December 2, 2005

Sounds of war and peace

I was listening to a compilation CD of Joan Baez recordings. Right after a disturbing protest song about Bangladesh came a rambling soundtrack of her visit to Vietnam in 1972. She had gone to Hanoi to distribute mail and Christmas presents to American prisoners of war, and the tape player was running when American bombers flew over, dropping their deadly bombs on the city. This track is a chilling reminder of the danger, bravery, and tragedy of war, and the horrible effects on civilians including children.

Baez has a gift, an exquisite voice. Some of her songs are pure entertainment, and some are very thought-provoking. I am a long-time fan of folk music and protest songs - well, many kinds of songs. Sometimes I think singers and songwriters are among the most important people in our society.

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