Sunday, April 1, 2007

No Escape from the Evils of Mankind

Yesterday morning, shortly after posting several items to the blog, I headed out into a cool and fresh and sunny day for my daily walk.

I put on my headphones and heard Rick Phillips welcoming us to his CBC Saturday Noon Hour show “Sound Advice,” in which he plays and reviews new music releases.

“Today,” he told us, “we are going to focus on classical music for children.”


He began with a new recording of a children’s opera called “Brundibar.”

What followed was the unavoidable inescapable nightmare of the Twentieth Century.

A man named Hans Krasa wrote “Brundibar”. Mr. Krasa was seized by the Nazis and sent to the completely false show camp at Terezin, a piece of staging so canny it even fooled the Red Cross at the time. The opera was performed in the camp by children.

All of the children and Mr. Krasa were, like most of the inhabitants of Terezin, sent soon enough to their deaths at Auschwitz Birkenau.

The new recording was from a Seattle group called The Music of Remembrance.

Thus on a brisk and sun-filled morning in Vancouver in March 2007, feeling our unbearable lightness of being, our vitality, breathing in the spring blossoms and the sight of children playing in their yards, we are confronted once again with The Horror.

No matter the books written, the symposia held, the movies filmed and heralded. This Obscenity stays with us, like a yapping dog, never silent, always snapping at our heels.

We are capable of the worst. And often we will do it.

So you are a Jew, a black, a Chinese, a homosexual, a Catholic, a man with or without conviction, a soul without attachment other than to the brand of automobile you chose or the hotel chain you prefer, or a passionate believer in an ancient system of ideals. Does it matter? There is always some hater, some killer waiting at the next station to declare that you and your kind do not qualify.

Yes, there is kindness and grace.

But it is like one drop of rainwater on a single flower.