While 2011 draws to a close, New Year’s pledges are hard to formulate. Generally, predictions are unreliable, and what has happened this year hardly anybody had envisaged one year ago. So, there might be some hope for 2012.
The year started promising, millions of North Africans eventually lost patience after realizing that nothing had to be expected in the aftermath of President Obama’s historical speech in Cairo of June 4, 2009, just one week before Iran’s disputed presidential election. Whether WikiLeak’s diplomatic cables ignited what is now known as Arab Spring is not clear, but they certainly contributed to it. The world won’t be the same after the brave publication of the cables. If there had been trust in U.S. foreign policy, it has vanished. If anybody had kept faith with Obama’s integrity his hypocrisy must have come as a shock.
Ongoing perplexity of world leaders on how to deal with the aggravating global financial crisis, or catastrophic effects of global warming; Obama’s need for being re-elected, and Iran’s suffocating encirclement and ruined economy; two lost wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; and beacons of hope Julian Assange and Bradley Manning arrested. Well, the future will tell what the future will be.
We spent Christmas this year again in the Middle East. Oman’s comparably broad-minded and western music loving Sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said had made his dream come true and bestowed peaceful and friendly Omanis and everybody else a, well, opera house. It is said that the Royal Opera House Muscat was one of the most expensive opera houses so far (more expensive than Sultan Qaboos’ Grand Mosque with its second largest hand-woven carpet and chandelier). We attended Pjotr Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake given by the world class Mariinsky Ballet, an unforgettable experience.
To all my readers, Happy New Year 2012!
Last update December 31, 2011.
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Posted in Music, Terrorism, USA, tagged Afghanistan Conference, Barack Obama, Different Trains, Hillary Clinton, Steve Reich, The Hague, War on Terrorism on March 31, 2009 |
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Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has declared today that the new Administration in Washington will no longer use the term ‘War on Terrorism’.
I have Steve Reich’s Different Trains (1988) in mind using the disbelieving voice of an American Jew for his masterpiece in modern music.
So, the war is over.
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Posted in Iran, Israel, Music, Palestine, USA, tagged Barack Obama, Bone Bomb, Brian Eno, Gaza, mead2000, Shimon Perez, war crime on March 22, 2009 |
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The Israeli President  has joint the felicitators around Barack Obama sending the people of Iran New Year greetings. In an audio message, the 1994 Nobel laureate (with PLO leader Yasser Arafat) doesn’t conceal, however, his deep antipathy for the current administration. He urges the Iranian people to shake off the rule of “an oppressive and fanatical regime” and return to relations of peace and harmony with Israel, which the two countries enjoyed when the Shah was in power, as the Jerusalem Post writes.
Peres’ initiative has been criticized in the meantime by European diplomats as diluting Obama’s endeavor.
In their respective addresses, neither Peres nor Obama mention, by the way, the 2008-2009 Israel-Gaza conflict when most probably more than one thousand Palestinian civilians lost their lives. It took place during the so-called transition period when the outgoing U.S. President Bush was still in office and Barack Obama was President-elect. Israeli soldiers have, in the meantime, confessed war crimes  .
 The Israeli technician Mordechai Vanunu has compared Shimon Peres with the Pakistani dealer of nuclear equipment Abdul Qadeer Khan. Vanunu, who has spent 18 years in prison in Israel for revealing details of Israel’s covert nuclear weapons program, has recently asked the Peace Nobel Committee in Oslo to remove him from the list of nominees.
 Why do they (the Iranians, the Arabs) hate us? A question, many naïve Americans still ask. The video by mead2000 with text and music by Brian Eno (from Another Day on Earth, Opal Ltd. 2005) may in fact be revealing. The monologue by Aylie Cooke is, as Eno states “emotionally brutal”. The movie is congenial.
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When did I eventually buy this recording (on CD, of course)? It must have been in the late 1980s. When I became interested in Jazz, 1977 or 1978, it was that of Miles’ epigones: Chick Corea, whatever he did; John McLaughlin’s Shakti; Joe Zawinul’s Weather Report. Believe it or not, I was a blood donor during my undergraduate studies in the 1970s, with the mere purpose to be able to buy every three month another LP of my heroes. Miles was sick at that time. He had disappeared from the scene. It was a couple of years before his long-awaited comeback with “The Man with the Horn”, 1980. To be honest, I didn’t love that album. I was more interested in 10 years old Bitches Brew, for me still egregious music.
I had an academic career, consuming, both time and energy. I kept interested in modern music, Rock music attracted more of my attention. I never missed Miles, however. For some time my motto became “So what?”, and I was humming that phrase when necessary. I loved the simplicity of that particular piece. I saw him only once, in the end of the 1980s, a couple of months only before he deceased. It was a magic moment. Miles was already very frail but I saw how he was inspiring his very young band members, in particular Foley McCreary (what has happened to him?).
Kind of Blue had been recorded 50 years ago, on only two occasions: March 2 and April 22, 1959. It was released in October that very year. Three geniuses were involved, Miles (tp), John Coltrane (ts) and Bill Evans (p), as well as four exceptional musicians, Cannonball Adderly (as), Paul Chambers (b), Jimmy Cobb (dr), and Wynton Kelly (p, only on Freddie Freeloader).
Kind of Blue is considered that Jazz album of all time. Maybe it’s true. Did it change my life? Not at all! Thank you, Miles, anyway.
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