RUSH's GEDDY LEE: 'I Stand With Ukraine'

October 10, 2022

RUSH's Geddy Lee has recorded a video message in support of Canadian luthier Linda Manzer who built a sunflower-themed guitar as a fundraiser to raise money for refugees from Ukraine. The guitar is travelling around North American and Europe, passing hand to hand among musicians, and will eventually reach Ukraine.

Earlier today, Geddy shared the video on his Instagram, and he included the following message: "There are so many times in this life when world events seem overwhelming and leave us asking, 'what can we, as individuals do?' Well, of course the answer is ..'whatever you can'. Highly respected Canadian luthier Linda Manzer has done exactly that. By producing a gorgeous sounding 'Sunflower Guitar' which since has been endorsed and placed in the hands of so many talented guitarists in order to help spread awareness of the terrible struggle facing the people of Ukraine, and also as a vehicle to raise funds. A perfect example of helping others by doing what one does best. Help fight the good fight and donate in support of Ukraine.

"Please donate whatever you can to support Ukrainian families at"

Manzerreportedly built the Sunflower Guitar in 29 days and originally, planned to auction the guitar or offer it as a raffle prize. She has since revealed plans to give the guitar to Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelenskyy as a present and "continue to fundraise with it until that actually happens."

The guitar has its own web site, Facebook page, and YouTube channel, where musicians can post their video clips, be they music or just their thoughts on Ukraine.

"Music is kind of this universal language that is a link between everybody of all political stripes," Manzer told Ottawa Citizen. "It's not so much about this guitar now, it's a symbol that people can hold in their hands and they can play it or talk about. It's their moment to say what they want to say or to be involved."

Last April, RUSH guitarist Alex Lifeson was asked in an interview with Steve Black of the Detroit radio station WRIF for his thoughts about what was happening in Ukraine. He responded: "This thing that's going on in Ukraine right now is much more difficult to handle [than the pandemic]. I am just so heartbroken and I am so sick of watching these images. In 2022, what's happening in a sovereign country by the Russians, who are… You can't blame all the Russians. [Russian president Vladimir] Putin has plans, and he's gotta be stopped. It's come to the point where this is no longer acceptable in any manner, and we've gotta either be willing to sacrifice for the sake of the world than let someone like this do what he's doing and he will continue doing it because we're letting him get away with it."

Lifeson, whose parents were Serbian immigrants from Yugoslavia, previously discussed the situation in Ukraine earlier that same month in a separate interview with Regina-Leader Post. At the time, he said: "When this all started happening a month ago, my mother said it was so shocking to her because she remembered when the Nazis came into her town in Serbia very early in the (Second World War) and how terrified they were and how brutal they were. It just seemed to go on and on and on. Then finally the Russians came and got rid of the Germans … and they were quite brutal in a different way. Any invading army is. We could say what the Americans did in Iraq was just as brutal as what we're seeing. But this is so seemingly uncalled for, so medieval and so wrong in so many ways.

"It's heartbreaking to see what happened and the frustrations of not being able to do something about it," Alex continued. "The politics that goes on behind closed doors that we don't know about between the major leaders of countries around the world — we have no idea. Everyone just says, 'Thoughts and prayers,' but what's that? It never amounts to anything. It's so hollow. But it's hard to know. Do we react emotionally and get involved in a level where it could lead to the end of the planet? I don't think it would ever get to that point. I don't think Putin is that dumb. I don't think he'd destroy Russia for one thing — along with the rest of the world. Or do we just keep trying to figure out to stop it? I don't know. It's a difficult issue."

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