Tag Archives: West-Eastern Divan orchestra

In Praise of Kindness

Rearview of a man and woman clearly standing between others, all of whom have left arm round one person's waist and right arm on another person's shoulder.

A writer friend tells me that her local coffee shop has put up a sign “Kindness is the new superpower.” Several of us, all writers, had met for a cheery lunch and we all beamed. We all beamed.

For some reason, I have clung to it ever since. Possibly it is because of the international news. Or it may be that Christmas always makes me pause for thought. But this year, the world has never seemed in such need of kindness. Or so very far from showing or receiving it.

Kindness and  Conflict

box tied with white ribbon, a giftThe OED defines it as the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate. That sounds a bit pallid to me. Maybe it has been polluted by association with phrases like “kind of”. . It certainly doesn’t sound earth-shaking.

I always thought, probably mistakenly, that it had something to do with “kin”, with treating a stranger like a member of your family. For that is what has to happen if there is any hope of a workable future to follow this Palestinian Israeli conflict. With such atrocities on both sides, the only hope is kindness on both sides.

a chair with a wicker set stands on a a grassy slope, with a man's black jacket over its back. On the seat is an accordion, the strap looking as if the player has just put it down. Lying on the ground beside it is a pear-shaped stringed instrument, the size of a guitar, with a body strap, as if it, too, has just been taken off.At the moment that looks hopeless. But not everyone hates.

Jewish conductor Daniel Barenboim and Palestinian-American Edward Said set up the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra in 1999 to bring together musicians from both cultures in a joint project.

Maestro Barenboim wrote a heartfelt piece in October this year. “Both sides must recognise their enemies as human beings and try to empathise with their point of view, their pain and their hardship,” he says.

Kindness to Read

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