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IDEAS | On Human Rights and Music

amerrick / 14th December 2016 / News

“As musicians we want to do good, to make a difference, but we often feel a sense of inadequacy. What, really, can we do, for example, in the face of what is currently unfolding in Aleppo? We are not politicians or diplomats; we play music. But music does have a unique power: It speaks to the hearts of people from different traditions, different cultures, in a way that can be far more direct than any spoken language. There is no need for translation, no need for intercession, no need for explanation. And we, as musicians, are determined to do what we can to help make the world a better place.”

“With the support of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, for which I am grateful, Jan [Eliasson] and I have developed the notion of an international orchestra comprised of musicians from cultures and countries around the world that can be used and deployed as a diplomatic tool. The recent, global swing in the direction of emphasizing differences has made it clear that it is crucial that we do all we can to help the people of the world remember our shared humanity. The state of the world demands a response, and we are working fervently to realize this project.”

The very act of performance is in its greatest manifestation a celebration of truth and honesty. Today, all of us — musicians, diplomats, and private citizens alike, each employing our different tools — are called upon to celebrate these values and to continue the active and affirmative fight for the rights of every person on this planet.”

Excerpt from a conference speech at the United Nations – December 14, 2016

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