This is the fifth post of Sally O’Dowd’s seven-part, music-inspired series dedicated to free speech in light of the French attacks. Click for: First post/Les Misérables, second post/Bruce Springsteen, third post/Edith Piaf, fourth post/Enigma.

My only love sprung from my only hate!
 Too early seen unknown, and known too late!
–Juliet, a Capulet, upon learning that Romeo is from the rival Montague house

“Who wants to live [life] in trouble and strife?”
–“Young Hearts Run Free,” Kym Mazelle from the 1996 Rome and Juliet movie

“Everybody’s free.”
–Everybody’s free (to feel good),” Quindon Tarver (ibid)

Frank Bernard Dicksee, 1884, . © The Bridgeman Art Gallery.
Frank Bernard Dicksee, 1884, . © The Bridgeman Art Gallery.

No one has written more poetically about love and hate, war and conflict than Shakespeare. It’s hard not to think of The Bard in times of global fear and war against an enemy that the West can’t isolate.

But as we know, in Romeo and Juliet, love triumphs over hate. It would be naïve to think that “love” will mend the the lethal divisions between the West and radical Islamists. But poetry and music provide solace just the same.

As this is the first Monday after the attacks–the first Monday for the remaining members of the Charlie Hebdo team to work together and plan for Wednesay’s much-awaited edition–I offer you two songs from the 1996 Romeo and Juliet movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes. Just seeing these actors when they were so young recalls a time of innocence…or perhaps that is a fantasy, for was there ever one?

“Everybody’s free, everybody’s free, every body’s free to feel good,” sings Quindon Trevor in the movie, as a prophesy for the feeling we all have as we defend free speech.

Triangles_150_LG_PurAs the world rallies to defend Western values on an even grander scale, perhaps we can find solace in these lines, also from the song:

Brother and sister, together, will make it through, oh oh yeah
Someday, a spirit will take you and guide you there
I know, you’ve been hurting, but I’ve been waiting to be there for you
And I’ll be there, just helping you out whenever I can

Triangles_150_SM_orAnd let’s not forget the movie’s pluralistic party scene, complete with a drag queen, as Kim Mazelle sings, “Young Hearts Run Free.”

It’s high time now just one crack at life
Who wants to live it in trouble and strife
My mind must be free to learn all I can about me, oooh
I’m gonna love me for the rest of my days

Enjoy the songs, and have a good week.

–Sally O’Dowd is a former journalist who has founded Sally On Media, a company providing business strategy and integrated marketing services.

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