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Remembering a friend today

Today is my light blog day (Wednesday) and it will be even lighter as a result of commitments I had today. Earlier, I attended a funeral for a great person – Tuấn Nguyễn Văn – who died last week in his home of Auckland. He is known to many Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) people for his relentless pursuit of politicians who continually do not tell the people the truth about the policy options, and, instead, impose material costs on the least-able to defend themselves against unemployment, low pay, precarious work, cuts in public services, degraded infrastructure and more. He was a really nice person and I am so glad I was able to meet him personally earlier in the year. So I decided not to write anything more than that today by way of blog post writing and took the time attending his funeral to reflect a bit on lost souls who were valued and precious. Some appropriate music follows.

Music – A tribute to a departed friend

I was listening to Stan Getz this morning.

But today’s music is a tribute to my friend Tuấn Nguyễn Văn, who was cremated today in Auckland.

The final music they played for the final tributes was this song from the incomparable – Édith Piaf – who everybody knows about.

This song – Non, je ne regrette rien – was published in 1960 and was a hit at that time.

It was a very political song at the time of the Algerian War, although what it was actually referring to is contested in the literature. Many think that it a song from the defeated French Legion who had slaughtered Algerians who were trying to break free of the Colonial yoke. Others, claim it referred to the also failed putsch by some French generals who rejected De Gaulle’s decision to leave Algeria to the Algerians.

But for some reason Tuấn and/or his family chose it as his final musical gesture, so I honour that.

See ya later mate!

That is enough for today!

(c) Copyright 2020 William Mitchell. All Rights Reserved.

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    This Post Has 8 Comments
    1. Deepest condolences on the loss of your friend.
      “Non, je ne regrette rien” is a powerful song I have long enjoyed. I had no idea of its political nature that you describe Bill. Certainly the Algerian war and its aftermath were very difficult for the French and obviously the Algerians, brutally tortured and massacred by the French military. I lived in Nice in the south of France in 1966-67 and went to Lycée there as a young teenager. Many of my classmates were the children of the one million French people expelled from Algeria only a few years before.
      With respect to the song the words do not allude to anything obviously political but rather the desire of a person who has had a hard life, as Edith Piaf did, to begin anew and forget past personal (relationship) disappointments. The last sentence says: ”My life begins with you” (”Ma vie commence avec toi”).
      I presume your departed friend spoke french and the family wanted a powerful song that evoked a new beginning.

    2. Bill, I also send my condolences at this sad time….
      But as a New Zealand citizen and MMT advocate I have no knowledge of him?
      Are there any links I could follow to understand.
      Thank you.

    3. Thanks, Bill — that’s a very touching tribute. Tuấn was a lovely man — he and I met up here in Auckland several times and had some great discussions around MMT and related issues. There are not many of us in this part of the world — he’ll be sorely missed.

      William — Tuấn was an activist and keen photographer amongst other things ( Whereabouts in NZ are you based? Perhaps a new connection can come of this.

    4. Bill, my condolences. I agree with Keith Newman that using the song might have hearkened for a new beginning rather than an end, sad as that must have been.

      I like this video of Edit Piaf singing the song with Charles Dumont, one of its composers, at the piano from c1961. Link: The quality isn’t great but it appears to be in a French cafe/bar. And thank you, Maria, for the English version sung by Piaf herself.

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