Waging Peace with a Cello

As soon as the smoke cleared, but before soldiers and police in Baghdad secured the area of a car bomb attack on Monday, Karim Wasfi, conductor of the Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra, set up a chair, sat down with his beloved cello, and began to play.

In a city sadly used to bombings, this one, set off at rush hour on a busy commercial street, moved Wasfi to action in the best way he knew to combat the ugliness of violence. 

It was an action to try to equalize things, to reach the equilibrium between ugliness, insanity and grotesque, indecent acts of terror – to equalize it, or to overcome it, by acts of beauty, creativity and refinement.

[Music] is an international language of mutual understanding. It’s everything.

…I don’t want that to turn into an inevitability of the situation in Iraq: death experienced on a daily basis. No, I want to do the opposite. Life is experienced on a daily basis. Even though we don’t experience normalcy. When things are normal, I will have more responsibilities and obligations. But when things are insane and abnormal like that, I have the obligation of inspiring people, sharing hope, perseverance, dedication, and preserving the momentum of life.

 Full interview at Al Jazeera