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Holding Hands

30 minutes
First broadcast:
Sunday 16 June 2013

John McCarthy reflects on the significance of holding hands as an act of trust, commitment, unity and love between fellow human beings.

John interviews retired academic physician Professor Tony Pinching who had major involvement with HIV/AIDS and CFS/ME patients. Tony talks about the significance of the first handshake when a doctor meets a patient for the first time, and also about the special place holding hands can have at the end of a patient's life.

Ambassador Mart Tarmak describes the peaceful protest of 1989, which became known as the Baltic Way, when around two million people joined hands to form a human chain spanning 600 kilometres across the Baltic States of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. As the people held hands, they sang. These countries were granted their independence from the Soviet Union shortly afterwards.

The programme includes readings of poetry by Sarah Kay and Adrian Mitchell, and Sharon Olds' poem True Love. There's music from Stream of Sound, Ray Charles and Nina Simone, and John Martyn sings May you Never.

Readers: Rachel Atkins and George Irving

Produced by Rosie Boulton
A Whistledown production for BBC Radio 4.

Music Played

6 items
  • Image for Gustav Ernesaks

    Gustav Ernesaks Mu Isamaa On Minu Arm (My Country Is My Love)

    Performers: Combined Choirs, Ants Üleoya

    Erdenklang, B001PEGI3S

  • Image for Trad / John Tamms arranged Caroline Price

    Trad / John Tamms arranged Caroline Price Lay Me Low

    Performers: Stream of Sound

    Time and Tide, SOS06

  • Image for Ray Charles

    Ray Charles Baby Let Me Hold Your Hand

    Ray Charles Vol 2, Marathon Media International Ltd., B001O4J1W4

  • Image for John Martyn

    John Martyn May You Never

    The Very Best of John Martyn, Island Records, B001TK3GQU

  • Image for Richard Thompson

    Richard Thompson Hand of Kindness

    Hand of Kindness, Ryko/Rhino, B001RY2AM4

  • Image for Nina Simone

    Nina Simone He's Got the Whole World in His Hands

    The Very Best of Nina Simone, Pacific

  • Readings

    Title: Hands
    Author: Sarah Kay
    Publication: Unpublished
    This is a performed poem which can be found at www.kaysarahsera.com/about
    This was Sarah Kay’s Keynote Address at the International Baccalaureate Regional Conference for Africa, Europe, and the Middle East on the “Culture of Learning.”

    Title: True Love
    Author: Sharon Olds
    Publisher: Cape Poetry
    Publication: The Wellspring in 1996
    ISBN-10: 022404351X
    ISBN-13: 978-0224043519

    Title: Beattie is Three
    Author: Adrian Mitchell
    Publication: Blue Coffee: Poems 1985 - 1996
    Publisher: Bloodaxe Books 1996
    ISBN: Out of Print


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