Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Song: 'From Russia With Peace'

Introduction by Koozma

The song 'From Russia With Peace' was written to celebrate the Doukhobors' burning their guns in Russia, on midnight of June 28-29, 1895. It was composed in 1982 by Jim Stark of Shawville, Quebec, a writer, singer, composer and peace activist, who I have known since the 1970s.

In 1977 Jim Stark and Peter Brown founded Operation Dismantle (a non-profit national nuclear disarmament organization). Jim served as President and CEO until 1985. In 2004, he founded the non-profit NGO 'Vote World Parliament' known as Democratic World Parliament Through a Global Referendum and since then has served on the Board.

The late John J. Verigin, Sr. (Honourary Chairman of the USCC, Grand Forks, BC) was a sponsor of Operation Dismantle; and his son, John J. Verigin, Jr, the current CEO of USCC, was active as a lobbyist at the United Nations.

Jim was a speaker and singer at the International Doukhobor Intergroup Symposium in Castlegar, British Columbia, June 25 - 28, 1982. See pages 56-58 of the Symposium Proceedings for his talk on 'Operation Dismantle' in which he ends with the following words: '…I think that we, the people, might and probably shall overcome all obstacles and see the day, or perhaps it will be left to our children, or grandchildren, when the world will in fact do to the nuclear bomb, what the Doukhobors have done to their guns so many years ago.'

Jim Stark has written over a dozen fiction and nonfiction books, most available through Amazon. However, Jim writes that 'the three best The LieDeck Revolution (Book #1, The Opening, and Book #2 The Endgame) and Beaner Wiener (an autobiography of a cat) are not there, as I am trying my best to find traditional publishers for them (not much luck so far).' 

As well, Jim writes: 'The LieDeck books were best-selllers as e-books on Fictionwise for several months. I never receive a penny from Fictionwise, but at least I had the satisfaction of hearing from readers in a positive way.'

"From Russia with Peace" can be heard on YouTube and on his YouTube channel. Jim writes in April 2014: 'You can listen to a bunch more of my songs. You have my permission to use any or all of them however you wish.'

From Russia With Peace    (© Jim Stark 1982)  Play

(This story starts in) eighteen ninety-four on a day
When a middle aged man was to make his way
From down in the land of Genghis Khan
To the exiled-in-Siberia man

(Well he) walks all day and he walks all night
And the tsar of Russia wants to make him go fight
Spirit wrestler looking for the light and
Thinkin’ of his wife and son, oh, thinkin’ of his wife and son

(It happened that the) journey up took half of a year ’n’ as he
Reached his goal he was filled with fear
His boots all muddy and his hat all fur
“Is Peter Verigin here, good sir?”

Well the guard looked down with his eyes of fire
These people were a threat to the whole empire
“You better not cut it too close to the wire
Five minutes is all you won, oh, five minutes is all you won

(Finally the) weary traveler walked in the cell
And he wished his spiritual leader well
A warm embrace and a tear that fell
And a host of troubling stories to tell

“Take off your boots,” the prisoner said,
“You gonna walk outa here in mine instead.
There’s papers at the bottom that’ve gotta be read
There’s a great deal to be done, oh, there’s a great deal to be done …”

(Soon they found the) time for departure was well near nigh
And it’s funny how five little minutes can fly
The traveler spoke his sad farewell
“Your message to the folks back home I’ll tell.”

“Every person is a holy font and
Murder by the state I do not want.
Gather your weapons and let ’em all taunt ya
Burn ’em up every one, oh, burn ’em up every one.”

(The people gathered) loaded rifles by the wagon full
It took twenty-two teams of horses to pull
With dry manure bricks and kerosene
It made a midnight blaze like ya never seen

Hymns were sung as the bullets flew
God was praised but the people knew
Troops would come and beat them blue
And send them on the run, oh and send them on the run.

(And then it was from) Kars and from Slavyanka they fled
In Bogdanovka people lay dead
Russia could be their home no more
But Canada opened its bountiful door

Now these thousands, brave and calm,
Bring to the nations a modern-day psalm
The world’s gotta do to the nuclear bomb
What the Doukhobors done to the gun, oh
The world’s gotta do to the nuclear bomb
What the Doukhobors done to the gun, oh!

1 comment:

  1. Ingrid Style, Quebec10 April 2014 at 06:21

    Koozma and Jim
    I first heard that story and Jim’s song in the early eighties . It still brings a lump to my throat.
    How do we get that story out to the world? It is rather amazing that Hollywood has not done something with such a dramatic theme....or has it?
    Was the inspired gutsy gesture of the arms-burners later nullified in the eyes of the public by the Sons of Freedom reaction to forced schooling?