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Requiem - Allison Russell

On this day, April 14th, in 1948 the state of Israel was created. Just three years and 44 days earlier the United Nations was created, to maintain peace and security between nations. One of the declared main reasons for setting up the UN was to prevent future incidents of genocide, and this was a direct response to the Holocaust, finding form in the United Nations' "Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide" of 9th December, 1948, which defines genocide as:

"....any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

(a) Killing members of the group;

(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;

(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;

(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;

(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group."

The UN Security Council on Monday 25th March of this year passed a resolution demanding an immediate ceasefire for the month of Ramadan, the immediate and unconditional release of hostages and “the urgent need to expand the flow” of aid into Gaza. There were 14 votes in favour with the United States abstaining. Israel ignored the call, and continued its bombing of Gaza.

Last October Allison Russell was one of 55 signatories of an open letter to President Biden under the aegis of Artists4ceasefire asking that, " President of the United States, you and the US Congress call for an immediate de-escalation and ceasefire in Gaza and Israel before another life is lost." Since then, the numbers signing up to Artists4ceasefire has risen to over 430 and include Ben Affleck, Jessie Buckley, Juliette Binoche, Brian Cox, Kirsten Dunst, Peter Gabriel, Richard Gere, Tom Hardy, Jim Jarmusch, Annie Lennox, Jennifer Lopez, Florence Pugh, Mark Ruffalo, Susan Sarandon, Jennifer Saunders, Patti Smith as well as the band Clean Bandit, among many others.

"Requiem" is the final song from Allison Russell's second and latest album "The Returner" released in September 2023. The record is a much funkier affair than her previous "Outside Child" (see last three posts", more "in your face" and assertive in tone. The moving "Requiem" is a closing prayer for children caught up in the crossfire of war, a message of hope against the odds, but the title and refrain of "requiem" also evokes those children dying daily in Gaza and other war-torn lands.

"Oh, I know your way

is hard to see today.

Bullets, they fly faster than mother's lullabies

and the sparrows cannot sing

for it is theirs to bring

the souls of those lost babies back to the sky......

.....Requiem, requiem,

the question is not if -

it was always when.

Go on, go on, my child,

hope is a prairie fire.

Set your embers on the summer wind,

set your embers on the summer wind."


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