Black Lives Matter…
the time has come!
To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heavens…
By Byron Toben
QUIZ: Which number-one hit song has the oldest lyrics?
ANSWER: Turn, Turn, Turn by Pete Seeger in the late 1950s. The lyrics are taken from the Bible – The Book of Ecclesiastes, written sometime between 1000 BCE and 300 BCE, which recites:
“To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heavens… a time to be born and a time to die… a time to kill and a time to heal.., a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to keep silence and a time to speak, a time of love and a time of hate, a time of war, and a time of peace.”
The song hit number 1 on the Billboard chart on December 4, 1965. (I know that because it was on my birthday.)
The song popped into my mind while witnessing the protests in all 50 states of the USA as well as in Canada and Europe for Black Lives Matter, triggered by the death of George Floyd while in police custody.
There have been many similar cases over the years, including the eerily similar one in 2014 to Eric Garner in Staten Island, generating “I can’t breathe” Tee Shirts. There were widespread protests at that time but it wasn’t quite the time for mass change.
It wasn’t quite the time in sports, either, starting with Hitler’s disdain for Jesse Owens at the Berlin 1936 Olympics, nor with the gloved salutes of John Carlos and Tommie Smith at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics, nor at the 2016 taking of the knee by Colin Kaepernick during the playing of the anthem at an NFL game.
That’s just some causes célèbres from sports.
… today’s ubiquitous cameras and instant messaging have combined to give us, literally, a 20/20 vision of things.
I won’t, at this time, get into Congress finally considering an anti-lynching bill after over 100 years of rejecting one, nor the original sin of slavery in the first place.
Former Chinese leader Chou-en Lai, when asked in 1972 what he concluded from the French Revolution of 1789, famously answered “It’s too early to say”.
So it was with the immediate impact of some of the above examples. But their cumulative effect, plus today’s ubiquitous cameras and instant messaging have combined to give us, literally, a 20/20 vision of things.
Is it time for the Lord, though slowly, to finally work in these mysterious ways his/her/its wonders to perform?
Turn, Turn Turn has had fine versions by The Byrds, Nina Simone and Mary Hopkin. I love the Judy Collins YouTube below.
Byron Toben, a past president of The Montreal Press Club, has been WestmountMag.ca’s theatre reviewer since July 2015. Previously, he wrote for since terminated web sites Rover Arts and Charlebois Post, print weekly The Downtowner and print monthly The Senior Times. He also is an expert consultant on U.S. work permits for Canadians.