Saturday, 15 November 2014

Three Questions About Human Rights with Buffy Sainte-Marie

In anticipation of her upcoming performance at the opening ceremonies for the Canadian Museum for Human Rights on September 20th, Buffy offers inspiring answers to three questions about human rights.

What do you think the role of music is in human rights?

To inform and inspire both locally and globally. A 3-minute song can be more effective than a 400-page textbook in informing people beyond the party lines. Long ago, troubadours used to spread the news, which sometimes was dangerously opposite to what current authorities wanted people to know. Artists can bring alternative perspectives about how people treat each other, both historically and now.

How has activism and the pursuit of Human Rights shaped your music?

I've seen how all three topics - activism, human rights and music - get stymied by greed and the war racket. Discussions about talent, fairness and racism are often just the new clothing that the old emperors wear as they loot the economy and turn the world to pocket change. Being involved in philanthropy and human rights globally over many years, I've continually learned how controlled we are in systems wherein a powerful few pretty much call the shots for civilians, and control the military. Payola and greed try to be king; gatekeepers and lawyers control the music, perfume, media and fashion industries; and the richest countries in the world have made the worst wars in history. This is not the time to quit on each other.

Who is your inspiration?

Gandhi, the writer John Horgan who wrote The End of War, the poet Rumi, Jesus, Martin Luther King, Harry Belafonte, Naomi Wolf, Desmond Tutu, the Dalai Lama… and people in my family who are not famous.

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