BBC bias: The BBC Proms mark Israel’s 70th anniversary year with no Israeli orchestra but with the Palestinian political work ‘Looking for Palestine’ (mostly about the Lebanon War).
This summary is from David Robert Coleman’s own summary of the piece, at https://youtu.be/B8KSZHyRB7g …
Scene1: ‘Although I have never returned to Palestine, Palestine always returns to me’.
Scene 2: It describes how she is in Lebanon, and how beautiful and idyllic it all is, but in the background something is already going wrong. Towards the end of the scene, the bombing of Lebanon begins.
Scene 3: There’s a short episode where she talks about her fear of seeing bombs being thrown from aeroplanes and the kind of reactions that provokes in her.
Scene 4: She’s back in New York, and there’s a protest developing against this bombardment, and she says you know it’s just a few people, and they seem to be basically quite bourgeois white people protesting there.
Coda: She talks about becoming a kind of feeling like a Palestinian in that moment, and I end it with the words ‘Words are so powerful’.
this evening (tuesday 14th), 7.30-11.30pm, on bbc rsdio 3
daniel barenboim and the west-eastern divan orchestra (in the bbc proms series) includes (at 8.25pm) …
“At the centre of the concert is David Robert Coleman’s ‘Looking for Palestine’ for soprano and orchestra, a work commissioned by the ensemble, and one that speaks to its uniquely political identity.”
(for partial transcript, click “more”)
(if you miss it, available from 1:13:30 to 1:41:00 at https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0bf21k0)
PRESENTER’S INTRODUCTION …
“There is some strong language in this piece.”
“Najla Said says that that piece doesn’t aim to promote an ideological standpoint with regard to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but rather following on from an idea of Daniel Barenboim’s it attempts to explore the fractured cross-cultural experiences at the heart of Najla’s writing.”
“telling of the time back in 2006 when she returned to the region to Lebanon for a holiday. All she planned to do was enjoy some time at the beach but then she witnessed first-hand the horror of the sort of conflict that so engulfed that region. She was caught up in the outbreak of the 34-day war in Lebanon in 2006 which firstly engulfed Lebanon and Northern Israel, and then the Golan Heights, and which Najla Said says she regards as the crucible of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”
PARTIAL TRANSCRIPT (much of what the soprano sings is unintelligible) (the passages in bold italics are spoken, not sung) …
“In the sky returns? to me. Tuesday July 11, I am in Beirut. … entire neighbourhood … you can imagine … everything is … I … that this is … the beauty the atmosphere. Lebanon … finally … to the restaurant and ask is there something going on. She tells me she has not any … question … I ask my friend Ramzi are you coming out? … They are bombing the South, They are completely destroying Tyre, They are not bombing us. There is something else, In order to be clear about it, you can spend your life being a humanist a pacifist, … that others think about hating, or does not even know what it is to hate, that is to say you can really be a human being who is tolerant and open-minded and humane, judging people for how they behave towards you and treating them the same way you wish to be treated. But when you are being attacked, when bombs are falling around you, … scared … scream at the top of the … And yet in America, since 9/11, I am officially an Arab, bridging the gap between two worlds, that don’t understand each other, I think. … … … … shot … next to … … … always … I almost … bceause I am … woman … whatever … with my … beacuse I want to do … something … something … I do I do … Words are so powerful.”