Media Put the Cat Out
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Seventies music to me was the best of what I dreamed of. It gave me a sense of relation to the world. I was drawn in like a moth to light through the emotion and meaning hidden in the lyrics.

I was thinking about the old days when I was hit with a moment of sobering and sad reflection after reading an article in the December 8 issue of Fort Collins' Forum. Trena Anastasia has words of wisdom imploring others, in a broad sense, to watch what they say. Her article is titled, "A We-Mage of Respect" not an "I-Mage of Respect," which impressed me. We all need to take stock of the word respect. She states, "We must as a united people, present ourselves as a nation that respects the perspectives of others. We have to listen and care."

Recollection of an incident in February of 1989 flickered. The media released a spurious headline that all but ruined the life of a great musician and dammed the flow of useful stories in his meaningful lyrics.

We may not agree with others’ perspectives and perception of life, but we have an obligation to discern when and where to utilize our "freedom of speech." Having rights through the First Amendment does not give us the right to barrage others with our opinion in hurtful and negative ways.

Remember Cat Stevens? He said, "The problem with a society that believes in absolute freedom is that they're living in a dream, because there is no such thing. There has never been a time when people haven't been compelled to follow certain rules. They've forgotten that along with freedom must come responsibility, and liberation is a different word from freedom."

Yes, that musician I speak of is Cat Stevens. He is a living legend in the world of music. I am not musically inclined and frankly haven't listened to much music since those days. I think maybe because the heart and soul I related to disappeared when Cat did.

He had become a convert to Islam and was harangued over it universally. From then to 1995, he was out of the music world and others, like myself, really missed him. He kept busy during those sixteen years enriching the Muslim world with his presence by building schools and spearheading charity efforts, and he's writing and performing music again.

However, Cat is still haunted by that fateful report in a now defunct newspaper, "Unfortunately the monstrous myth it created still survives." (May 2003)

Cat Stevens, known as Yusaf Islam since 1989, in his own words says, "The Life Of The Last Prophet(s) is mine! Rushdie's book, by his own confession, is based on fiction - mine is based on facts! Therefore people are free; they now have a choice, so let them listen and see who they are more inclined to believe. That is all I wish to say on that matter."

We must respect the perspective of others and follow rules, be responsible and discerning if we are to be truly free and liberated from our own misconceptions especially. More words of wisdom come to mind spoken by Don Miguel Ruiz in his book titled, "The Four Agreements," which are, "Be impeccable with your word." It's as simple as that. Say what you mean and mean what you say, and please give it some thought before you say it, keeping things in the proper context, because first there was the Word, and the word is God, no matter what book you get it from. Get on the Peace Train.

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