The paternal grandparents of Bob Dylan, Zigma and Anna Zimmerman, native to Odessa, Ukraine, immigrated to America in search of freedom and progress. An anti-Semitic massacre had thrown them out in 1905. His maternal grandparents, Benjamin and Lybba Edelstein, emigrated from Lithuania in 1902.
Abram Zimmerman and Beatrice Stone, father of the laureate singer with the Nobel Peace Prize, lived and suffered the rigors of the Great Depression and World War II, in the midst of which Dylan was born in Duluth, Minnesota, as Robert Allen, in 1941. The withdrawn child grew up in deep Midwest America listening to the radio. He began to observe the contradictions of American society. The United States became a dominant superpower, with material prosperity never seen before. He wrote his first songs to the rhythm of blues and country and later rock and roll.
Pioneer of the social protester, Dylan produced his major compositions in the turbulent decade of the ’60s. Puritanism and sexual liberation. A booming middle class and the opulence of great capital. Unparalleled freedom and racial discrimination. Internal democracy and support for Latin American dictators. Full democracy and the Vietnam War. Social cohesion and the assassination of John and Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King. These contradictions were recognized by the young twenty-something.
The democratic processes of American society were correcting their paradoxes. President Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act in 1964. President Nixon resigned in 1974.
Americans strengthened their rule of law and led the technology revolution. President Clinton announced the human genome sequence. The society has become more egalitarian, but new contradictions arise that are also going to be overcome, as they have many times since the 13 colonies gained independence from imperial Britain in 1776. Obama is the president.
The songs of Bob Dylan have contributed to creating the new boom of everything good that American democracy has. Human rights must become the pre-eminent element of international relations. Paraphrasing Joaquin Sabina, welcome the Dylan Nobel Prize.
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