Happy Birthday Tony Bennett!


mlk Harry Belafonte, Dr. Martin Luther King, Tony Bennett

On a recent visit to my local library my eye was caught by one of the books on display. The cover was a photo of the author, someone I admire – Tony Bennett. I heard Tony Bennett singing in my youth but only later learned of his support for human rights. The recent film ‘Selma’ included the footage of him walking on that now famous civil rights march reminded me of that.

A few years ago I watched a documentary on his life. It had come to my attention that he is a pacifist. But only in that film did I learn that his pacifism grew from his experiences as an 18 year old on the German front following the Battle of the Bulge.

The book I have just read is ‘Life Is A Gift’ with a subtitle of ‘The Zen of Bennett’ (Omnibus Press 2013). I thought I would share some of it with you. This is from the chapter ‘War is Insanity’:

“Every war is insane, no matter what the reason. It is amazing to me that with all the great teachers – including Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. Martin Luther King, and Nelson Mandela – the great masters of literature and art, and all the contributions that have been made on the planet, we still haven’t come up with a more humane approach to working out conflicts. War is archaic. Simply put, violence begets violence; history has proved this to be true. I just hope that someday the people in power will realize that war is not a solution to the world’s problems. We only live to one hundred years at most; whey use that time to harm others? We should count our blessing and be happy we are alive.”

At the end of each chapter there is a box titled ‘The Zen of Bennett’. Here is what is in the box at the end of the chapter mentioned above:
Killing is the lowest form of human behaviour.
Every war is insane, no matter what it’s about.
It is wrong for people to fight and kill one another.
War is not a solution to the world’s problems
If only more people thought the same.

Sue Claydon: APF Vice Chair


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