"Music can change the world because it can change people." Bono
The Arab-Israeli conflict has been described as the "most intractable conflict" between the Jews and the Arabs due to the ongoing Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
How do we change a narrative of violence and pain?
Daniel Barenboim, famed pianist and conductor of the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, gives the answer to that question: through music.
This Seville-based orchestra of young Arab and Israeli musicians is...
"...a human laboratory that can express to the whole world how to cope with the other."
The purpose of the ensemble as stated by Barenboim is as follows:
"to promote understanding between Israelis and Palestinians and pave the way for a peaceful and fair solution of the Arab–Israeli conflict.
The Divan is not a love story, and it is not a peace story. It has very flatteringly been described as a project for peace. It isn't. It's not going to bring peace, whether you play well or not so well.
The Divan was conceived as a project against ignorance. A project against the fact that it is absolutely essential for people to get to know the other, to understand what the other thinks and feels, without necessarily agreeing with it.
I'm not trying to convert the Arab members of the Divan to the Israeli point of view, and [I'm] not trying to convince the Israelis to the Arab point of view...
I want to create a platform where the two sides can disagree and not resort to knives."
Today's featured artist, Bassam Nashawati, has been a violinist with the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra for the last 16 years.
Bassam has toured the world with the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra during the summers since 2004. He has also played several chamber music concerts in Argentina and as part of the Salzburg Music festival in Austria.
He states that the concept of the orchestra is to promote dialogue and mutual understanding of the narrative of the other as well as to make music.
His most challenging and inspiring experience with the orchestra was in the journey leading up to the concert in Ramallah they performed on the West Bank.
"It was literally a logistical nightmare since the Israelis were frightened and strongly discouraged by the Israeli government to go into Palestinian territories. On the other side, many of the Arab musicians were also forbidden to go to the West Bank since it is under the occupation of Israel.