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Friday, February 24, 2017
Holy Land: Barenboim accepts Palestinian passport
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¬†After a highly acclaimed concert the Israeli-Argentinean pianist and conductor accepted Palestinian citizenship (and passport). He accepted in solidarity with the Palestinian people and as a protest against the policies pursued by the Israeli government. He said: "Receiving this passport is a great honour; I am convinced that the futures of the Palestinian and Israeli people are inextricably tied. We have been blessed or condemned to live together". The former Palestinian minister of information Mustafa Barghouti told the Italian press agency ANSA that it was the Hamas leadership that had taken the decision to present citizenship to Barenboim, shortly after the elections of 2006: "The maestro had told us at that time that he would accept" said Barghouti. Barenboim is also known for having set up, along with the Palestinian ≠ American intellectual Edward Said the 'West-Eastern Divan Orchestra', an orchestra made up by 90 Israeli, Palestinian and Arab musicians. "There was some tension at first ≠ says the website of the orchestra ≠ but led by members of the Berliner Philarmoniker, the Chicago Symphony and the Berliner Staatskapelle and also thanks to intercultural dialogues held by Said and Barenboim, these young musicians have worked and played together in an atmosphere of growing harmony. Music has therefore served as a physical site for dialogue for people sharing a common history and language and even by culture." Barenboim, - born in Buenos Aires in 1942 remarks on a debate which followed a concert during the Salzburg Festival last September by the orchestra: "Several Middle Eastern and European politicians joined us for an intense if brief exchange of ideas. This has given me the great satisfaction of having been able to note the sensitivity, intelligence and maturity with which the orchestra members have learned to confront issues concerning the Israeli ≠ Palestinian conflict. Even when dealing with the toughest and potentially explosive themes, nobody lost their calm as happened in the first days of the project. In those days musicians from the 'West-Eastern Divan Orchestra' tried to discover through dialogue and discussion with world leaders what changes should take place in society in order to find a solution, such as their vision concerning the region's future and in which way to build the trust that needs to exist between both sides in conflict". Mozart and Beethoven, two of the giants among the giants of music, have helped these musicians find a common language through which to confront each other and grow. Some Israelis have criticized Barenboim's decision to accept Palestinian citizenship. The Shaas party (same as that of Ehud Olmert) leader Yaacov Marti has asked that Baremboim be stripped of his Israeli citizenship; some journalists joked: "now he will go to weep on the grave of Yasser Arafat" said the "Makor Rishon" daily. Others, however, were appreciative, saying that rather than a betrayal of Israel, it was an invitation to dialogue. Source: MISNA (translated from a piece by Gianfranco Belgrano)
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