In the Autumn of 2018 a magnificent site emerged in Barnes Park. A small but nonetheless peculiar tree standing on its own beheld a beauty outstanding for even that time of year. Its entire coating of leaves had turned a consistent, deep and immaculate ruby red. The same might be said for many trees in this season, but on this subject there was something impressionable, touching and intrinsically powerful about it Once seen, it could not be forgotten.
Why is such a perfectly coloured tree of any significance? Its texture bares a resemblance to fire or flames, which in turn symbolizes courage, energy and bravery. The continuing life of the tree allows us to imagine that it is not one that is consumed by the fire, yet a part of a greater cycle. Like the Phoenix rises from the flames, the red tree is a symbol of rejuvenation, revival and renaissance. Although a red coated tree comes to the end of its life in autumn and metaphorically “dies in the fire”- with a certainty one is aware it will rise again. This is not the end, but the start of a new beginning.
This is the hope and dream of the City of Sunderland. Once in the jaws of death, this area has suffered a grueling fate as it has been punished by a political and economic system which has placed it into decline. Its industries have been depleted, its people have been lost, disillusioned and angry. We look back to the glories of the past in order to rectify the woes of the present, without vision or hope of we can become. Yet deep in our hearts, there is an innate dream of a revival, a belief that one day the injustices and pains of the past can be reversed and that we might stand proud again.
The same is true for the North East as a whole. Jimmy Nail, although associated inseparably with Sunderland’s rivals Newcastle, spoke of that dream in his song “Big River”. Football differences cannot distinguish an identical heritage. Speaking of the Tyne (which can be easily substituted for the wear), he mourned the loss of a proud heritage but also an unshakable hope for the future: “
’cause this is a mighty town,
It’s built upon solid ground
And everything they tried so hard to kill,
We will rebuild
This was a big river
I want you all to know that I was proud
This was a big river, but that was long ago,
That’s not now
This is a big river,
And in my heart I know it will rise again
The river will rise again
The dream of Sunderland is the dream of revival, that decades of poverty, hardship, disillusionment and spiritual pain can one day be vanquished and that its people may be redeemed. But dream is little more than a dream until it is put into practice. If the world is to be changed: there must be action, there must be initiative and there must be willpower. History is but the sum of those who make the choice to write it, for good or for bad.
In doing so, Sunderland Global Media commits itself now to engineering a New Era in Sunderland. Based upon the rich and mystical symbolism of one tree, we too endeavor to rise again from the flames and rebuild this city, calling an end to the London-Centric and capitalist era which has scarred our city. We will replace hope with hatred and bitterness of the past, with a dream of the future.