“And peace proclaims olives of endless age”
Comments. I like(d) to listen to the Cambridge King’s College Choir’ Christmas Concert. This time I didn’t and opted instead to tune in to the Spanish-Mexican Radio Station of Portland, Oregon – where even Silent Night and Auld Lang Sine are played with mariachi trumpets in the typical chicabum-chicabum rhythm of south-of-the-border. Not to leave out the lyrics of various songs, in which, typically, a jilted boyfriend wishes a Merry Christmas to his ex, suggesting, however, that should she change her mind, she knows where to find him.
Why the switch? The matter is extremely irrelevant in itself, but some may perhaps agree with the motives. And above all with what message the Cambridge Choir sends to the world this year, in the context of the current political-social moment of the United Kingdom.
In fact this is what I would have liked the Cambridge provost to have said (or words with a similar message).
“This concert comes to you from the King’s Chapel of Cambridge, built by a King who had the courage to detach himself from a church which was increasingly suffocating the independence of a proud people by imposing our allegiance to a foreign potentate, the Pope.
It was this spirit of independence that inspired William Shakespeare to write,
“England, bound in with triumphant sea,
Whose rocky shore beats back the envious siege
Of watery Neptune,”
And who regretted that the same England was in earlier times
“… bound in with shame,
With inky blots, and rotten parchment bonds;
This England that was wont to conquer others,
Hath made a shameful conquest of itself.”
Today England is bound in with shame to the empire, almost as a lap dog is bound with a leash to his master. In the last few years England has been the accomplice of the empire in the assassination of the leaders of two nations, Iraq and Libya. They were guilty of not wanting to enslave their nations to the same empire to which England is now enslaved.
The British police is laying siege to the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where a brave fighter for all of us is holed up. His ‘guilt’ is having exposed and made public the immoral, disgusting, wicked, revolting, inhuman maneuvers and lies of the corrupted leaders of this and other countries.
And in a twisted Christmas wicked spirit, it has been announced that a member of the Royal Family has assassinated an Afghan leader. Again, the Afghan leader was guilty of fighting to maintain his country independence. And in a larger sense not only he was not our enemy. Yes, consciously he was fighting for his independence, but unconsciously he was fighting for all of us against the McDonaldization and the medievalization of the world. Against the quintessence of injustice, against the parasites, the experts in turpitude, the great swindlers and the crooks who benefit by the profits of turpitude.
With our Christmas message and songs, and in the proud tradition of England’s independence, we dissociate ourselves completely with other “Christmas” messages that, with their silence on the crimes of the power elite, suggest that the slaughtering of other people, and the invading and robbing of their countries are compatible with “Christianity”.
I admit that such an expectation is impossible but that is why, as I said, I skipped listening to the King’s Chapel Cambridge Choir, this year.
The mildly farcical rendering of the Christmas songs in the language of Mexico, along with mariachi trumpets and carnival drums, is, however, more serious and truer to the spirit of the season than the sanctimonious, self-righteous subservient “biblical” message coming from Cambridge.
Tips for Use. Comments on any type of peace proclaimed, great or small.
In the sonnet. The reference is to James I who succeeded Elizabeth I in 1603 and was proud of the peace he had secured on his accession to the English throne. He ended the war with Spain, which had lasted, albeit sporadically, for the previous twenty years. The Peace terms were agreed in late 1604.