few changes),click here for the relevant bit of my bebsite - it's got a link to a RealAudio file, if you want ot hear what it sounds like. But here's the link as well. I hope. These things don't always work... (You need RealAudio for that - it's a free download, and a link to it on my pages)


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Subject: RE: 'A Dreadful Disaster'
From: Mrrzy
Date: 22 Jun 00 - 10:15 PM

My initial reaction was No, deportees is a different thing, but then I thought some more... - in one case you have people shipping people away with total disregard for their lives, and in the other you have people shipping people TO (but who knows whether, upon arrival, they'd have been free or indentured). So there really isn't much difference, we still have cattle cars, I guess.


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Subject: RE: 'A Dreadful Disaster'
From: Amergin
Date: 22 Jun 00 - 10:27 PM

Oh yes, the slave trade is alive and well in this world of ours. Thank you, McGrath, for sharing that piece. It touches my very soul.

Amergin


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Subject: RE: 'A Dreadful Disaster'
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 23 Jun 00 - 10:20 AM

"The asylum lobby has been quick to exploit this macabre incident to argue that Britain's immigration and asylum regime is too strict. The truth is is anything,the reverse." Daily Telegraph, June 20th.

"Macabre incident" - isn'that a great phrase? The Telegraph had leader writers like that at the time of the Irish Famine, saying the same kind of stuff.

There's a demo in support of the rights of asylum-seekers and refugees in London tomorrow (Saturday), I gather. Lincolns Inn Fields at some time. I can't make it, but good luck to anyone who does get there.


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Subject: RE: 'A Dreadful Disaster'
From: The Shambles
Date: 23 Jun 00 - 10:58 AM

Islands and Oasis.

I shall be there in spirit.


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Subject: RE: 'A Dreadful Disaster'
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 26 Jun 00 - 01:27 PM

Looks like a good song, Roger. I'm sure it sounds good too.

I've decided to put together a DoItYourself Guide to putting songs on Real Audio, and stick it up on my wesbite (URL on my Mudcat profile). Not that I'm good at at that technical stuff, but that even could be an advantage.

There's masses of excellent advice up there on the net, and in books written for "dummies|" with PhDs and so forth, but I find that it's only after you've muddles your way through doing something that the advice starts to become slightly comprehensible. It's the same with books about playing instruments.


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Subject: RE: 'A Dreadful Disaster'
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 26 Jun 00 - 01:55 PM

Kevin, I've just listened to your audio clip of the song and I have tears in my eyes. Thank you so much for this song.


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Subject: RE: 'A Dreadful Disaster'
From: Áine
Date: 26 Jun 00 - 02:01 PM

Animaterra -- This song had the same effect on me when I heard it. Kevin has such a wonderful ability to 'cut to the chase', as it were, and find the heart and soul of a song, and when he sings, you not only hear the song, you feel it in your bones.

-- Áine


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Subject: RE: 'A Dreadful Disaster'
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 27 Jun 00 - 06:50 AM

And here is a link to my Do-It-Yourself guide to getting songs on the net, with RealAudio. Very wordy, but basic.


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Subject: RE: 'A Dreadful Disaster'
From: GeorgeH
Date: 27 Jun 00 - 08:56 AM

"Macabre incident" is exactly the dehumanisation of the victims which (I have always understood) prompted Guthrie to write "Deportees". I didn't actually intend to suggest any more of a parallel than that, though I feel it goes much further. In both cases the implication of the "media" reporting is/was that the victims are responsible for their own fate . . used to minimise the enormity of what has happened.

And I do accept that such incidents are not uncommon . . that doesn't lessen the extent to which they (and the whole issue of refugees, political and economic) is an afront to our common humanity and our pious declarations of belief in that humanity (e.g. the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; the US Constitution). I fail to see how our "Christian" leaders (US and UK) can square their political actions with their (loudly) professed beliefs. But then again I'm not much of a Christian, so perhaps I'm missing something.

G.


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Subject: RE: 'A Dreadful Disaster'
From: M. Ted (inactive)
Date: 27 Jun 00 - 01:26 PM

George, I think that one of the requirements for being a "Christian" leader is an ability to speak of high moral purpose while the blood is still fresh on your hands


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Subject: RE: 'A Dreadful Disaster'
From: Jim the Bart
Date: 27 Jun 00 - 01:31 PM

Well done. Well said.


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Subject: RE: 'A Dreadful Disaster'
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 27 Jun 00 - 07:50 PM

The same could be true of most political leaders - Chritian, Jewish, Islamic, Humanis, Marxist...It's what they are there to do. It's what we collectively want. It gets votes, it gets cheers.And it's te same with the media, it sells papers. The leaders climb on the bandwagon, but what makes it a bandwagon is the mass of ordinary people who follow the band, and like tthe tunes it plays.

Sometimes some horrible event will make people stop and start back in disgust at what they have colluded with. For some people the deaths in Dover will have that effect, and maybe for a few days the anti-immigrant rhetoric will calm down a bit. But I can't see the bandwagon changing direction just yet.

Here's what Paul Foot wrote in Tuesday's Guardian about te rally I mentioned earlier:

Q1: How many mainstream London-based daily and Sunday newspapers have devoted excessive space to activities and campaigns hostile to asylum seekers?

A: All of them.

Q2: How many such papers received a press release with details of a demonstration on June 24 welcoming asylum seekers and calling for an end to the campaign against them?

A: All of them.

Q3: How many of these papers even mentioned the demonstration when it was attended by more than 8,000 people and addressed by MPs and anti-racist campaigners?

A: None of them.

And, apart from that brief mention, that included The Guardian.


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Subject: RE: 'A Dreadful Disaster'
From: M. Ted (inactive)
Date: 28 Jun 00 - 12:42 PM

I only mention "Christian" because a previous writer had used that to desginate the "moral face" put forward by the leaders in question here.

At that though, there is a particularly onerous bit of fiction that the pillars of "Western" society foster, and that is that inhumanity, brutality, and exploitation are somehow the exclusive province of the darker continents.


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Subject: RE: 'A Dreadful Disaster'
From: GUEST,Penny S.
Date: 28 Jun 00 - 12:58 PM

A letter in the Guardian spoke of the contrast between the Australian mourning of the backpackers and the failure to show any public concern for these pilgrims.

Penny


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