World Turmoil Escalates

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World Turmoil Escalates

In Afghanistan the concert goes surprisingly well, as security is well equipped and well prepared. The new vitality of the Afghan people is palpable, and many friends are made there, and the Afghan music and culture are contagious! They ride their horses into a large pit, chasing a large leather ball for sport, and there is much laughter and good feeling amongst the Afghans and Westerners.

Meanwhile, the political news continues to deteriorate, especially in the Middle East. Russia now joins the Muslim cry for the destruction of Israel. The world economy is sliding precipitously.

Jim Ryley receives a call from President Pavao. He becomes one of his speechwriters. Throughout the tour, Clay has been communicating with his Dad, through emails and phone calls, and he starts reciting some of his Dad’s poetry as part of the performance.

The poems capture the crowd’s imaginations, because they seem to speak to what is on everyone’s mind during these apocalyptic times.

The intensity of world events escalates with each successive location. The concert in Tibet is stopped in the midst of the first song, because the crowd is chanting for “Dalai Lama.” The performers are unceremoniously escorted back to the airport by Chinese security.

In Africa, there is a fantastic musical synergy, on stage and off, between the Western, Eastern, and African music styles. There is a magic in the air, and an atmosphere of great spiritual and cultural harmony. But the 3-day festival is cut short when Steven Solomon is advised that the neighboring Muslim government is now making believable threats, and that security is just not stable enough there.

As events become politically charged, media reports of war, and threats of war, culminate in an ultimatum to Israel declared by the Organization of the Islamic Conference (in partnership with the now radical Non-Aligned Movement), just prior to the concert in Tel Aviv.