- December 26th, 2010. Palatine, Illinois.
I am sitting in a church sanctuary,
Looking out onto a winter landscape:
in front, snow covered spruce trees,
along the side, a snowscape of frozen prairie,
a landscaped rock grotto with the dark branches of staghorn sumac.
In the sanctuary
In front of the trees
sits a young man.
Yet strange music comes from an instrument he plays,
It conjures up the Mediterranean,
Sharp blue skies,
Ancient landscapes and history.
The music makes my heart ache,
Makes me want to weep
With joy and sorrow!
He is a young man, maybe twenty years old.
He goes to the same music school as my son in Boston.
Such a small world!
Musically, the young man is a virtuoso;
He has played around the world.
I hear him first at a prayer service for Peace;
He played such beautiful music,
Between Muslim, Christian and Jewish prayers.
Nine years they have been praying for peace in the Middle East at this little church outside of Chicago.
Going home, Jan. 29th, 2010.
Today we get an e-mail:
En route to Ramallah
He is stopped at the checkpoint
by Israeli guards.
He must pay $220 in bribes to get his instrument into the West Bank.
“It is Syrian (it is, purchased in the West Bank)
He is planning to sell it.”
Proof of a music school in Boston,
Of world tours
They hold the instrument up by its delicate neck
Threaten its life….
With money earned at the recent Sunday service
And with gifts from friends.
This is how love wins:
We listen to beautiful music,
We pray for Peace,
We support the people who make such beautiful music,
We bear witness to injustice and cruelty
We hope such injustice does not destroy us
or our children
or the music….