29 December 2019 ~ 9 Comentarios

A song against wars

By Carlos Alberto Montaner

Music moves hearts magically. This article is a tribute to a song, Silent Night, which proves it. If the reader does not believe me, I beg him to look for the anecdote on Snopes.com. In these times of “fake news” I usually check the information on that website. This week Snopes brings a long review of a book published almost 20 years ago, Silent Night: The Story of the World War I Christmas Truce. The work (among other authors) was researched and written by historian Stanley Weintraub, a professor at Penn State University.

I’ll tell you the story. Belgium, December 24, 1914. Essentially, that war, like so many others, was fought by the English and French against the Germans. There were other notable components: Russians, Austrians, Turks and Italians, but they only have secondary roles in the tragedy. The main protagonists were England, France and Germany. Those were the three basic belligerents. On that occasion they were fighting in Belgium, not far from where Napoleon fought his last battle a hundred years earlier against the English.

It was awful cold. It snowed. The soldiers felt a whiplash in the soul. They missed their homeland and their families. It was one of those key dates to share the table and exchange gifts. Christian believers celebrated the arrival of the Messiah in the womb of Mary. In August, five months before, the Great War had begun. It was not yet called the “First.” It was many years before the “Second” broke out. Those who departed jubilantly to combat had already become disillusioned. There were many dead, and a lot of pain and blood.

The idiots who found virtues in war had become speechless. At that point in history, Gabriele D’Annunzio, the histrionic Italian poet who founded fascism, was almost the only one who dared to repeat those absurdities. There were already hundreds of thousands dead. The figure would reach 21 million wounded and almost nine million people killed by poison gas, machine gun fire and, ultimately, by one of the two sides.

Someone, in the British sector, began to sing Silent Night. I don’t think the anonymous singer knew that the origin of the song was Austrian. Soon there was a chorus of excited soldiers who sang in English the praise of the child God who was born in Bethlehem two thousand years before. The cannons and machine guns fell silent. It was a war of very close trenches. Conquering every meter cost thousands of dead. Someone dared to write a banner: “If you don’t shoot, we don’t shoot.”

In unison, the German and English soldiers stood up and advanced to give each other a hug. They sang Silent Night, some in German and others in English. They cried with emotion. They didn’t hate each other. They were young men taken to the battlefield because of the unconsciousness of the age and the elucubrations of the strategists. Cigarettes, chocolates, brandy were exchanged. The dead were buried. The Scots had a soccer ball. They played. The “Tommies” (the English) faced the “Fritzs” (the Germans). Soccer was the civilized way of competing.

Thanks to Rev. Martín Añorga, I discover the origin of the song Silent Night. The article is sent to me by Álvaro Álvarez, a Cuban former political prisoner. It is a touching poem written by Father Josephus Mohr in a village in the Austrian Alps in 1818. That Christmas Eve the priest went to baptize a baby born into a family as poor as Jesus’. The next day, a humble music teacher, Franz Xaver Gruber, added the music accompanied by a guitar.

But the leap to fame came on Christmas Eve of 1832. On that date the four Strasser sisters sang the carol before the king. He and the Court found it wonderful. Almost a century later, they would have thought there was some contagious magic. By the way, the football game was won by the Fritzs 3 to 2. On the other hand, the Germans were defeated in the Great War, but it was devastating and served as a prelude to the Second.

9 Responses to “A song against wars”

  1. Manuel 29 December 2019 at 10:36 pm Permalink

    .
    What’s the center of your life?

    Familia y Libertad
    La Libertad de que nadie ni nada pueda venir
    a destruir tu familia, a intervenir en ella;
    es muy
    frágil la familia, y el que no sabe defenderla
    puede muy fácilmente perderla
    .
    ¿Es tu familia el centro de tu vida,
    o prefieres hacerla girar en torno a otras pasiones
    y poner en peligro tu familia?

    Cubano… no le dedique tiempo a Victor,
    ese no vale un segundo de su tiempo.
    El que crea que sí vale la pena dedicarle tiempo, ¡adelante!,
    ESTE ES UN PAIS LIBRE
    .

