Daniel Barenboim: Middle East, War, Music and Hope of Peace

Middle East is in news again for last few months. Israel-Palestine issue became an escalated conflict and Israel bombarded and destroyed Gaza in retaliation to rocket attack by Hamas. This historical fight between Arab and Israel over a piece of land has been long running bloodiest wars of all. Co-existence, Peace never seems to be on agenda on two sides that constantly engage and destroy each other. Amidst this destruction, a sole voice of conviction and hope talks about possible musical and cultural bridges that can be first Peace initiative in the region.

Legendary musician Daniel Barenboim, as a first dual citizen of Israel and Palestine, as true humanist and UN’s messenger of Peace, did try to give a shape to his mission of musical peace in collaboration with another renowned writer Edward Said by doing a musical project involving all young artists from Middle-East. The West-Eastern Divan Workshop which first took place in August 1991, involved talented musicians from the troubled land and it brought them on a neutral land in Weimer, Germany to create good music. Since then Workshop has become an ongoing project and West-Eastern Divan Orchestra was even invited to perform at Salzburg Festival in 2007.  Young Israelis and Arabs sit together side by side and create perfect harmony and music while back home their breed is bent on destroying and killing each other.

Daniel Barenboim’s hope of Peace stems from his belief in his art, his music. His hope remains undeterred even after recent Israeli’s strike against Gaza. He still believes that music is the best equalizer because everyone is equal in front of music of Beethoven or Mozart. As a world class Conductor and Performer he draws his philosophy from his music. He speaks of equality and constructive interdependence rather than complete independence as the only constructive creative way ahead. A perfect Orchestra is the best example of how interdependence can create melody and harmony.

Daniel Barenboim’s personal website has his musings both about music and politics. As Middle East and elusive peace continues to torment his soul, he continues to be true Human Rights activist who believes that human ignorance and intolerance will only lead to destruction whereas path of equality and interdependence will lead to long lasting constructive Peace. As war continues to wage between Israel and Palestine saner voices happen to be of artists and musicians who want to forge and not burn bridges.


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