Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Material World - Irony of Life

Have you heard the news today, oh boy? The George Harrison Memorial Tree, which was planted in his honor at the Griffith Observatory; located in Los Angeles’ Griffith Park; has died. Apparently it passed away last month but has just been announced last Monday by City Councilman Councilman Tom LaBonge.

The irony in the story is that the tree died as a result of an invasion of; you guessed it; beetles, the agricultural type. The irony of this is further compounded by the frantic effort to replace it. Mr. Harrison, who did not really believe in the impermanence of things material, would either amuse or bemuse him. The tree was planted in 2004.

The tree is a nice gesture and draws tourists. But a far better way to honor the former Beatle and all round musician/composer would be to have a look at the following video from 1990. At the time Romania had just come out of its darkest days under the brutal dictatorship of Nicolae Ceau┼čescu.

Thousands of women were raped by the military and forced to carry the babies’ full term. Many of those children were infected with AIDS, as well as severe learning disabilities. Hospitals, when available, were primitive and lacking in everything. There were no schools for these children, who were all slated to become members of the Romanian dictators military. When freedom came the country was completely unprepared.

At the time, Olivia Harrison heard of the plight and visited the country. When she came back she got together with the other Beatle wives and formed the charity organization Romanian Angel Appeal Foundation. Quietly; ever so quietly, over the course of the last 24 years; Olivia Harrison; along with Barbara Bach, Yoko Ono and the now deceased Linda McCartney; made it financially possible for these children to survive and even excel.

In this following 1990 interview you will not only hear the story of how the charity came to be; but also about the Traveling Wilbury’s and their second album “Volume 3” which was released in 1990.
“Nobody’s Child” wasn’t on the original album but appears on the re-release. It’s an old American song by Cy Coben and Mel Foree; performed by Lonnie Donnegan. George had to call Joe Brown in London to get the lyrics. It was 5AM in London. They succeeded in getting half of them, and then wrote their own last verse.
The song originally appeared on an album for the Romanian Angel Appeal which featured artists such as the Traveling Wilbury’s, Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon and George Harrison, Eric Clapton, Van Morrison, Guns N' Roses, Ringo Starr, and Elton John. Here is that interview;

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