Friday, April 11, 2008

Knowledge is the Beginning

Yesterday I saw the film, Knowledge is the Beginning/West-Eastern Divan Orchestra. What a marvelous portrayal of the sequence of events that made real the dream of two men, the late Dr. Edward Said and Daniel Barenboim! Edward Said was a Palestinian/American author, literary critic, musician, and professor at Columbia University. He was a staunch supporter of the Palestinian cause throughout his life. Daniel Barenboim is a pianist and conductor who holds a number of passports; Argentinean, Israeli, German and most recently he was granted Palestinian citizenship. Because of his humanitarian efforts he was designated as a Messenger of Peace by the United Nations last year.

Their dream was a musical project involving musicians who are from Israel and the Arab countries. They were able to bring these young people together to promote dialogue while pursuing their common purpose of performing music as a first class orchestra. The outstanding achievement of this project was shown in a concert in Ramallah in 2005. Throughout the movie the confusion, feelings, fears, and external constraints that shape the lives of these young people were talked about. Possibly few of them actually changed their minds, but their being together forced them to be open and to hear each other. Several times in the film Daniel Barenboim said that this project will not bring peace. Realistically, no, but it’s obvious that it is one great step in that direction. In the meantime they play beautiful music together!



Blogger Ali said...

Edward Said is one of my fovourute writers, his writing is till taught in Universities across the US. I'm a big supporter for dialougue and if you have facebook, I have created a group for Arabs and Aamericans to start talking to each other, it's called "Arab Voices Speak to American Hearts"

Monday, April 14, 2008  

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