Friday, January 02, 2009
Daniel Barenboim: Great Musician, Great Human Being
I always enjoy watching the New Years Day concert from Vienna, but this year was something special- the first time the Musikverein concert was conducted by the great Daniel Barenboim (pictured above). Barenboim, a Jew, has been an outspoken supporter of the rights of the Palestinians. Instead of just criticising Israeli policy towards the Palestinians, which he has called ‘morally abhorrent’, Barenboim has done all he can to build bridges between Jew and Arab communities in the Middle East-forming, with his great friend the late Edward Said, the West Eastern Divan Orchestra- consisting of both Jewish and Arab musicians.
After yesterday’s concert he told the audience that he hoped that 2009 would be a "year of peace in the world and of human justice in the Middle East." In a separate statement, Barenboim also said that Jews, more than anyone else, should know that killing innocent humans was inhuman and unacceptable- a clear reference to the Jewish experience of the Holocaust.
If only there were more people like Daniel Barenboim in the world. A great musician- and a great human being- someone who has transcended his own background and religion and who puts the cause of common humanity first.
On the subject of Israel’s aggression against the people of Gaza, you can read the details of tomorrow’s Stop the War organised march- and mass protest outside the Israeli Embassy in London -here.
And if you’d like to publicise other similar demonstrations in your country- please feel free to do so in the comments section below.