Monday, December 28, 2009

A Song for Humanity: Peace at Christmastime by Tina Micula

World War I - late December 1914, German, French and British troops disobeyed their superior officers, crossed enemy lines and celebrated Christmas together, the Christmas Truce of 1914.

It was a silent night, holy night.

Peace at Christmastime, an original song by Tina Micula


How many of you know about the Christmas Truce of 1914, when, in late December, Christmas Eve to be exact, German troops spontaneously began putting up Christmas decorations in and around their trenches near Ypres, Belgium.

The war, which had begun in August, had already become a bloody debacle of grinding, devouring trench warfare, causing even Pope Benedict XV, in early December, to press for an official Christmas truce.

To quote from Wikipedia, the Pope asked that "the guns may fall silent at least upon the night the angels sang." (source) His pleas fell on the deaf ears of the German, French and British governments, but apparently not on all of the grunts in the trenchs, because it is reported that some 100,000 British and German troops were involved in unofficial ceasefires that Winter.

The German soldiers near Ypres began their Christmas Eve "disobedience" by putting candles on trees and then began "singing Christmas carols, most notably Stille Nacht (Silent Night). The British troops in the trenches across from them responded by singing English carols." (source)

To again quote from Wikipedia:
The two sides continued by shouting Christmas greetings to each other. Soon thereafter, there were calls for visits across the "No Man's Land" where small gifts, were exchanged, such as whisky, jam, cigarettes, and chocolate. The artillery in the region fell silent that night. The truce also allowed a breathing spell where recently-fallen soldiers could be brought back behind their lines by burial parties. Proper burials took place as soldiers from both sides mourned the dead together and paid their respects. In many sectors, the truce lasted through Christmas night, but in some areas, it continued until New Year's Day. (source)

British Headquarters was so incensed that they laid down strict orders against fraternizing with the enemy. On future Christmas Eves, artillery bombardments were ordered to dampen any sense of peace and brotherhood, and troop rotations from sector to sector were introduced to avoid bonds of familiarity from developing between longtime foes, afraid perhaps that masses of soldiers would wake up and ask, "Why are we part of this sheer insanity?" Generally enlisted men are propagandized into believing that war is glorious, romantic and patriotic, a way to get the girls, and on and on, and then they find out what it is really like - stinking, heart-wrenching, dehumanizing and soul-shattering as you crush the life out of your fellow man, or have it crushed out of you. That is not to say that some don't become intoxicated with war. Corporal Adolf Hitler was a good example.

And of course the cheer-leading politicians who engender these wretched wars seldom, at least these days, have to experience any of the horrors of war personally, but only vicariously on TV or the Internet.

No, combat life in the trenches, in the green jungles, urban jungles or sand dunes is ugly, brutish and cruel.

Here is an excerpt from a remarkable letter written by an anonymous British soldier about the 1914 Christmas Truce:

This will be the most memorable Christmas I've ever spent or likely to spend: since about tea time yesterday I don't think there's been a shot fired on either side up to now. Last night turned a very clear frost moonlight night, so soon after dusk we had some decent fires going and had a few carols and songs. The Germans commenced by placing lights all along the edge of their trenches and coming over to us—wishing us a Happy Christmas etc.
They also gave us a few songs etc. so we had quite a social party. Several of them can speak English very well so we had a few conversations. Some of our chaps went to over to their lines. I think they've all come back bar one from 'E' Co. They no doubt kept him as a souvenir. In spite of our fires etc. it was terribly cold and a job to sleep between look out duties, which are two hours in every six.
First thing this morning it was very foggy. So we stood to arms a little longer than usual. A few of us that were lucky could go to Holy Communion early this morning. It was celebrated in a ruined farm about 500 yds behind us. I unfortunately couldn't go. There must be something in the spirit of Christmas as to day we are all on top of our trenches running about. Whereas other days we have to keep our heads well down. We had breakfast about 8.0 which went down alright especially some cocoa we made. We also had some of the post this morning.

I had a parcel from B. G's Lace Dept containing a sweater, smokes, under clothes etc. We also had a card from the Queen, which I am sending back to you to look after please. After breakfast we had a game of football at the back of our trenches! We've had a few Germans over to see us this morning. They also sent a party over to bury a sniper we shot in the week. He was about a 100 yds from our trench. A few of our fellows went out and helped to bury him.

About 10.30 we had a short church parade the morning service etc. held in the trench. How we did sing. 'O come all ye faithful. And While shepherds watched their flocks by night' were the hymns we had. At present we are cooking our Christmas Dinner! so will finish this letter later.

