Come all you at home with Freedom – Italian Chapel – Karine Polwart

During the last war, a number of Italians who were captured in Orkney were held prisoner on an uninhabited island.   They were allowed to construct a chapel from waste materials and raised funds by putting on a dance band. 70 years after the end of the War the chapel is still there.  They prisoners were popular, some never left.

Our islands are a better place because they were here.

I was thrilled when people sent me this link to Karine Polwart singing the ‘Freedom Call Ye’ there on a bleak Orkney day.

John_MacLean_passport
John McLean

The song celebrates John McLean, the great international socialist who was one of the last people to be imprisoned in the dungeons of Edinburgh Castle.

At his trial for sedition he said,

“I wish no harm to any human being, but I, as one man, am going to exercise my freedom of speech. No human being on the face of the earth, no government is going to take from me my right to speak, my right to protest against wrong, my right to do everything that is for the benefit of mankind. I am not here, then, as the accused; I am here as the accuser of capitalism dripping with blood from head to foot.”

He died because he gave his coat to a homeless man. As a result he  caught a that aggravated his TB.

The song says that when he comes again, there will be an end to injustice in this country and unnecessary foreign wars. ‘Scotland the Brave’ will no longer be heard as an imperial anthem but as a song of peace.

Everyone who is at home with freedom is welcome in Scotland. It is to our shame that so much of the response of our politicians to what has been happening is the exact opposite of activity that builds hope and reconciliation.

Independence Now.

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