Saturday, December 01, 2007

Ronald Reagan, Pope John Paul II, & Rock 'n Roll

Ronald Reagan
It is the Soviet Union that runs against the tide of history.... [It is] the march of freedom and democracy which will leave Marxism-Leninism on the ash heap of history as it has left other tyrannies which stifle the freedom and muzzle the self-expression of the people.

General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization: Come here to this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!

Pope John Paul II
It would be simplistic to say that Divine Providence caused the fall of Communism. In a certain sense Communism as a system fell by itself. It fell as a consequence of its own mistakes and abuses. It proved to be a medicine more dangerous than the disease itself. It did not bring about true social reform, yet it did become a powerful threat and challenge to the entire world. But it fell by itself, because of its own inherent weakness.

Warsaw, Moscow, Budapest, Berlin, Prague, Sofia and Bucharest have become stages in a long pilgrimage toward liberty. It is admirable that in these events, entire peoples spoke out — women, young people, men, overcoming fears, their irrepressible thirst for liberty speeded up developments, made walls tumble down and opened gates.

Rock 'n Roll
from this website a historical timeline:
It’s 1989: In Riga, Pete Anderson is finally allowed to record his first album and music video and to tour Europe and America – thirty years after his first live concert performance of “Long Tall Sally” – and thirty years of enduring arrests, beatings and death threats to his family from the KGB. Meanwhile, Stas Namin produces Luzhniki, the USSR’s first international rock festival, with 140,000 spectators in Moscow’s Lenin Stadium; and also founds the Moscow Symphony Orchestra, which will continues to tour and record around the world as a world class orchestra; KGB Major General Oleg Kalugin, who had been criticizing the KGB policies from within for a decade, and most recently warned Gorbachev of those policies, is forced to retire, while Gorbachev strips him of his rank, decorations and pension; and revolutions sweep Eastern Europe: one by one, Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, Belarus and the Ukraine declare their independence; while world-famous playwright Vaclav Havel is elected as the first President of Czechoslovakia, names alternative rocker Frank Zappa as his choice for Minister of Culture – but the suggestion is later withdrawn as “premature.” And then it’s East Germany’s turn: on November 10th, 1989, the Berlin Wall finally comes down. On the East side of the wall, East Berliners sing Ed McCurdy’s international song of peace “Last Night I had the Strangest Dream (that I have ever known before, I dreamed the world had all agreed to put an end to war)” – and on the West side, crowds of young people tear the wall apart brick by brick, while old Cold War squawk-boxes blast out their own anthem: Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall.”

Dr. Yury Pelyushonok
What marked the end of the August 1991 day that saw the collapse of Communism in the USSR?

a) a military parade on the Red Square

b) a huge, open-air rock 'n' roll concert in Moscow, organized by the defenders of the White House.

Should there be any difficulties in answering this question, Keith Richards can provide a hint:

"After those billions of dollars, and living under the threat of doom, what brought it down? Blue jeans and rock 'n' roll."

A while back John J Miller at NRO wrote an article about the 50 greatest conservative rock songs. Currently a play running on Broadway by Tom Stoppard is about how important rock 'n roll is to the liberation of Czechoslovakia. I let Google be my friend, and found an interesting May 1999 interview with Salman Rushdie where he had this to say about Havel and Stoppard
I like R.E.M. and U2. I'd probably put the Velvet Underground in that group. I met Vaclav Havel recently here in England - at Tom Stoppard's house one evening when fifteen or so writers gathered - and Havel was talking about the enormous influence of American rock on the Czech resistance. He said, which I took to be a joke but a joke with some meaning, "Why do you think we called it the Velvet Revolution?" I told Lou Reed this story, and he was quite impressed.

I understand how some may take strong exception to my lumping Ronald Reagan, Pope John Paul II, and Rock 'n Roll together because the self expression of some of these rockers and their sinful ways. However, history has proven that a central government trying crack down on what it considers to be inappropriate self expression will not work. As a conservative I wince when politicians speak about changing the social fabric of the nation with amendments to the US Constitution. Some new amendments are not needed, and some things should be addressed by people in each local community instead of by windbags in Washington, D.C.

1 comment:

Dyanne said...

Good post.