Video: 16 year old Luke Lucas on X-Factor singing like a pro

Ulla: Oh my god, what a voice, what a surprise, what sweet energy!

His first audition on xFactor…

“You don’t learn to sing like that. You are born singing like that.”

Quote from one of  the judges



Korea’s Got Talent: Sung-bong Choi

Korea's Sung-bong Choi

What a touching performance by an untrained voice, a life filled with hardship. What an inspiration to never stop dreaming. To not give up on what we feel passionate about. To follow that which feels good to us, brings us comfort and makes us feel alive.

I was feeling very touched, with tears in my eyes and a constricted throat. There is a quality in his voice… hard to describe. See for yourself:

New social movements: The difference between sheep and starlings

Bahrain Pearl Roundabout Twitpiced by AymanB

The unrest in the Arab countries of Northern Africa and the Middle East are rapidly spreading (see here for a well done overview on 21FEB2011).

Day by day more young people are inspired to demonstrate, mostly peacefully, for basic human rights or free elections in the face of longterm despotic leadership. Yes, mostly young people.

Even in China unrest among the young is brewing. They are calling for their own  “Jasmine Revolution” (see here).

What is happening here? How can we rap our minds around the fact that within the last two months at least 13 countries in Northern Africa are experiencing various levels of unrest amongst their young people? That two countries have lost their longterm leaders, and more are on the brink of loosing theirs?  How come this unrest is spreading like a contagious virus?

One common factor among the 13 countries is that 50% of the population in these countries is under 25 years young. These young people are hardest hit by unemployment, rising food prices in our worldwide climate of recession, and stagnating economies, often due to longterm corrupt leadership.

But isn’t it interesting in all these uprisings that there is no clear leadership associated with it? Have we ever had uprisings without leaders?

What if we are seeing a clash between two kinds of societal movement here? Old style and new style.

To me old style social movement looks like a shepherd tending to his flock of sheet with the help of a few dogs. The shepherd literally has the overview over his herd of sheep, assesses any given situation and instructs the dogs to move the herd out of danger into safety or into a direction the shepherd deems appropriate. The sheep only go bah and follow the shepherd via the dogs prompting.

This is pretty much the way leadership has looked for the past several thousand years. More or less benevolent shepherds tending masses of sheep.

Even in 1980 Eastern block uprisings like the Polish Solidarity movement had its leader in Leach Walesa, who later became president of a communist free Poland.

But this is different, as we are seeing no leaders emerging in these latest social uprisings in Northern Africa.

They actually remind me more of flocks of birds gathering and flying thousands of miles without a leader, without a hierarchal structure, than like a flock of sheep following a shepherd. A good  example are these starlings getting ready to roost.

It always amazes me how cohesively thousands of starlings can move without any discernible leadership.

Back to the uprisings in Northern Africa.

These youths also have  in common the ability and affinity to use internet communication as a means to know themselves connected with the whole world, if they choose to and have access to it (click here for an article about Facebook in Arabic). They see what other youths in the world have, as in Europe or the USA. and they want the same basic rights.Very understandably to me.

Arab Girl On Cell Phone

What if this social movement is connected and actually only made possible by the role the internet is playing in these uprisings. It is creating the instant link between masses of people expressing their grievances to each other, and thus realizing that they are feeling united in their concerns. The internet then also facilitates the possibility to act upon their grievances by coordinating mass gatherings within hours.

What if we humans are actually changing. What if we are becoming more like birds, growing our wings and our ability to fly into more freedom in these strange times full of so many changes? What if the internet is providing the common link between those of like minds and hearts, just as birds are linked in a collective consciousness driving them to fly thousands of miles into warmer climates, and back into cooler climates. All of this without any discernible leadership.

What if we are seeing these changes in humanity manifest themselves in our young ones? Can we older ones honor them for expressing a new paradigm in their choices? Can we cheer them on and support them in their legitimate demands for free election, no more torture, and an honest body of governance?

Can we trust these new times bringing new ways of being? Ways of focusing on what unites us rather than what separates us?

