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Aug 102013

The article: “Pete Seeger & Onondaga Leader Oren Lyons on Fracking, Indigenous Struggles and Hiroshima Bombing” (https://www.democracynow.org/blog/2013/8/9/pete_seeger_onondaga_leader_oren_lyons_on_fracking_indigenous_struggles_and_hiroshima_bombing;

retrieved on 8-10-13) in “Democarcy Now!” began in the following way:

“An extended web-only discussion with two elders, the legendary folk singer Pete Seeger and Onondaga Leader Oren Lyons. They are in New York City today to greet hundreds of Native Americans and their allies who have paddled more than a hundred miles down the Hudson River to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the first treaty between Native Americans and the Europeans who traveled here. The event is part of the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, first proclaimed by the United Nations 20 years ago.”

And ended in the following way:

“AMY GOODMAN: What is your assessment of President Obama?

PETE SEEGER: I wish that he had made so few compromises that he would not have gotten re-elected. And then, four years later, he would have gotten re-elected, because the contrast between what he did and the people who took over for the four years in between would have been obvious to the whole world.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, I know that you all have to go to the pier to meet the rowers who are coming up the Hudson.


AMY GOODMAN: But I was wondering if you could take us out on a song, maybe the hammer song, “If I Had a Hammer,” which was sung by Peter, Paul and Mary at the March on Washington, your song, 50 years ago, August 28th.

PETE SEEGER: Well, Woody Guthrie was one of the greatest songwriters I knew, but the bass in The Weavers, a man named Lee Hays from Arkansas, was another one of the geniuses. And he knew that a lot of old gospel songs, just change one word, and you’ve got a new verse. So he sent me four verses, says, “Pete, can you make up a tune?” I tried to, but it wasn’t as good a tune as it should have been. And Peter, Paul and Mary improved my tune. And then the song went around the world. Marlene Dietrich toured the world, and—no, she sang “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?” But the song, “If I Had a Hammer,” went all sorts of places that I could never go, and I’m very glad.

[singing] If I had a hammer,
I’d hammer in the morning,
I’d hammer in the evening,
All over this land,
I’d hammer out danger,
Hammer out a warning,
Hammer out love between,
All of my brothers,

Oh, a woman said, “Make that ‘My brothers and my sisters.'” Lee says, “It doesn’t roll off the tongue so well. But she insisted. He said, “How about ‘All of my siblings’?” She didn’t think that was funny.

[singing] All over this land.
If I had a song,

Don’t need to sing the whole song. You can sing it to yourself, whether you’re driving a car or washing the dishes or just singing to your kids. We haven’t mentioned children much on this program, but it may be children realizing that you can’t live without love, you can’t live without fun and laughter, you can’t live without friends—and I say, “Long live teachers of children,” because they can show children how they can save the world.

AMY GOODMAN: Can we end with “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?” for the children?

PETE SEEGER: No. You sing it.

AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to end on a lovely note.

PETE SEEGER: No. I’ve sung lots of songs. And the other day, a group of Japanese Americans remembered Hiroshima, and I sang four short verses.

[singing] We come and stand at every door
But none can hear my silent tread
I knock and yet remain unseen
For I am dead, for I am dead.

I’m only seven, although I died
In Hiroshima long ago.
I’m seven now, as I was then.
When children die, they do not grow.

My hair was scorched by swirling flame;
My eyes grew dim, my eyes grew blind.
Death came and turned my bones to dust,
And that was scattered by the wind.

I need no fruit, I need no rice.
I need no sweets, not even bread;
I ask for nothing for myself,
For I am dead, for I am dead.

All that I ask is that for peace
You fight today, you fight today.
So that the children of this world
May live and grow and laugh and play!

AMY GOODMAN: Pete, thank you so much, and especially on this day, August 9th, the anniversary of the bombing of Nagasaki 68 years ago, three days after the bombing of Hiroshima 68 years ago.


AMY GOODMAN: And now you head to greet the rowers coming down the Hudson.

PETE SEEGER: Mm-hmm, yeah.

AMY GOODMAN: And I thank you so much for being with us. Peter Seeger, Oren Lyons, Andy Mager, thanks for giving us a gift today.

ANDY MAGER: Thank you, Amy.

OREN LYONS: Thank you, Amy.”


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Louis DeCola, Jr.                                    © 2013 The Hygiology Post ®