When Songs Trumped Rifles


This nation does not stain steel swords and spears with the precious blood of people. Peace is its stately, proud flag; a shield of songs which repels the spear.

~Latvian poet Auseklis, 1873

While India is one of the world renowned examples for achieving independence (mostly) through non violent means, I was surprised to know that the former USSR countries of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania also won independence non-violently. Often dubbed “the Singing Revolution”, I refer to a passive resistance movement that took hold in the Baltic nations of Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia in the late 1980s and early 1990s against the erstwhile Soviet Union, in which thousands used to gather en masse and sing songs of freedom.

In today’s Needull, we learn more about this ‘melodious’ movement (from an Estonian point of view), and how their modern music has now lost its connection to this musical patrimony.

Full article here

The Atlantic – Katharine Schwab

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