The Price of Silence

Anniversaries are a dime a dozen. We’ve got days for everything. Sled Dog Day. Bubble Gum Day. Ballet Day. Dump Your Significant Jerk Day.  I’m not kidding. Today is different.

60 years ago this December 10th – after the horrors of World War II – the world came together to unanimously pass the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). Not one nation dissented (though a few abstained). The declaration says that every human being deserves dignity, freedom and respect.  It’s the first blueprint for global rights, establishing fundamental freedoms for every human being.

I guess years of a hellish war have a way of teaching you what’s important.

60 years later, millions if not billions still suffer from tyranny, torture, injustice and inequality. Amnesty International reported earlier this year that the world’s leaders owe an apology for failing to deliver on the promise of justice and equality in the UDHR.

16 global musicians aren’t waiting around for the apology. Instead they collaborated on a new music video project called “The Price of Silence”. The video features artists who’ve personally fled oppressive regimes:

  • Yungchen Lhamo (Tibet) was born in a Chinese labor camp and left Tibet in 1989 at the age of 22, trekking across the Himalayas with her two-year old son to escape oppression from the Chinese regime.
  • Alicia Partnoy is a survivor from the secret detention camps where about 30,000 Argentineans “disappeared.”
  • Emmanuel Jal was born in war-torn Sudan in the early 1980s. He was taken from his family home in 1987 when he was six years old, and sent to fight with the rebel army in Sudan’s bloody civil war.
  • Chiwoniso recently relocated from Zimbabwe to the United States in August 2008, removing herself and her two children from the political and economic unrest there.

Other artists include Hugh Masekela, Julieta Venegas, , Angelique Kidjo, Aterciopelados, Yerba Buena, Natacha Atlas, Rachid Taha, Kiran Ahluwalia, Natalie Merchant, and Chali 2Na of Jurassic 5.

Don’t be silent. Watch it, and pass it on.  Even to just one friend, one family member.

You can also buy the track on iTunes. All proceeds go to support Amnesty International’s life saving work.

Special thanks to Link TV, Nacional Records, Aterciopelados, music producer Adres Levin (and his organization Music Has No Enemies) and video director Josh Atesh Litle for their help creating “The Price of Silence”.

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  1. Pingback: The Price of Silence: UN Declaration of Human Rights Turns 60 « AIDBLOG