Asmaa Mahfouz – The videos that fueled the Egyptian Revolution

The Egysptian revolution on January 25th was fueled by a young Egyptian girl, passionately expressing her desire to stand up for human rights and be joined by others in her passion. I am letting her words speak for her without comments.


Here is video vlog of Asmaa Mahfouz describing the mood the nite before Jan 25th.


And here is her vlog on January 26, after the eventful day.



Daring to Dream Again: A Baby Boomer’s Perspective on the Tahrir Square Victory

Tahrir Square on 11FEB2011 by Khaled Elfiqi/EPA

Today on February 11, 2011, we saw Egyptian dictator Mubarak finally step down and make way for the possibility of a democratic government in Egypt after 18 days of full on protests by the young people in Egypt on Tahrir Square. Tahrir mean liberation in Egyptian. And the square is full of people celebrating.

And I am sitting here, feeling tears of relief. Of joy and gratitude. Feeling a hard place in my heart melting. Opening up to trust my dreams again.

As someone who remembers exactly how I felt on the day that John F. Kennedy was shot: listening to it on the radio. Watching my mother being upset. Being 6 years old, not understanding what it was all about, but knowing that it was important. Terribly important.

The days both Martin Luther King and Bobby Kenny were shot: being told by my mother with tears in her eyes when I came into the kitchen for breakfast. Both times. Again not quite comprehending why she cried, but knowing it was important.

All these events have shaped me life, my dreams and my hopes. My generation.

When the Kent State shootings happened on May 4th, 1970. When the squatter movement in Berlin turned violent on May 4, 1987. When the Tiananmen Square Shootings happened in June 4, 1989 and most likely 3000 young people were killed.

I held all these days, all these feelings of defeat, in my heart. A heart heavy with pain and sadness and loss. My hopes shrank. My dreams receded into the safety of the the far future.

Fall of the Berlin Wall 11NOV1989

And then came November 11, 1989, the Fall of the Berlin Wall. I was actually living in Berlin then, but that is another story.

The tide turned. The balance of power started having a new face. I knew then, that political miracles were possible.

In the wildest dreams of the peace movement in the 60s in Germany no one I knew had dared to dream such a peaceful solution to such a monumental problem. A country cut in half. A people cut in two for 28 years.

After months of protest by the young ones of East Germany the wall opened its tightly sealed gates. Without violence. So effortless. So strongly on the side of  what the people wanted. What the young ones dared to dream.

Back to today, another day of victory for the people’s wishes. The wishes of the young ones. The dreamers. The ones full of hope. The bright ones.

Around 50% of the Arab population is under 30 years old. They do not remember all the shootings my generation carries around in our hearts and bellies. Luckily they do not remember. It made them strong in their dreams. Their hopes. In their demands.

Tunisia' s Jasmine Revolution 15JAN2011

Encouraged by their sisters and brothers in Tunesia, who on January 15, 2011 forced Ben Ali to step down after four weeks of daily protests. They call it the Jasmine Revolution.

The youth in Egypt only took 18 days to accomplish the same. Once again, the army sided with the people instead of following the command of the dictators. What a changed world, where even a trained body such as the army is making choices about who they support.

A world where even President Obama congratulates you on ousting a dictator on your terms.

My heart feels so much lighter. So relieved. So much so that I now feel that I too can dare to dream my dreams again. My big dreams.

Not in some far distant future. Not for my children when they are old. But now. Right now and here. Right here.

Thank you, all you young ones. For following your hearts and daring to dream and taking to the streets. For not giving up and thus giving me back my dreams. My dreams about the world I want to live in. My dreams about what is possible. My dreams about who I can be. Thank you all.

Lost Generation Video

Vodpod videos no longer available.

This video was created for the AARP U@50 video contest and placed second.

It is based on the Argentinian Political Advertisement “The Truth” by RECREAR.

Thanks to joezandstra for posting it as a video response. If you would like more info about the video you can find it here.

The two songs are “Mind Things” and “Our Lives, Our Destinies”.

~~~ Check out my new website: A Good Dying ~~~