Pro-Peace Christmas CD Not in our Name Released Today

All proceeds of sales raise money for the victims of the war in Iraq

Today, December 10, 2015, the pro-peace Christmas CD Not in our Name will have its limited edition release, and as it is not limited time wise, the CD will be available as a download on CD Baby. It can also be bought by going onto the website and clicking on the “Order CD” button.

And Caroline Kennedy, who came up with the idea a mere five months ago, is “euphoric!!”  In an email on this momentus date, Caroline told me:

I had no idea when I threw out that germ of an idea almost 5 months ago that it would take root and germinate like this.

I think the fact that I mentioned it would be the 100th anniversary of that iconic moment when the German and the Allies on the front lines laid down their arms, joined hands and sang “Silent Night” together must have touched people deeply. As, even though none of us were witness to that incredible moment, we have seen it time and again repeated in film footage and heard it from the lips of surviving military veterans.

not-in-our-name-cd-musicHow It All Began

A few years ago, Caroline, a tireless peace advocate whose “short bio” could cover an entire page or more (writer, actor, researcher, humanitarian aid worker, author, theater director, and “passionate traveller”), set up a Facebook page “Impeach Tony Blair” for his role in joining the US war machine in its attack on Iraq despite huge objection from the UK people (the February 15 march through London to Hyde Park was the largest in UK history).

As membership in her Facebook group grew, Caroline would toss out suggestions “to do something concrete to nail Tony Blair or get him closer to a trial at the Hague.”  However, despite “tremendous enthusiasm” her suggestions “resulted in nothing as most people lead busy lives and are unable to commit time to the project.”

Response to CD idea overwhelming

In July of this year, not knowing how much time such an endeavour required, Caroline suggested recording a pro-peace Christmas CD.  The response was immediate.  “I was amazed and overjoyed when I starting receiving original poems and songs through the inbox”, she told me.  “Alisha Sufit and Ray Souter submitted the first ones.  Soon my inbox was flooded.”

Such was the response that the “wonderful Janis Hetherington stepped in and quickly became the ‘Taskmaster’.  She helped me organize a selection committee and kept us in line by issuing a group email of our daily targets. She somehow, miraculously, kept her eye on the ball and prevented any of us from slacking.”

The team consisted of Caroline, entrepreneur Janis Hetherington, singer/songwriter Stephanie De-Sykes, pianist/songwriter Earl Okin, poet/artist Alisha Sufit, war journalist Felicity Arbuthnot, academic Clifford Jones, poet Ray Souter, Artist/Graphic designer Allison Carmichael and the father of a British soldier killed in Iraq, Peter Brierley.

Once the recording started, Allison Carmichael and Martin Woods offered to set up the website and do all the art work “becoming a vital part of our working group”.

It’s been a whirlwind five months, but the CD is a reality.  “I am so proud of the team”, Caroline told me in an e-mail today.

They have pulled off a miracle in record time. I have had an incredibly hard-working, dedicated and committed team. And I have had the goodwill of many, many others volunteering their services for free.

Poets, artists, writers, singers, actors, all volunteering to write, read and sing for free. And more offers of artwork, recording facilities, production support – everyone willing to give up their time to make this venture a success.  All expenses for producing the CD have been paid out of the team’s pockets. So all the proceeds from sales of the CD will go directly to the victims in Iraq.

Who in Iraq will receive the proceeds from the sale of the CD will be determined at a later date. “The proceeds will be collected and then we will make the decision,” Caroline explained.  “We don’t want to be rushed into deciding who to donate it to. We have people on the ground in Iraq and also the journalist, Felicity Arbuthnot, who has covered the Iraq War and knows Iraq very well who will advise us where best to place the donation.”

To what does Caroline attribute the incredible response to her CD suggestion?

I think we were fortunate in that the timing was right – Blair, Chilcot, Syria (mirroring Iraq) and the plight of the refugees were all making headlines on a daily basis throughout the summer. All this helped fire the determination to get this CD made, help the victims and concentrate people’s minds on saying “Not in Our Name” to yet another war, this time in Syria.

The movement is spreading. For the sake of our children’s and grandchildren’s future we have got to speak in one voice saying NO MORE WAR. And we are very conscious we also have to be the voices of those victims who cannot speak for themselves – the children whose lives have been devastated by our warmongering politicians. Their voices need to be heard.

The CD consists of  22 tracks, a mixture of music/song and the spoken word.  Four of the tracks, “Bomb Babies“, “Blair of War & Glory“, “If I Ever Get Home”, and “Somewhere in Baghdad” have accompanying videos.

crazy_blair-mother_and_child_0Mother and Child (The image that broke my heart. AT)

somewhere-in-baghdad2

Angie Tibbs is Senior Editor of Dissident Voice and Editor of Poetry on Sunday. She can be reached at: angie@dissidentvoice.org. Read other articles by Angie.