It's all over the news that Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny returned to Moscow today and was immediately detained by the police. I saw a look of such deeply profound sadness in his wife's eyes that was almost unbearable to witness. Back in 2011, he spoke on a radio show in Russia and described Vladimir Putin's government as the Party of Crooks and Thieves. That phrase caught on like wildfire across the nation and beyond.
That was the year I wrote a song every day about things happening in the world, but I missed what was going on in Russia. I have a feeling, his story will make it into Project Undeniable 2021. This man is definitely one for the history books, but today I am concerned that as I sit reasonably comfortably in my drafty old flat in England, he is suffering untold physical or mental pain right now... in this very moment and if I'm worried about this total stranger, how much more does the woman with the sad eyes feel for him right now?
Our nation is on lockdown due to COVID-19. It's the third national lockdown and for some reason I seem to be struggling a little more than I did the other times. One moment, I'm perfectly fine, then for no apparent reason, I'm feeling a sudden rush of sadness or tearfulness, then it fades and I'm okay again. I suppose a lot of us are feeling sad, anxious, depressed or angry at something or other that's happening in the world.
My hope is that the songs I write and sing will help even just a few people feel a little better for a little while. Be sure to go outside and walk around when you can... create something... learn something... find a sense of purpose because your life matters to somebody, even if you don't know it.
As for Alexei Navalny, there's nothing any of us can do for him today, but the manner in which he's chosen to live his life has inspired, uplifted and encouraged a songwriter who was feeling a little too isolated to stop moping and sit down to write a few lines about crooks and thieves.