Thursday, October 1, 2015

Military justice is to justice what military music is to music?

 The often-quoted “Military justice is to justice what military music is to music” is attributed to George Clémenceau, a French statesman who led France during the First World War and was one of the principal architects of the Treaty of Versailles.  What he meant by this is that : “ La justice militaire n’est pas la justice, la musique militaire n’est pas la musique. »

Yet, the Top Secret Drum Corps, from Basel, Switzerland which performed at the 2012 Edinburgh Tattoo, and which is made up of 25 non-military drummers and color guard members, have shown that military music can produce beauty of form, rhythm, harmony and expression of emotion as real music is supposed to do.  All of which played by civilians not members of the military. 

The challenge now is to bring military justice everywhere with the same amalgam of melody, harmony, rhythm, timbre, structure and occasional silence with increased participation by civilian members of society to challenge this enduring citation by Clémenceau.

1 comment:

  1. Actually the quote should be attributed to Robert Sherrill who titled his book (Military Justice is to Justice as Military Music is to Music, (New York: Harper & Row, 1969), pertaining mainly on the harsh conditions of US military prisons in Camp Pendleton, CA (USMC) and Presidio Stockade Prison (US Army) (where a mutiny took place on Oct 14, 1968 after a guard shot a prisoner). Sherill summarized Clémenceau's quote, which in full included a first portion that we often omit: "It suffices to add 'military' to a word for it to lose its meaning. Thus military justice [...]" or in French "Il suffit d'ajouter "militaire" à un mot pour lui faire perdre sa signification. Ainsi la justice militaire[...]."


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