Sunday, August 23, 2009

on peace/demonstrations/declarations and taranta

On August 23rd I had the pleasure of performing in the impressive “Notte de la Tarante” festival in Melpignano , Italy.
It is a wonderful celebration of the traditional Taranta music of the region. hundreds of thousands of people, many of them young, show up to celebrate, sing and dance. Not with Madonna or the Rolling Stones, but with their own heritage, their own roots.
Being an honorary citizen of Melpignano, an extraordinary place with a unique mayor (the one and only Sergio Blasi) which deserves a chapter of its own, I was happy to accept the invitation to participate in this exceptional event. I came together with the wonderful Mira Awad. We were to each sing one song from the taranta repertoire, and then sing our song, “there must be another way”, together.
(For whoever does not know, Mira is a Palestinian Israeli singer-songwriter. We represented Israel this year in the Eurovision song contest with a song we wrote in three languages, Arabic Hebrew and English, conveying a message of tolerance and co-existence to hundreds of millions of people around the world.)
I went on stage at roughly 1:30 am (it’s an all night event). After singing the beautiful Taranta song “damme nu ricciu” , I spoke to the audience, saying how happy and proud I was to be there, and explaining that the song they were about to hear bore the message of peace and co-existence, breaking the walls between languages and cultures , bringing hope though music. I then invited Mira to the stage. As I looked out over the audience I saw a huge sign. It said “mira and noa…”, and I couldn’t make out the rest. There was a map of Israel, and Palestinian flags were waving.
I immediately interpreted this as a sign of support from the audience for the work mira and I were doing, and this made me very happy. When mira came on stage I pointed it out to her joyfully, wanting to share the beautiful moment. We sang together with energy and intention, as we always do, took our bow, and I went off stage, leaving mira to her solo song. I could hear the audience yelling “mira, mira”, and I was once again happy they were embracing my friend with love and respect, as they have always embraced me.
When I got to the side of the stage, I saw galia my tour manager looking like a ghost, with tears in her eyes. I asked her what was wrong?? And she said:”the sign, the sign! Didn’t you see it? I’m devastated…”.
That’s when I realized my mistake. I became cold as a rock.
You see, dear friends, it was no sign of support. No demonstration of unity and hope, of willingness to build a better future.
The sign said: : “noa and mira, accomplices in the killing machine. Israel=Nazis”.
Yes, that’s what the sign said. Right in front of our faces.
And the calls ‘mira mira’ were to the killer mira, the criminal mira.
Her crime? Singing for peace. Daring to hope for a better future.
The organization who are responsible for this hijacked the Taranta festival for their own selfish, ignorant, destructive propaganda-driven agenda. And their southern-Italian hosts were just too polite, sweet and open-minded to do anything about it.
The Italians around me were unbelieving, shocked and apologetic. For many of them I am a sort of hero. Years of concerts, stubborn insistence on playing even in the smallest venues and sustaining the highest level of musicianship and originality and tireless work for peace have gained me their unwavering love and admiration. They simply could not understand this rude and violent display of hatred.
I know these Palestinian groups. This is not the first time they have shown me their ‘love’. They have been haunting me for years. I have tried communicating with them by mail, tried intelligent dialogue and reasoning but to no avail. The fact that I have dedicated half my life to supporting the Palestinian cause, at a very high personal price, means nothing to them.
These groups represent a very small part of the Palestinian people. As always, most people want to live and not die. To live and let live. To live.
But these groups know how to make noise. They are funded by big money from fanatic organizations that call for nothing less than the death of my children and the destruction of my country (unless of course I convert to islam and wear a burka). They have no interest whatsoever in finding a ‘path to follow’ that will lead to two states for two people, coexistence, prosperity and peace. Their agenda includes fanning the flames of hatred and war for eternity, until we all burn in a hell of vengeance and self-righteousness
I have no intention of embarking once again on the endless, futile dissection of thewhat/who/where/why/how of middle eastern politics. I’ve been around that block too many times and it has led me nowhere.
I say only this:
There are two options.
Either we eternalize the violence, hatred, suffering killing and vengeance and pass it on to our children and our children’s children like a bloody, cursed inheritance.
we put the past respectfully behind us and look to the future, using all of our resources to find a way to live together without violence.

My agenda is clear.

I have children and I have no time to waste on testosterone-driven religious fanatics who want to die and kill in the name of some god or another and pull us all down with them. Or bored European pseudo-intellectuals who need a cause and choose one carelessly.
As I’ve said many times before,
Recognize, Apologize, Share. (you can read the elaborate version of that theory in a former blog)
So, despite how hurt I was by what occurred, I plan to continue in just the same way, stubbornly, adamantly, bull headedly, with full belief that…
there must be another way.

Signing out.


