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The power of crowds
Even before the pandemic, mass gatherings were under threat from draconian laws and corporate seizure of public space. Yet history shows that the crowd always finds a way to return. By Dan Hancox
As lockdown loomed in March, I became obsessed with a football anthem for a team 400 miles away. I had read a news story about Edinburgh residents singing a Proclaimers song called Sunshine on Leith from their balconies. I didn’t know the song, and when I looked it up, I found a glorious video of 26,000 Hibernian fans singing it in a sun-drenched Hampden Park, after a long-hoped-for Scottish Cup win in 2016. Both teams had left the pitch, and the Rangers’ half of the stadium was empty. It looked like a concert in which the fans were simultaneously the performer and the audience.
I was entranced. I watched it again, and again. The sight and sound of this collective joy was transcendent: tens of thousands of green-and-white scarves held aloft, everyone belting out the song at the tops of their lungs. When the crowd hits the chorus, the volume levels on the shaky smartphone video blow their limit, exploding into a delirious roar of noise. I thought of something that one of the leaders of the nationwide “Tuneless Choirs” – specifically for people who can’t sing – once said: “If you get enough people singing together, with enough volume, it always sounds good.” Our individual failings are submerged; we become greater than the sum of our meagre parts. Anthems sung alone sound thin and absurd – think of the spectacle of a pop star bellowing the Star-Spangled Banner at the Super Bowl. Anthems need the warmth of harmony, or even the chafing of dissonance. They need the full sound of bodies brushing up against each other in pride, joy or righteousness. Continue reading... https://bit.ly/3eK8TbV
Intelligence chief Mustafa al-Kadhimi is regarded as being acceptable to both US and Iran
Iraqi lawmakers have approved a new prime minister and government after six months without one as parties squabbled until the last minute over cabinet seats in backroom deals.
The new prime minister, Mustafa al-Kadhimi, Iraq’s intelligence chief and a former journalist, will head the new government. He will begin his term without a full cabinet, however, after several ministerial candidates were rejected. Continue reading... https://bit.ly/2WDaetH
Investors want to know what kind of economic hit General Motors Co expects from the coronavirus pandemic as it moves forward, whether it needs to raise further cash and when North American vehicle production will resume when it reports first-quarter results on Wednesday. https://reut.rs/2W963Xa
President Nicolas Maduro claims men were among 13 ‘terrorists’ involved in plot to enter country via the coast and oust him
Venezuelan authorities have detained two US citizens allegedly working with a US military veteran who has claimed responsibility for a failed armed incursion into the oil-producing country, President Nicolas Maduro said on Monday.
In a state television address, Maduro said authorities arrested 13 “terrorists” on Monday allegedly involved in a plot he said was coordinated with Washington to enter the South American country via the Caribbean coast and oust him. Continue reading... https://bit.ly/2zeUTHm