  2. Manuel 30 December 2019 at 8:16 am Permalink

    Our inf. Is so precious that:

    “ Tech companies are unlikely to capitulate. They would much rather pay the occasional fine than be forced to stop collecting our data, says Hare.
    f0023-02
    Donna Lu is a New Scientist reporter based in London, covering how technology affects the world
    f0023-03
    Just 15 characteristics, such as age, gender or marital status, are enough to reidentify 99.98 per cent of people in the US in virtually any anonymised data set ■

  3. Manuel 31 December 2019 at 10:10 am Permalink

    .
    Julian Perez
    31 December 2019 at 8:48 am

    Un ejemplo sencillo:
    ¿Cuántos hoy en día ven al presidente solamente como el brazo ejecutor del poder legislativo? Practicamente nadie. Todos lo ven como alguien que tiene una ¨visión¨, que, en teoría, refleja un sentir popular y que es electo para imponer esa visión. Lo cual lo convierte, no en un ejecutor, sino en un legislador implícito.
    Gracias, Teddy, Woodrow, FDR, LBJ y el resto de la pandilla. Se salieron con la suya

    Manuel
    31 December 2019 at 9:53 am

    No sé de donde saca ud que el presidente se
    reduce a una extensión delLegislativo.
    El Ejecutivo es uno de los 3 mayores poderes.
    Esos 3 se chequean y balancean,
    ninguno es una mera extensión de los otros,
    Cada uno tiene sus funciones que emanan
    De la Constitución

    • Julian Perez 31 December 2019 at 10:35 am Permalink

      El presidente NO es una extensión del ejecutivo puesto que, por ejemplo, es el jefe del ejército, designa embajadores, hace tratados (que deben ser aprobados por el congreso) pero NO legisla. Que se le ocurra un Obamacare, o el New Deal de FDR o la Great Society de LBJ no está ni en el espíritu ni en la letra de la Constitución. La presidencia ha devenido en casi monárquica.

      Ninguno de los tres poderes es una extensión de los otros, pero tampoco están enteramente separados. Se chequean entre si.

  4. Víctor López 31 December 2019 at 1:04 pm Permalink

    Jajaja este aprendiz de Robespierre, es tan permeable a la propaganda barata que tiene un revoltijo conceptual todo pringado de rojo. Nacido en otro entorno sería un estalinista rabioso.

  5. Víctor López 31 December 2019 at 1:05 pm Permalink

    …o me equivoco, Julián?

    • Julian Perez 31 December 2019 at 1:17 pm Permalink

      La imagen actual de lo que se supone que sea la presidencia está absolutamente generalizada. Tanto, que casi nadie considera que pueda ser de otra forma. En ninguno de los dos partidos. Sin ir más lejos, el tipo de dirección que esperaban de Obama sus seguidores es la misma que esperan del presidente Trump los suyos.

      Patrick Henry y los otros antifederalistas estarían diciéndole a Hamilton, Madison y Jay: ¨¿Veis? Teníamos razón en nuestros temores. Esto se va convitiendo en una especie de monarquía.¨

      Pero no la tenían. SI se hubiera respetado el diseño no habría sido así. Pero a partir de fines del siglo XIX cada vez se respeta menos. Y no hubiera sido mejor con el conjunto de pequeñas repúblicas que ellos querían, que no iban a vivir como buenos hermanitos.

      Ya se lo dijo Franklin a la dama que le preguntó qué teníamos a la salida de la asamblea constituyente: ¨Una república, si sabeis conservarla¨. Parece que no hemos sabido hacerlo muy bien, pero estoy de acuerdo con José Luis en que hay esperanzas,

      La constitución no es una salvaguarda infalible. Funciona solamente si se aplican sus principios básicos.

  6. Víctor López 31 December 2019 at 2:12 pm Permalink

    “…La constitución no es una salvaguarda infalible. Funciona solamente si se aplican sus principios básicos.”

    Aquí aplica el popular dicho de que “se ocupann los bueyes y la carreta”. Con papelitos no se hacen naciones, pero si el elemento humano es óptimo hasta se puede prescindir de ellos.

    (dado que eludió la pregunta la tengo por valorada)

  7. Manuel 1 January 2020 at 11:00 pm Permalink

    Northern Irish soil could have healing properties. Residents of the Boho Highlands have been using the alkaline dirt from a local churchyard as a folk remedy for 200 years. An analysis of this “sacred clay” revealed that it contains a previously unknown strain of Streptomyces bacterium that can halt the growth of four of the top six superbugs resistant to conventional antibiotics. Scientists believe such traditional medicines may prove to be a useful source of new antibiotics. “Some of these cures might have been perfectly effective,” says co-author Gerry Quinn. The people “just didn’t have any knowledge of the scientific principles or biochemistry behind them.”


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