No Minister

Can You Hear The People Sing?

While living in London in the late 80’s I went to a performance of the musical Les Miserables, and while I thoroughly enjoyed it I can’t say I was too impressed by the music. To put it bluntly, there was nothing that memorable about the songs. Every musical needs at least one stand-out tune that you might find yourself humming outside the theatre.

“Can You Hear The People Sing” is not such a song – and it’s the best known number from the musical.

Still, it’s nice to see that it has some meaning in the world, as these Hong Kong schoolkids showed the other day:

WOW.

Singing that over the top of the Chinese National Anthem at the start of the school year! Bloody brave. I hope their parents are proud of them.

The writer of the original song, 95 year-old Herbert Kretzmer, certainly is:

As I watched them on television from my home in West London, I felt a lump rise to my throat.

Not only because I admired their bravery in standing up to Communist China, which is trying to force a new extradition bill on Hong Kong that could consign anyone living in the Territory to the sham Chinese ‘justice’ system. But because the words they were singing were words I had written 33 years ago — and I knew the song in question had been banned in China.

I believed that such a protest song, sung in solidarity, could overwhelm not only the repressive 1830s French police state depicted in Les Miserables but also the mighty dictatorships of our own times, whether in the form of Soviet Communism, fascist regimes or the supporters of Apartheid in my homeland, South Africa.
….
Do you hear the people of Hong Kong? They are standing up for their rights.

At 93, I can only be with them in spirit. But my words are on their lips — and I am singing with them, too.

Wonder what CIA agent – aside from Kretzmer of course – inspired the schoolkids actions?

And of course the whole thing has an incredible parallel with one of the greatest and most famous scenes in movie history:

Still, we should not forget that straight after that performance the leader of the German contingent, Major Strasser, confronts Ilsa Lund with a blunt truth that no doubt parallels the thoughts of the Chinese Communist leadership with regard to Hong Kong.

My dear, perhaps you have already observed that in Casablanca human life is cheap“.

Written by Tom Hunter

September 6, 2019 at 10:07 pm

Posted in China

Tagged with , , ,

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