Oplæg på symposium i forbindelse med besøg i Danmark af Freedom Singers; gruppen af syngende ‘organizers’ som fulgte Martin Luther King til Washington på den store march og som gav frihedskampen så mange sange.
Dear Freedom Singers
It has been told that in Denmark, when the fields lay tight along each other and people lived at the family farm for generations, we actively used the common meal to resolve conflicts. To avoid lifelong feuds. Because, if you had been eating together, you would have been sharing the crops; and who can manage to fight on a full stomach? When you eat together, you get tight. And we know that for sure. There’s a reason for the barbecue – you could call it a community barba-cure.
The same goes for the common song. When we sing together, we get to know each other, and we are introduced to our society’s mythology and history. Both the past history and the contemporary history. When we sing together, we experience setting breath and heartbeat with each other; and we sing common texts that are easier to remember when they are in tune and verse.
With the common song we create a current cohesion carried by the cohesion of the past. When you sing together – you not only belong – you be-song together.
The common song makes people tight. But as we all know, you can be tight in both an excluding and an including way. Perhaps today, we need to ensure that the common song is still an invitation to join.
There is a well-known Danish song with the line: It’s easier keep the people in check, if they have no songs to sing. The sentence points out how strong the common song can be. Because the singalong expresses the tightness of the people. The question today is, how do we strengthen that tightness of the people in a way that keeps the people and the society open. Openminded and including. Strong but not unchangeable. In one word: free.
Freedom is to be bound by the vital. To be committed to what keeps you alive. What keeps the life alive. Freedom is not to be without obligations. But to know, that you can bring live to thy neighbor. To the poor, the vulnerable and the excluded. But also, to your coworkers, the woman on the street, or the children on the playground. Freedom is the experience that you can make a change that makes the world a better place.
You might say that each bird sings with its own beak. But when we sing together, we create a common concert. And suddenly we all – and forget about the divas – we all make an effort to enhance the concert. To give what we have and to help the others to deliver their best. And when it works – we all feel freer than ever.
And that is my commitment – or my tune – as a politician. To give, whatever I have – and whatever it takes, to help others deliver their best in a way, so they will feel freer than ever.
Thank you for all you have been giving humanity.