Monday, 20 September 2010

Crass Enough To Care

I've been mulling over reviewing another outstanding Frank Turner show from last month for a few weeks now, but have now run out of superlatives for the gent. Suffice it to say, he was as outstandingly rabble-rousing as usual, with a mass stage invasion and sing along to The Ballad of Me & My Friends at the end. We will, indeed, have "all the best stories to tell".

Furthermore, the man himself has been more than frequently covered in these pages before.


Rather, today, I'd like to spend these paragraphs shining a light on an organisation that Señor Turner's blog mentioned last week: the Belarus Free Theatre Company.

The group is a dissident artistic group in Belarus, a nation on the doorstep of the European Union but rarely acknowledged as anything more than a transitional, former-Soviet satellite nation. In actuality the country is a dictatorship, with deplorable practices employed against dissenters to the government of President Alexander Lukashenko. Creative freedoms are strictly curtailed, something on which the company obviously focuses. 

The worst thing, at least for me as a Briton and (ostensibly) a citizen of the European Union, is this quote in a recent Observer article, from an EU diplomat no less: "Europe would not get agitated until bodies piled up in the streets". At a time when we'll ignore international law to fly across the world and pretend to fight for the freedom of a Middle East nation like Iraq, it should be outrageous, to the UK especially, that repressive regimes in our back yard are turned a blind eye to.

This is rarely a political blog of any shape or sort, but the artists I enjoy often fuel the passion in their music with worthy causes or outright frustration of the societies within which they live. The question I'm asking myself is how can we go beyond music drawing our attention to such situations and actually assist this type of group in their drive for change? 

Although I haven't come up with the answer as yet, spreading the word at the behest of one such artist and group is, I suppose, one way to start the ball rolling.

"Oh but once, we were young, and we were crass enough to care..." 
~ Frank Turner - Love Ire & Song

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