There are concerts. And there are concerts…

It seemed to me like light and darkness were either fighting for dominance -- or kissing each other like long-lost siblings reared worlds apart -- as I was preparing to go back to shore from possibly my last visit to the Rainbow Warrior this fateful Saturday.  Twilight shards played with the sky and with the ocean, spreading the colors of the fabled Manila Bay sunset in apparent salute to the vessel that carries this visual spirit in its very name.

There is a legend from a native North American tribe which foretells a time when the Earth grows sick, and that when it does, a tribe will gather from all the cultures of the World who believe in deeds and not words,  “they will work to heal it...and they will be known as the ‘Warriors of the Rainbow.’”

I feel that this vessel, this flagship of Greenpeace, carries with it the spirit of various Warriors (both the people and the original ship).  I also know that, though the time for it to possibly physically merge with the ocean and the earth draws near, its cause and its spirit will be carried over to the new vessel. For the Warrior has proven that it is a powerful phoenix…its fire continuing to burn and spread in the hearts of beings who seek to heal the Earth, never really dying as long as there is a fight left to fight.

I cannot help but feel poignant emotions as I walk the bridge, as if gliding among spirits and revolutions past – ghosts that sail not just memory, but through a thread that binds us all into a future uncertain…unless our generation is triumphant in our cause…

“Turn the Tide.”  It speaks of sailing against the wind, of convincing the very elements to change course to alter the fate of the world, of going on an uphill battle.  Aboard this campaigning ship, I now understand that we are not just campaigners, but soldiers of the elements sent by the Earth to try to stem the flow of man-made climate change.  A daunting task, but the presence of the Rainbow Warrior makes victory seem like it was almost imminent, when just days ago it felt a lifetime away.  The ship has that effect.  And part of me feels bad that a number of Rainbow Warriors and Energy Revolutionaries massing in the Barangay Greenpeace Year (BGY) 10 event on Manila Bay’s shores would not get to feel these positive vibrations from up close.

But as the ship becomes a silhouette in the horizon and the BGY 10 looms closer with our inflatable boat’s approach, I know that the ripples of the Warrior’s essence is just as potent here and even beyond.

The concert stage is a sight to see. A few days ago, I wouldn’t have thought that we could have such a magnificent set-up of lights, music and visuals.  I wouldn’t have thought that we could get such a stellar line-up of performers: Noel Cabangon, Dong Abay, Sammy Asuncion, Paul Zialcita, Coffeebreak Island, Reggae Mistress, Lady-I, Tanya Markova, The Late Isabel, Count Kutu & the Balmers, Sidhi, Tropical Depression, Cosmic Love, and even the reggae icon from Indonesia, Tony Q.

But there it is: a feast of sight and sound. It wasn’t just a concert. And it wasn’t just campaign speeches in between. But it was a real, solid merging of music and movement and message. On stage, the performers breathe fresh life into our campaign messages.  Environmentalist and consumerism critic Annie Leonard once said that to be understood well, one should “speak from where the listener is at, not from where you’re at.”  And I think, if she were in Manila this night, she would have been very proud.  We did not just speak from where these folks were sitting, but these folks were actually speaking, singing and swaying along with us.  It was like watching a large flotilla of boats on the seas of Maasim moving together on the waves as one.

In any successful campaign advance (in war or in [green]peace), troops are usually kept informed, kept in cadence, and are kept inspired by musicians who are in charge of keeping the rhythm and the mission constant in the hearts of advancing troops.  These superb musicians are not just artists, but they are true-blue Rainbow Warriors who are leading the charge…

For those who are about to rock…the Earth salutes you!