Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Musical harmony

When we last visited with Reuters correspondent Nidal al-Mughrabi, he was busy writing 4,000 years of Jewish history out of the Gaza Strip.  Today, he returns with a story of one day of Jewish history in the Gaza Strip:
(Reuters) - Classical musician Daniel Barenboim, a supporter of Palestinian rights, broke new ground Tuesday when he travelled to the Gaza Strip to conduct a concert.
Musicians from some of Europe's top orchestras entered the coastal enclave from Egypt via the Rafah border crossing amid tight security, to form the "Orchestra for Gaza" and play Mozart's "Eine Kleine Nachtmusik" and the Symphony No. 40 [...]
When introducing the event, Barenboim said the concert was taking place because "these are people who care about you, this is why we are here today."
Barenboim has become a controversial figure in Israel for his vocal opposition to its occupation of the West Bank, where he has performed on several occasions.
Since 1999, he has promoted Arab-Israeli cultural contacts and he leads the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, made up of young Israeli and Arab musicians which is based in Seville, Spain.
In 2008, Argentine-born Barenboim, 68, also took Palestinian citizenship and said he believed his status could serve as a model for peace between Israelis and Palestinians.
"As you know I am Palestinian ... not (just) because I have a Palestinian passport and I am also Israeli, so you see it is possible to be both, but in order ... to have justice and peace we have to do many things.
"Our conflict is a conflict of two peoples who are convinced they have the right to live in the same little piece of land, therefore, our destinies are linked," he said.
"No people should be expected to live under occupation," Barenboim added as he received a standing ovation from the audience of academics, foreign guests and schoolchildren.
A poignant tale of an Israeli conductor's effort to bridge the hostile divide between Jews and Palestinian Arabs through musical performance.

Too bad a similar effort by a Palestinian conductor to perform for Jewish Holocaust survivors in Israel resulted in Palestinian officials disbanding the orchestra and banishing the conductor.

Ain't harmony grand?

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