We are human beings

In May 2011 we went to Gaza with musicians from the Berlin Staatskapelle, the Berlin Philharmonic, the Vienna Philharmonic, the Scala [of Milan], and the Orchestra de Paris…a concert organized by the United Nations…and the whole situation was very moving. And then, after the concert, a Palestinian NGO person thanked me profusely for coming…And he said it several times, so finally I asked him, “Why was it so important?”

He said to me, “Because we in Gaza feel the world has forgotten us. Some people remember us and they send us medicine and food, and we are very grateful for that. But then you would also do the same for animals. But you, by coming with these wonderful musicians, remind us that we are human beings.

BarenboimAtBrown(World-renowned pianist and concert maestro Daniel Barenboim, the Israeli co-founder [with Palestinian-American Edward W. Said] of the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, speaking at Brown University in January 2013. View the full video of the Brown event here. More about the Gaza concert here. For more on West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, view the 2005 film, “The Ramallah Concert:  Knowledge is the Beginning” [YouTube: (Part 1) (Part 2) (Part 3) (Part 4) (Part 5) (Part 6) (Part 7)]; or read Elena Cheah’s An Orchestra Beyond Borders: Voices of the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra [London: Verso, 2009]).

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