Saturday, May 09, 2009

Billy Joel, Daniel Berrigan and I Celebrate Our Birthday: May 9 as Eastern Europe Continues to Commemorate End of WWII By Kevin Stoda, Germany I don

Billy Joel, Daniel Berrigan and I Celebrate Our Birthday: May 9 as Eastern Europe Continues to Commemorate End of WWII

By Kevin Stoda, Germany


I don’t know if biorhythms of history really do converge on certain dates. But, I do know that one of my freedom, peace and justice heroes was born on this date in 1921. That peacemaker is Father Daniel Berrigan.

http://www.opednews.com/populum/print_friendly.php?p=opedne_alone_080514_a_long_term_approach.htm

Starting in the Vietnam War era, Father Daniel Berrigan began to stand up in a big way for his faith and belief that plowshares can and need to be hammered out of the world’s overstock of weapons and agitating & bullying governance. He flew to Vietnam with Howard Zinn in 1968 to take the release of three captured American GIs from Hanoi in January 1968.

http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/topics/Daniel_Berrigan

Later, he became one of America’s most wanted for simply pouring blood on U.S. military draft cards that same year.

Numerous times Berrigan has gone to jail as a witness for his faith. He was on hand with the founding of the Plowshares Movement in 1981.

http://www.craftech.com/~dcpledge/brandywine/plow/webpages/plow8.htm

For decades, I have celebrated my birthday, May 9, and thought of Daniel Berrigan’s life witness for decades. After 9-11-2001, I have become more and more vocal about the lack of a real faith and practice geography for the majority of Christians (and non-Christians) who feel their faith is misused to fight wars and to make war crimes.

http://the-teacher.blogspot.com/2007/04/book-review-of-classic-geography-of.html

Robert Cole’s and Daniel Berrigan’s book THE GEOGRAPHY OF FAITH has empowered me and generations.

This year, however, as the biorhythm of life proceeds, I find myself geographically in Germany, where I was 20 years ago when the Wall between East and West came down.

As I have listened to the local German radio and read local German newspapers today, history seems to march behind me an in front of me.

MAY 7, 1989

For example, in East Germany on May7, 1989, the fraudulent local elections that led to a mass movement in East Germany—spearheaded by those gathering in churches—were carried out.

Over 380 citizens posted different official complaints against the SED government which had run the elections and the country. Hundreds of East German citizen volunteers had gathered that May 7 to oversee the elections. They monitored so well that fraud could not be ignored, but the Eric Honaker regime tried its best to do so.

Within months, many East Germans were voting with their feet to leave the country.

The rest is history.

MAY 8, 1945/1949

In Western Europe and the USA, VE-Day (Victory in Europe Day) was declared on May 8, 1945.

However, till today the holiday for The End of the world’s deadliest war on the European continent is still celebrated on May 9 as a truce did not go into effect until midnight that day.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victory_Day#May_9_in_various_former_Eastern_Bloc_countries

This is why from the Czech Republic to Poland and on to Russia, May 9 is a national day of celebration.

I have always been honored to have a day of peace remembered on my birth date each year.

Meanwhile, both the Red Cross and Red Crescent consider May 8 their date. In Wiesbaden, Germany (where I live) yesterday, many flags were flying from all the buses to recognize the INTERNATIONAL DAY OF THE RED CROSS/RED CRESCENT.

http://www.icrc.org/Web/eng/siteeng0.nsf/html/57JQZ6

Interestingly, the choice of May 8 as the special day for this Noble Peace Prize winning organization is not the result of war. It is simply because the founder, Henry Dunant, of the Red Cross was born on that day in 1828 in Geneva, Switzerland.

However, May 8 is also celebrated in Germany as the day that the first really good constitution was put in place. May 8 was the date in 1949 when the Bundestag in Bonn in West Germany voted on what is still called the Basic Law.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basic_Law

The whole world has benefitted from the passage of that constitution, the Basic Law, which enabled the German peoples to stop fighting each other and their neighbors for prosperity all over Europe by military means.

http://www.gym-rinteln.de/50jahre/chronik/gestern/weizsaecker.html


May 9, 2009

One person’s history of May 9 is always intimately related to others—even those whom we have never met. That is all part of the butterfly effect.

Here is a calendar of May 9 in Jewish history, for example.

http://thisdayinjewishhistory.blogspot.com/

By the way, Billy Joel (60 today) also celebrates his birth date on May 9 with Candice Bergen (62), Daniel Berrigan and I.

Joel has been searching out his Jewish roots more in recent years, especially after playing for a full stadium of US soldiers in the Nuremberg Stadium and former marching grounds for many in the Third Reich in summer 1994.

http://www.piano-man.de/archiv/detail.asp?ID=185&Artikel_ID=joel-chronik

Although prior to the late 1990s Joel never showed much pubic interest in his roots, at that Nuremberg concert in 1994, Joel announced that his family had had to flee Germany in during the late 1930s. Moreover, he had learned that uncles and aunts of his were killed in concentration or death camps. He told the roaring crowd of American soldiers that he never wanted to see this sort of international crime to humanity happen again.

http://www.hr-online.de/website/rubriken/kultur/index.jsp?rubrik=20726&key=standard_document_15216596

Today in HR1 (Radio station in Mainz) is this 60th birthday of Billy Joel being celebrated bit time with dozens of interviews. Interestingly, the program started out by celebrating both Joel’s German and Jewish roots.

http://www.hr-online.de/website/radio/hr1/index.jsp?rubrik=23740&key=standard_document_36809886

Joel himself admits to being extremely influenced by classical German composers, like Bach. Meanwhile, Edwin Seroussi sees Joel as being an example of the 20th Century of Jewish renaissance in music—with likes of Kurt Weil, i.e. of the Three Penny Opera fame.

http://www.biu.ac.il/HU/mu/min-ad04/Rossirev.pdf

This is important because Seroussi and others state that the works of Jewish composers were too often forgotten and neglected in the centuries leading up to the monster Jewish massacres of the 20th Century under Nazi Germany.

