personal
Comments 14

World Wednesday: Martin Luther King Jr Day, and losing a Cranberrie

Best Martin Luther King quote, compared with Trump's 'shit hole' quote @realDonaldTrump @boneAndsilver #MLKDay #impeachtrump #blacklivesmatter #civilrights

Best Martin Luther King quote, compared with Trump’s ‘shit hole’ quote @realDonaldTrump @boneAndsilver #MLKDay #impeachtrump #blacklivesmatter #civilrights

I like Tuesdays, because A) you all go crazy for my ‘Teenage Tuesday’ posts, & B) I never know what the world is going to throw at me to react to and write about for ‘World Wednesdays’.

So how could I go past Martin Luther King Jr Day? I’m adding a link to Buzzfeed’s 23 images of him, as they’re incredible, and his quiet, determined gaze speaks a thousand words I can’t possibly scribe.

I think I was about 7 when a new classmate arrived at my junior school in London, with dark shiny skin and afro hair. A few days later, I saw him in the local park near our house, when I was playing on the swings with my younger brother. He had his younger sister with him, and we pretty much ignored each other, until a group of kids from a couple of years above us at school turned up, and began to pick on him because of his colour.

I can still recall the rush of rage and injustice which burned through me; I didn’t even know his name, but this was wrong!

Small and skinny though I was, I marched over to the bigger kids and began to tell them off. My brother tagged behind, and his sister huddled close, so it became Us against Them very quickly.

I guess I seemed fierce, for they mumbled a few more insults and slinked away. We 4 smiled shyly at each other, and went our separate ways; there was no lasting friendship, and I don’t remember what he was called, but Martin Luther King’s ideals of equality and racial harmony had seared into me, across the oceans, years, and social divide.

‘The time is always right to do what is right.’ Martin Luther King Jr

Trump’s asinine comments about ‘shithole countries’ (which he’s now flatly denying) sadly reminds us that standing up to bullies and racists is still essential.

But from the joy of the unified celebration of an extraordinary man, to the sadness of losing an incredible singer today: Dolores O’Riordan from The Cranberries. Such a voice! Such a small, feisty, powerful artist, gone too young at only 46- five years younger than me.

Tragic.

There were so few women in rock and roll, and she sang with such passion, in that gorgeous sexy accent… how many tears did I shed listening to this song when I broke up with various lovers over my angsty twenties/thirties (when I needed a good cry, before I put on Gloria Gaynor’s “I will Survive” and danced triumphant round the room)?

Life just keeps ticking along doesn’t it? Our teenage heroes get sick and die, as we ourselves age inexorably…

*sigh

Thank you Dr. King for the profound wisdom, inspiration, and social change; thank you Dolores for doing the same for my teenage self ❀

In gratitude always for powerful words and music, G xO

14 Comments

  1. The contrast between King and trump is astonishing, isn’t it?
    Read about Dolores O’Riordan’s death in the paper this morning, and the Cranberries. Had no idea of this, owing to some extremely insular periods in my life. Thanks for sharing the link, what a beautiful voice.

    Liked by 1 person

    • To me, Trump is like the darkest, baddest shadow of everything that is Good.

      Her voice was stunning; I’ve always been a big music fan in general; it’s her relative youth that upset me too (with 3 kids) πŸ’§πŸ’§πŸ’§

      Like

  2. Powerful words and music indeed–always a blessing.

    I just saw this below online and felt it was a decent article that discussed the issue of either staying still for bad comments or speaking up. I am your age, so ‘calling out’ is not a specific thing/term to me (they contrast it with ‘calling in’, and the first seems to be saying hey cut the crap, and the second seems to be discussing it privately with the person and saying hey cut the crap). I felt this link might be pertinent and useful to this discussion: The Washington Post:
    Calling out racists is actually good for your health, according to science. Here’s how to do it.

    http://wapo.st/2Do8uge

    Like

  3. I am not at all surprised you told off those young bullies at the ripe old age of seven. Good for you!

    I remember when I first heard Linger; I was haunted by its eerie shimmer. Pretty and Not Sorry still move out, while I remain awed by the sheer power of Zombie. RIP, Ms. O’Riordan,

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Matt, I’m pretty proud of my younger feisty self (I do remember worrying it was going to turn to blows, but I just COULDN’T not say something); and yes, the power of her music still awes me, such a loss : (

      Liked by 2 people

  4. You sound like me when I was young. I invited a friend from school to go to a church function and my parents told me that she would not be welcomed because she was black. She still went with me (I refused to listen) and we had a good time. Stupidity reins unfortunately in some people. I’m glad we aren’t those people!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I recall the moment when my mother met an ethiopian refugee my brother had befriended at school and she threw him out of the house. This moment was pivotal in my realising that I had to break from her disgusting example and follow my own path. A few years later she showed this side of her character to my wife one day, having a rant which included her belief that a western man and asian woman could never have sex because their bits would not fit together. We never went back and were estranged from my mother for twenty years because of her bigotry. I have no regrets whatsoever.
    Oddly enough I have been listening to the Cranberries a lot recently, for the first time in years. There is a wonderful Tiny Desk concert of theirs on youtube, filmed fairly recently. They end with Zombie and it still has awesome power. I loved her unique voice and was shocked at her passing.

    This is a truly wonderful post and a pleasure to read my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

    • OMG Arty I cannot imagine the horror of your Mum’s behaviours! Isn’t it wonderful that we smart, sensitive, determined kids can make choices about how we choose to behave in response to that? We’re very lucky.

      Her voice touches souls somehow, or shows us hers… I’m going to hunt that Tiny Desk clip right now, thanks.

      I really appreciate your comments and sharings, thank you for your compliment, love G : )

      Liked by 1 person

  6. This was right on point with how I was feeling too yesterday! Thank you for sharing your courageous story of compassion for that poor kid that day. Kids can be merciless. You know your values and you knew them to the core then it sounds like! The Dolores thing is just so sad. It is sad to think of all the musical talent lost in the last two years-truly tragic indeed. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you Amber; I had just seen your post on Instagram about her too; our inner teenagers our sitting sadly together, listening to her music one more time : (

      I think that event in the park was actually the catalyst for me understanding I could choose NOT to be a racist, and was actually for equal rights for everyone; what a great day! G

      Liked by 3 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s