Dinner is over! and well we enjoyed it. Our dinner party started off with fried bacon and dip-bread: followed by hot Xmas Pudding. I had a mascot in my piece. Next item on the menu was muscatels and almonds, oranges, bananas, chocolate etc followed by cocoa and smokes. You can guess we thought of the dinners at home. Just before dinner I had the pleasure of shaking hands with several Germans: a party of them came 1/2 way over to us so several of us went out to them. I exchanged one of my balaclavas for a hat. I've also got a button off one of their tunics. We also exchanged smokes etc. and had a decent chat. They say they won't fire tomorrow if we don't so I suppose we shall get a bit of a holiday—perhaps. After exchanging autographs and them wishing us a Happy New Year we departed and came back and had our dinner. (source)


Tina Micula Rises to the Occasion

Against this World War I backdrop, plus the ongoing horrors of the almost decade long "War on Terror" which has seen thousands of American and NATO or Coalition troops maimed and slain, not to mention tens of thousands of resistance fighters and hundreds of thousands of civilians wounded, slaughtered, driven insane or displaced, one local Hampton Roads, Virginia singer/songwriter, Tina Micula, decided to make a statement for peace.

About a month ago she decided to create a video that would retell, in song, the touching story, recounted above, of war-weary German, French and British soldiers making their own temporary peace. Through an amazing array of volunteers, some of whom put in many long hours, this powerful musical message of peace and humanity is now done, and ready to be spread around the world. If the powers that be don't want peace, then the bulk of the grassroots who have to perform, or have their children perform the wanton killing do. They are tired of having their chains jerked into hating and brutalizing their fellow man in these new and infernal, seemingly eternal wars of geopolitical gamesmanship masquerading as "ensuring the peace" or "defending the homeland" thousands of miles away. Forget the ideologues and cynics who want nothing but suffering. It is time to open our voices globally and sing songs for and of peace.

More about Tina Micula:

Tina Micula was born in New York City. The first six years of her life were spent traveling the world due to her father's career with the United Nations. She graduated from Lehman College, City University of New York with a B.A. in Psychology and a M.S. in Special Education. She has lived in Norfolk for the past twenty years where she has taught and tutored at Old Dominion University, produced her self-titled CD and taught songwriting in Norfolk and Virginia Beach Public Schools.

She says, "Music has always been important in my life. I remember singing songs as a little girl. Since my family traveled a lot, we were constantly singing songs on long road trips. I loved to sing. I got a guitar from my sister when I was about fifteen and started plunking out tunes. Early musical influences include Joni Mitchell, Carly Simon, and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. Bob Dylan is my favorite songwriter. I think his lyrics are brilliant. I think those early influences molded me as a songwriter."

As of late, Tina has lent her songwriting talents to help the homeless.

writing and performing "God's Hands and Feet" for the Norfolk Homeless Vigil held annually. She performs at retirement and nursing homes and co-writes songs with children and adults.

She wrote the song "New Road" which captured the inspirational story of the New Road Community, a struggling African American community on the Eastern shore of Virginia. and performed it with the incomparable St. Mary's choir.

I see music as a vehicle that can heal, inspire and change people for the better. One thing I love doing is performing at nursing homes and watching the miracle of music at work. I love to make my live performances as interactive as possible. It makes it more fun for me and the audience.

Most recently Tina has started a program called Melodyville, which focuses on songwriting with children. Her first self-titled CD is available at She is working on her second CD.

Her newest undertaking is this song and video Peace at Christmastime. The audio version will be available for purchase around New Year's at: , where you can also buy her first CD right now if you desire, entitled, simply, Tina Micula.

1 comment:

  1. What no comments??? Jeez Louie! Y'all cover the BALL! Oh that was last night sorry, when our Saints sucked Popish Penis in the Sacredome.
    But yea, this is a fine piece of work.
    I enjoy it the more I watch and listen to it.
    Nice editing work, Mac.
    But you know I doubt the Afghans share the same Holiday Spirit don't'cha know? But then again, the do play soccer.
    Whadda forking woild.
    And the Saints gave it to a 2-whateva team from Florida for God'sakes. I'm tollin'ya.
    But thanks youz, Mac, for hipping the Ladder to this video.
    Editilla~New Orleans Ladder


Feel free to comment but keep it civil or your comment will be exiled to the voids of cyberspace.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.