Today's date:
Spring 2006

Schubert and Gaza

Argentine-born Daniel Barenboim, one of the world’s most renowned conductors, has led the Berlin Harmonic, the Berlin State Opera and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, where he is currently in his last season as music director. Along with the late Palestinian intellectual Edward Said, Barenboim, a naturalized Israeli citizen, created the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, which brings together young Jewish and Arab musicians. This excerpt was taken from a longer interview with Sérgio Martins, of the Brazilian weekly Veja, for NPQ.

London — The devolution of Gaza to the Palestinians is a historical happening and a very important initiative, but we must be careful. Israel has to move forward and dismantle other settlements in the West Bank. After this, it is necessary to acknowledge that there is no other way for peace than sharing the home. Jews as well as Palestinians are not able to accept that both people have a special relationship with that piece of land, a relationship based in history, philosophy and religion. This deliberate blindness has already cost too much; it is necessary to end it. But I am optimistic. I would say that we are going through a period of transformation that reminds me of a work by Schubert: It has complicated passages, sometimes you do not know where the melody is going, but in the end everything gets solved.

The immigrant has to understand that the country that receives him has rules that must be obeyed. If I invited someone to live in my house and said that lunch will always be served at 2 in the afternoon, I would never accept this individual to assail my refrigerator at any time. The counterpart of this is the effort of each country to integrate the arriving people. I mention as a good example the immigration that took place in Argentina in the 19th century. There came Jews, Russians, Syrians, and the government welcomed them. They all went to the same schools and had similar opportunities to progress.

Europe, on the other hand, has been tragically failing in this task of receiving people from outside. The authors of the attack in London did not come from Afghanistan to commit that monstrous act. They were British Muslims who felt they were being treated like second-class citizens. I am not justifying their act, but any measure against terrorism will have to take into account this integration factor.