• Brevard Renaissance Fair 2018 – Stary Olsa – Part 58 (Highway to Hell)

    https://dai.ly/x6vifns

    Stary Olsa performs “Highway to Hell” at the 2018 Brevard Renaissance Fair in Melbourne, Florida (2018-01-28).

    From Stary Olsa’s web page:

    “STARY OLSA is a mediaeval Belarusian music band. It was founded in 1999 by its present leader Zmicier Sasnoŭski and now consists of six musicians. It takes its name from a brook in the west part of Mahilioŭ Region (Belarus).

    The band’s repertoire includes Belarusian folk balladry and martial songs, Belarusian national dances, works of Belarusian Renaissance composers, compositions from Belarusian aulic music collections (e.g. Polack Notebook, Vilnia Notebook), Belarusian canticles of the 16th – early 17th centuries, as well as European popular melodies of the Middle Ages and Renascence.

    STARY OLSA cooperates with many knightly clubs from Belarus and Europe, museums and research centres, masters of early instruments, bands of folk, aulic, sacred and city avital music, as well as with solo performers using old instruments, as well as with fire show theartes.

    The band’s music makes it possible to restore sounds of many forgotten instruments. STARY OLSA uses for its performances maximal exact (in appearance, technology and materials) copies of old aged Belarusian instruments such as Belarusian bagpipe, lyre, gusli (Baltic psaltery) , svirel (reed pipe), jew’s-harp, ocarina, Belarusian trumpet, birch bark trumpet, hudok (Belarusian rebec), tromba marina and drums.

    The purpose is to completely reconstruct (whenever possible) musical traditions of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania where Belarus was the main cultural and geopolitical part in the 13th – 18th centuries, and where there was a unique combination of Belarusian folk and aulic music with European musical achievements of that time. In order to revive this cultural peculiarity the band’s members mix early Belarusian instruments sound with all-European mediaeval instruments such as lute, rebec, cister, flute, Arabic drum.

    Besides its own theatrical concerts, the band performs at mediaeval culture festivals, spear-runnings and folklore festivals.”

    http://staryolsa.com/en/home.html

    https://dai.ly/x6vifns


  • Presumption of Innocence Is Social Justice

    I have a friend in Papua New Guinea named Monica Paulus who was accused of casting sorcery spells because a person died in her village. Her neighbors almost murdered her until she fled the region. Now she works to save other women falsely accused of sorcery who are targets of torture and killing. This is a window into the mob violence Western civilization crawled slowly out of through the establishment of principles like the presumption of innocence.

    To millions of Americans, Brett Kavanaugh seems just as guilty as Monica seemed to her accusers. They sincerely believe, because of the power groupthink has over the human mind, that Kavanaugh has all the signs of their suspected profile of an abuser of women: rich, white, elite Catholic school attendee, conservative, and nominated by Donald Trump. Millions of people have repeated this so often that it feels deeply true. Plus, there were accusations!

    Monica’s accusers believed she fit the profile of a witch. Once the first accusation was levied, it was easy for others to believe it was true. From an outside vantage, charges of deadly sorcery seem absurd to third-party observers. But in Monica’s culture, belief in the power of sorcery to kill children and cause calamity has been universal for millennia. Though recent infections of Christianity have shaken it, sorcery is still a fact of life.

    Personhood has been a hard-fought prize of Western civilization. The idea that an individual person has a right to their own life and liberty regardless of the passions of the collective is a relatively new and fragile gain for humanity. For most of history, the individual person accused by a crowd or community had no ability to escape its all-consuming wrath.

    Humans without Christ-rooted protection for the individual quickly descend into very dangerous, unthinking crowds.

    In the book of Genesis, Potiphar’s wife accused her Hebrew servant Joseph of trying to rape her when, in fact, she tried to seduce him. Joseph was thrown into prison for this false accusation without any need for corroboration except the cloak she had ripped from him.

    “Believe Our Women!” could have been the slogan organizers used during Jim Crow against black men falsely accused of sexual violence. The “justice” crowds felt as sure about their scapegoats’ guilt as new partisan crowds do about their conservative targets. To mobs, a person’s wealth or poverty or race is sufficient reason to ignore their humanity and cast shame.

    Even popular cinema reflects a healthy suspicion of collective accusations. In the film Edward Scissorhands, a woman falsely accused Edward (Johnny Depp) of sexual assault after he spurned her advances in a barber shop. Her tears led to an angry mob destroying the life of an innocent.

    To that mob, Edward’s differentiation from their shared cultural identity made him a very guilty rapist.

    That zeal is what possesses the minds of people who think that dressing out-of-fashion, having opposing political opinions, or bearing a “guilty” skin color makes one eternally suspect for non-corroborated accusations.

    In 18 AD, if a woman claimed a high magistrate tried to sexually assault her when they were teens, she would be ignored, arrested, or executed without anything but derision in every society around the world. Two-thousand years of Jesus’s personhood revolution has made it so that such a claim against the highest of officials is rightfully treated with sacred care and gravity.

    Victim-garbed political stunts and witch hunts are growing. But those weeds take root in the cultural soil cultivated by the Crucified One. The first shall be last and the last shall be first.

    We should take survivors of assault seriously, and we do that by never using them as props for political power and by creating a culture that treats every human as sacred and worthy of supreme dignity.

    We have much to learn from a survivor of witch hunts like Monica Paulus. We should protect the voice of the powerless in the face of violence. We should treat human beings as individual persons, not pawns of identity-exploiting optics. We should fight for the presumption of innocence, not just in the court of law but as the cultural norm we grant the accused in discourse. Finally, we should remember that politics is a thin laminate on the passions and fits of human crowds: the mobs we see in recent days are a revelation of the heart of the whole enterprise.

    The State, a monopoly on violence against nonviolent persons in a given territory, is not to be trusted with centrally planning our lives. One court of nine sages deciding personal matters and vices for 300 million people just sounds like a really bad cultic idea.

    The Founders never intended the court to have such broad, sweeping ex nihilo powers of legal decree. Congress has the power to limit the Supreme Court’s jurisdiction. Decentralizing power closer to home will go a long way to easing tensions between neighbors who feel powerless when their rivals win power over our current winner-takes-all DC Leviathan.

    Monica Paulus’s example in Papua New Guinea offers a final clue as to how we should fight for justice in America. After facing gruesome near-death, she had opportunities to flee to a safe space. But she stayed.

    To this day, she continues to work in villages in which witch burnings are still used to solve social tensions and grief. She actively intervenes in the midst of self-righteous crowds—convinced of their targets’ guilt—to save women from horrible deaths. She does not seek revenge against those who accuse her. She seeks to end collective violence and protect the personhood of all people, no matter who they are.

    I’m with Monica.

    Source: Presumption of Innocence Is Social Justice – Foundation for Economic Education


  • Commodore Magazine (July 1989)

    commodore_magazine_vol-10-n07_1989_jul-001

    Source: Commodore Magazine – July 1989