Les Miserables in North Africa


The most powerful presentation I have ever seen and heard, in any form, in any venue; film, stage or television, is Les Miserables.  The depth and breadth of it’s message is simply spectacular, and on so many levels. And, I am watching it again now, as I am writing this.
Les Miserables is a message of hope in the midst of despair, as the drama unfolds around the French Revolution.
It is a story of oppression, yet a story of grace overcoming that oppression.
It is a story of personal integrity and values, as the hero struggles with a decision that will cost him dearly, whichever choice he makes. A choice the hero characterizes with the words “If I speak, I am condemned. If I stay silent, I am dammed”. He asks the question “Who am I”, makes the right choice, and it costs him dearly.
It is a story of making amends for a grievous wrong done to an innocent; a wrong that devastates the life of the wronged. The righting of this wrong results in a lifelong commitment on the part of the hero.
It is a love story. A story of two young kids struggling to maintain that love in the midst of chaos.
It is a story of duty gone awry, as a figure of authority obsesses over bringing the hero to justice.
It is a story of a mans lifelong commitment to those he loved, and a commitment to do the right thing, regardless of personal cost.
It is a story of young revolutionaries and idealists, seeking to throw off the oppression of the government they are subject to. It is their story, brought out so powerfully in the lyrics:
Do you hear the people sing?
Singing a song of angry men?
It is the music of a people
Who will not be slaves again!
When the beating of your heart
Echoes the beating of the drums
There is a life about to start
When tomorrow comes!
Will you join in our crusade?
Who will be strong and stand with me?
Somewhere beyond the barricade
Is there a world you long to see?
Then join in the fight
That will give you the right to be free!!
Do you hear the people sing?
Singing a song of angry men?
It is the music of a people
Who will not be slaves again!
When the beating of your heart
Echoes the beating of the drums
There is a life about to start
When tomorrow comes!
Will you give all you can give
So that our banner may advance
Some will fall and some will live
Will you stand up and take your chance?
The blood of the martyrs
Will water the meadows of France!
Do you hear the people sing?
Singing a song of angry men?
It is the music of a people
Who will not be slaves again!
When the beating of your heart
Echoes the beating of the drums
There is a life about to start
When tomorrow comes
It is a story of youthful dreams dashed on the rocky shores of chaos in a troubled world.
It is the story of the tragic end to the revolutionary and idealistic hopes of those seeking nothing more than liberty.
But above all, it is the story of individual triumph of hope and grace over tyranny and oppression.

Earlier today, I watched a newscast from Libya,  where people (mostly young) seeking freedom are rebelling against yet another tyrant in yet another century. I heard the story of these revolutionaries, and wondered, are they repeating the story of those French revolutionaries from years ago?
I wish them well, but as in Les Miserables, they are greatly outgunned and outmanned. I hope their fate, and the fate of their revolution turns out well. My hope is for this Libyan revolution, and the others across North Africa, and into the Middle East, to end in the same fashion as our American Revolution, with liberty and opportunity for those many people living today under oppression.
My hope also, is that whatever the outcome, we will hear stories of individual triumphs of hope, forgiveness and grace in the midst of the present chaos and carnage.
Above all, my hope is that the flame of liberty will burn strong in the hearts of all who wish to be free, and those wishing to remain free.
Best regards,
Don Johnson
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