Sunday, 15 May 2011

My land's only borders lie around my heart!

From the musical Chess

No man, no madness —
Though their sad power may prevail —
Can possess, conquer, my country’s heart;
They rise to fail!

She is eternal;
Long before nations’ lines were drawn,
When no flags flew, when no armies stood,
My land was born!

And you ask me why I love her,
Through wars, death, and despair.
She is the constant,
We who don’t care.

And you ask me would I leave her — But how?
I cross over borders, but I’m still there now!

How can I leave her?
Where would I start?
Let man’s petty nations tear themselves apart!
My land’s only borders lie around my heart!

Such beautiful patriotic lyrics from Tim Rice's musical Chess, which tells the tale of a world chess championship between the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Yet in my humble, Anarchist opinion, at least a couple of this song's lines are somehow compatible with Anarchism's views of the world! Consider the following:
  • “…Long before nations’ lines were drawn, When no flags flew, when no armies stood…”
These two lines hark back to a "pre-state" time, when none of the attributes of modern states existed, in which the song's protagonist, chess player Anatoly Sergievsky's “eternal … land was born!”

In all fairness, the song is apolitical — dare I say rather anti-political. Consider Anatoly's “country’s heart”, which he declares is something that “No man, no madness … Can possess, conquer”. That's not to say that “their sad power” can't prevail elsewhere, though; as far as Anatoly's concerned, “Let man’s petty nations tear themselves apart!”

Nonetheless, the final, heart-rendering line reads:
  • “My land’s only borders lie around my heart!”
…by which the protagonist completely disregards the political borders men “tear themselves apart” over, in favour of his own heart-felt sentiments towards “her”, his land. And Anarchism has nothing against sentiments of belonging. Afterall, “She is the constant”, whom the chess player loves “Through wars, death, and despair”. And even though he does “cross over borders”, he's nevertheless “still there now!”


Balkan Ⓐnarchist said...

This blog post above is inspired by Jai McDowall's performance of this song on ITV's show Britain's Got Talent!

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