  1. Oh Noa. But how ironic - it is those banner wavers who are the 'accomplices in the killing machine'! And they don't even know it!
    But as you're aware, they were a tiny drop of hatred in an ocean of love. It's just such a shame you and Mira had to be reminded of such ugliness on what was otherwise a perfect night. Blessed are the peacemakers for they ARE the children of god. Damn, now I'm crying with anger.
    10 mins later... had to go and have a 'nice cup of tea' (that's what we British do at times like this!). Realised my anger, any anger, is descending to the level of these 'testosterone-driven fanatics', fuelled by their self-loathing and hatred of life. It's pitiful, really, isn't it? The majority of people need to stop feeling so powerless in the face of such negativity. It's we who have the power. You and Mira prove that.
    Well, keep spreading the love. And remember, you're both much loved. Enjoy Brindisi. Anne xx

  2. It's a great shame that you had to experience this kind of inexcusable behavior, as an Israeli I know just how much of a personal price both you and Mira have paid, are paying probably still, for standing up in your beliefs and speaking up for peace and unity when so many others prefer the dull dogma of fanciful interpretation of the truth. But in the midst of all that,- don't forget the many people around the world who support your message, you love and appreciate you as artists, we outweigh the ignorants, I'm quite sure!

  3. A piece of bread is smarter than these guys ever will be!!! At least you can eat it - right? Their ignorance deserves nothing but even more ignorance... and maybe a smile full of proud, simply because you, Mira and thousands of others on all sides of any border know better... So: After our tears of anger and frustration: Lets keep smiling!

  4. And no reactions from the organizers? Shame on them if it is the case. I understand how difficult it can be to control a huge crowd such as the one present in Melpignano, but truly, it IS part of the organizer's responsibility.
    As you said, you have been confronted with similar situations for years, recently in Spain, previously in London; I also remember very unpleasant situations, years ago, both in Brussels and Liège. I noticed in Brussels, that, as a spectator, caught in a big, compact crowd, one can not move and is just helpless. But it is hard not to react to the provocation, and honestly, I doubt that dialogue is the right attitude in such circumstances.
    We, western Europeans, have been and are too tolerant towards intolerance. We have enjoyed over 60 years of peace and comfort, but we should not forget that it might not last forever.
    Once again, you girls deserve our admiration and respect for your courage and determination.

    I hope that Brindisi today was quieter.
    Be extremely careful, and don't forget that violence is present in Europe as well.

  5. Reading of what happened put me in a deep sadness.
    But just wanted to say that....It's only small bunch of people, ignorant troublemakers... and that is NOTHING compared to MANY MANY supporters and admirers who like what you both do.
    So the best thing to do is just turn the page forward...keep doing the things that you do best...singing, singing and singing.
    Music has the strenght to change things...just need time and patience.

  6. Don't worry Noa, you can find stupid people everywere. Continue with your music for peace for another way, the right way.
    Thanks Noa

  7. I am revolted by this ignoble message written by people who do not know you and know even less te Second Wold War. But be sure that for every one of these dreadful individuals, there are 1000 people who love you and know the beautiful person you are.

  8. I admire very much your effort (and also your music). I try to work for the "other way" every day, but here in Italy is increasingly more difficult. Look what our Governement is doing to refugees arriving from Erithrea or Somalia. And xenophobia is rising everywhere.

  9. Dear Noa,
    Please let Mira now that people all around the world would like to get her CD. I tried to find contact info for her, but was not successful. I am, for instance, in Canada and unable to order her CD anywhere.
    Thank you very much for bringing this fab artist to a wider audience.

  10. I'm deeply sorry and concerned about what happened.I can't imagine how you felt when saw that horrible,fanatic sign of ignorant/fanatic/ "people"..In front of the audience singing for peace and love..ironic!
    "Killing machine"?! Surely for them, love and peace are ways of destruction; destruction of the violence they're used to, of the war they instigate of the ignorance and chauvinism they defend in the name of that or this, stoning women to death... That's killing machine!!!!
    Dear (Noa and Mira), don't ever forget that you're much loved around the world and that kind of "people" with that kind of devil messages, encourage us to fight for live, peace and love.
    Thanks once more ("again and again and again, a thousand different ways to say THANK YOU").Enjoy your family, your concerts and please, take care, 'cause we need you.

  11. @ To helannik - If you pass by this blog again, please click on my nick ''SimplyME'' It will guide you to a blog where you can find post on how to order Mira Awad's amazing album. The post is near the bottom end. I hope you see it.

  12. This comment has been removed by the author.

  13. Please, Noa, could you read a letter that I've just sent to you using the "write to noa" of your web before the 11th of September (when you act in Barcelona, on the Catalonia Day? It is a private letter (not an open letter), but it is really important for me. Thank you.

  14. Hi everyone on this faboluos blog!I'm from Canary Islands and there's no way to find Mira Awad's CD, I tried in Barcelona as well..Anybody knows where to buy it?Thanks a lot.
    Love for you all!
    Congratulations Noa and family!!I'm very happy for you :)

  15. to nayrobism:

    Have you had look at
    already? If not, do it, and you'll find out how to order it on line. Good luck!