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Ale van den Broek: Order 81...Embedded audio
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Alex van den Broek: Order 8...Embedded video
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Sample: Page 1 of scoreSee details ➔
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War is a racket. It always has been. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives. A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small 'inside' group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes.
from ‘War is A Racket’ - Smedley Butler (United States Marine Corps Major General)
Before it was known for its prison, the town of Abu Ghraib was known for its seed bank, started by local farmers in the 1970s. Before the 2003 U.S invasion, Iraqi scientists sent a black box containing the country’s seed stocks across the border to the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas in Syria, a gene bank that holds samples of 131,000 discrete types of seeds for plants that support the diets of the nearly one billion people living in central and western Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa. Barley, beans, chickpeas, lentils - the seeds are catalogued and stored in sealed plastic bottles inside giant refrigerated vaults.
In 2004, Paul Bremer, the top civil administrator in charge of Iraq’s Coalition Provisional Authority, imposed more than one hundred laws on Iraq. Order 81 stipulated that genetically modified organisms could be introduced and plants could be patented, though Iraq’s constitution had previously prohibited private ownership of biological resources. Farmers were no longer allowed to save or reuse their seeds. They had to destroy them each year and repurchase seeds from licensed, authorized U.S. distributors. The ancestors of those who cultivated humans’ first crops were now forced, every year, to buy seeds and the pesticides those seeds require from American companies like Monsanto, Dow and Cargill. Penalties for not following Order 81 included fines or jail time.
from ‘Draw Your Weapons’ - Sarah Sentilles
Not only is war abhorrent to me, but the fact that people exploit war for personal gain is atrocious. This piece is in response to war profiteering in general, and Order 81 specifically.
Musically, the material in this piece is constrained and repeating.
There are two ideas in the piece. One represents the small place of humans in relation to the universe, and the other the daily life, man-made constraints, and objectionable things that humans do to each other to benefit themselves. There is an interplay between the two ideas that at times are contrasted and other times merged.
This piece is intended to represent the repeating and inevitable nature of history. The intentionally ambiguous rhythms hover in a time structure which should feel expansive with an endless quality.
Commissioned by Justin DeHart