Friday, June 4, 2010

A Conspiracy of Hope: 24 Years and Running

It's getting rather thin, but I've still got the t-shirt - from the Conspiracy of Hope benefit concerts for Amnesty International, twenty-four years ago. I bought it from a student at Rockhurst College in Kansas City, where I studied for the Missouri bar exam in the summer of 1986.

Though I didn't see any of concerts, even on TV, I'm grateful for the glimpses still available, courtesy of You Tube.

When Peter Gabriel took the stage at the New Jersey Meadowlands in May of 1986 to sing his anthem "Biko," Nelson Mandela was in prison and apartheid was still very much in place in South Africa. Mikhail Gorbachev was only just beginning his reform efforts in the Soviet Union.

Much has changed for the better in the world since then. South African apartheid is gone, as is the Soviet Union. Yet so much remains to be done.

What is the ongoing legacy of the concerts and the aspirations to which they gave voice? To paraphrase Peter Gabriel at the Meadowlands, it's up to us.

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