‘Why must we go on hating?’ Yusuf Islam honors Christchurch victims with his classics

Yusuf Islam is also known as Cat Stevens. (AFP)
Updated 29 March 2019

‘Why must we go on hating?’ Yusuf Islam honors Christchurch victims with his classics

  • One of the songs he performed was his 1971 smash “Peace Train”
  • The Muslim singer recalled worshipping at Masjid Al Noor, one of the targeted mosques, in December of 2017

British singer-songwriter Yusuf Islam delivered an emotional performance of some of his hit songs on Friday, as part of New Zealand’s National Remembrance Service in Christchurch.

Islam, who is also known as Cat Stevens, took to a makeshift stage at Hagley Park, where some 20,000 people gathered to honor victims of the March 15 terrorist attack in Christchurch that killed 50 worshippers.

One of the songs he performed was his 1971 smash “Peace Train,” which had lines like: "Now I've been crying lately, thinking about the world as it is. Why must we go on hating? Why can't we live in bliss?"

In an interview with a local media outlet, the Muslim singer recalled worshipping at Masjid Al Noor, one of the targeted mosques, in December of 2017, where he ended his “Peace Train” 50th anniversary tour.

He could still remember some of the faces of those at the memorial service, he said.

“As a city I remember a peaceful, orderly place and very nice people and suddenly this monster enters the fray and starts shooting and picks his target,” Islam told local media company Stuff, while noting the “incredible backlash of kindness and love and unity” from the public, especially from people in New Zealand.

“The government rarely does anything of any importance in the aftermath. Here (New Zealand) the story is different… The way in which the indigenous population is part of the culture and is preserved, honored and respected. You don't see that in the US,” Islam, who is presumably one of the most prominent Muslims in the West, said.

Asked about how he ended up doing the performance, Islam said: “I haven't done that much recently. We got the invitation from Prime Minister's office. It was like, 'wow' this is a big step, but it's one I've got to take. We need to be here.”

The 70-year-old singer was joined on stage by double-bassist Bruce Lynch.

One attendee took a video of the performance:

 


China raises flood alert to second highest level

Updated 12 July 2020

China raises flood alert to second highest level

  • Regional flooding in the Poyang county of Jiangxi has made water levels of China’s Lake Poyang surge to above 22.52 meters
BEIJING/SINGAPORE: China on Sunday raised its flood response alert to the second highest grade as downpours continued to batter regions along the Yangtze River, with the eastern provinces of Jiangsu and Jiangxi among the worst hit, state media reported.
Regional flooding in the Poyang county of Jiangxi has made water levels of China’s Lake Poyang, its biggest freshwater lake, surge to above 22.52 meters, a historical high and well above the alert level of 19.50 meters.
By Saturday evening, provincial military authorities had dispatched thousands of soldiers to help bolster nearly 9 km (6 miles) of the lake’s banks to prevent them from bursting, state television said.
China has a four-tier flood control emergency response system, with level one representing the most severe.
Citing data from the Ministry of Water Resources, 212 rivers have since early July exceeded alerting levels including 19 of them rising to historical highs.
China has blamed extreme weather conditions as a result of climate change for the torrential rain that has since June hit large swathes of the country and caused over 60 billion yuan ($8.57 billion) of economic losses.