Like me, Billy Joel, also wanted to be a history teacher.

http://www.biu.ac.il/HU/mu/min-ad04/Rossirev.pdf

By bringing out his hit, WE DIDN’T START THIS FIRE, in 1989, Billy Joel was certainly trying to teach Americans and the world a bit of history.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/We_Didn%27t_Start_the_Fire

Interestingly, I was teaching a course in world issues and social/environmental problems in Germany in Spring and Autumn 1989 as communism was coming to its end in Central and Eastern Europe.

More interestingly, Billy Joel’s song was selected by my students for discussion one month before a good part of the Cold War, describe in WE DIDN’T START THIS FIRE, began to crash.

As a history teacher teaching in Cold War West Germany the text was meaningful to me and my students. Good job, Joel!

Here is the text. I hope you enjoy my birthday: MAY 9, 1962 –and this one, too.

TEXT:WE DIDN’T START THIS FIRE

Harry Truman Doris Day Red China Johnnie Ray
South Pacific Walter Winchell Joe DiMaggio
Joe McCarthy Richard Nixon Studebacker television
North Korea South Korea Marilyn Monroe
Rosenbergs H-bomb Sugar Ray Panmunjom
Brando The King and I and The catcher in the Rye
Eisenhower vaccine England's got a new queen
Maricano liberace Santayana goodbye
We didn't start the fire
it was always burning
since the world's been turning
we didn't start the fire
no we didn't light it
but we tried to fight it
Joseph Stalin Malenkov Nasser and Prokofiev
Rockefeller Campanella communist block
Roy Cohn Juan Peron Toscanini Dacron
Dien Bien Phu falls Rock around the clock
Einstein James Dean Brooklyn's got a winning team
Davy Crockett Peter Pan Elvis Presley Disneyland
Bardot Budapest Alabama Khrushchev
Princess Grace Peyton Place trouble in the Suez
We didn't start the fire
it was always burning
since the world's been turning
we didn't start the fire
no we didn't light it
but we tried to fight it
Little rock Pasternak Mickey Mantle Kerouac
Sputnik Chou En-Lai Bridge on the River Kwai
Lebanon Charles de Gaulle California baseball
starkweather homicide children of thalidomide
Buddy Holly Ben Hur space monkey Mafia
hula hoops Castro Edsel is a no-go
U2 Syngman Rhee payola and Kennedy
Chubby Checker Psycho Belgians in the Congo
We didn't start the fire
it was always burning
since the world's been turning
we didn't start the fire
no we didn't light it
but we tried to fight it
Hemingway Eichmann Stranger in a strange land
Dylan Berlin Bay of Pigs invasion
Lawrence of Arabia British Beatlemania
Ole Miss John Glenn Liston beats Patterson
Pope Paul Malcolm X British politican sex
JFK blown away what else do I have to say
We didn't start the fire
it was always burning
since the world's been turning
we didn't start the fire
no we didn't light it
but we tried to fight it
Birth control Ho Chi Minh Richard Nixon back again
moonshot Woodstock Watergate punk rock
begin Reagan Palestine terror on the airline
Ayatollah's in Iran Russians in Afghanistan
Wheel of fortune Sally Ride heavy metal suicide
foreign debts homeless vets AIDS cracks Bernie Goetz
hypodermics on the shores China's under martial law
rock and roller cola wars I can't take it anymore
We didn't start the fire
it was always burning
since the world's been turning
we didn't start the fire
but when we are gone
will it still burn on and on and on and on
and on and on and on and on
We didn't start the fire
it was always burning
since the world's been turning
we didn't start the fire
no we didn't light it
but we tried to fight it
We didn't start the fire
it was always burning
since the world's been turning
we didn't start the fire
no we didn't light it
but we tried to fight it
We didn't start the fire
it was always burning
since the world's been turning
we didn't start the fire
no we didn't light it
but we tried to fight it

Labels:

1 Comments:

Blogger Kevin Anthony Stoda said...

Actually another radical was born on May 9. That would be John Brown--you know the guy from Kansas who led the revolt at Harper's ferry.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/part4/4p1550.html

John Brown was a man of action -- a man who would not be deterred from his mission of abolishing slavery. On October 16, 1859, he led 21 men on a raid of the federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry, Virginia. His plan to arm slaves with the weapons he and his men seized from the arsenal was thwarted, however, by local farmers, militiamen, and Marines led by Robert E. Lee. Within 36 hours of the attack, most of Brown's men had been killed or captured.He was born on May 9, 1800.

10:39 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home