Iraq: amidst the carnage, the music of hope

August 20, 2009 at 3:55 pm (anti-fascism, good people, iraq, Jim D, Middle East, music, youth)

As the fascists who seek to deny the peoples of Iraq any form of reconciliation, stability or civil society strike again in Baghdad, it is easy to despair. Perhaps, then, this is the right moment to draw your attention to another face of Iraq, the inspiring  young Baghdad pianist Zuhal Sultan.

Zuhal - Music for a change

Zuhal, still just 18 years old, has formed the National Youth Orchestra of Iraq (NYOI), bringing together 35 young musicians from across the religious, racial and regional/national divides. It includes Sunnis, Shi’ites and Kurds. The orchestra’s repertoire includes Beethoven, Haydn, Gershwin, a commissioned piece by NYOI’s composer-in -residence Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, and new pieces by Iraqi Kurdish and Arab composers. They have toured throughout Iraq and Zuhal has visited the Wigmore Hall in London as a soloist and accompanist for the British tenor Andrew Staples. She would like nothing more than to take the orchestra on a similar tour. Internationalists, liberals, the left and humanitarians have, quite rightly, hailed the bridge-building work of Daniel Barenboim’s West-Eastern Divan Orchestra. Zuhal Sultan and her young colleagues deserve similar support as they embark on their brave musical journey of hope and reconciliation: send a donation,  large or small, to the grassroots fundraising site  http://www.justgiving.com/nyoiraq/

You’ll not only be supporting a brave young woman and her colleagues, but putting another nail in the coffin of sectarianism, nihilism and fascism.

27 Comments

  1. StevenParker said,

    Is that the sectarinaism, nihilism and fascism created by the invasion of Iraq and please enlighten us on all the other nails that you alluded to?

  2. Jim Denham said,

    “Is that the sectarinaism, nihilism and fascism created by the invasion of Iraq and please enlighten us on all the other nails that you alluded to?”

    To a large degree, yes it was caused (or, at least unleashed, as Saddam’s bottle of Sunni dominance was uncorked) by the invasion: do you, Steven, now oppose all attempts (including by Iraqis themselves) to rebuild civil society? Are you one of those “anti-imperialists” who would rather that the peoples of Iraq (and, as well, Afghanistan) continue to suffer just to prove how evil imperialism is, rather than have any form of stability and reconciliation?

    The other “nails”, by the way are other anti-sectarian’anti-fascist forces like the heroic Iraqi trade union movement, and the restraint of mainstream Shi’ites.

  3. Iraq: amidst the carnage, the music of hope « Shiraz Socialist | alba news said,

    […] here: Iraq: amidst the carnage, the music of hope « Shiraz Socialist Share and […]

  4. resistor said,

    Ah, the heroic Iraqi trade union movement of which Denham is so ignorant.

    ‘Leave our country now

    From the first days of the US-British invasion of Iraq, oil workers have resisted foreign occupation

    Hassan Juma’a Awad
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2005/feb/18/iraq.comment

    In resistance we are united

    Basra’s occupiers depart defeated. Our message to belligerent British leaders? Good riddance

    Hassan Juma’a
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/apr/18/iraq-invasion-resistance

    Hassan Juma’a is president of the Iraqi Oil Workers Federation, based in Basra who said,

    ‘I call on supporters of freedom across the world to stand by the Iraqi people. And to the British anti-war movement I say thank you, but my final message to the British warmongers is: “good riddance”. The curse of your Iraqi victims will always be with you, for you killed innocent people and you tortured captives. Go to the dustbin of history, and never forget heroic Basra and the great struggle of the Iraqi people.’

    Victory to Iraqi trade union, the Iraqi people and the Iraqi resistance! The dustbin of history? Last known residence of Jim Denham,

  5. resistor said,

    As for Ms Zuhal

    http://szuhalpno.googlepages.com/

    ‘July 26, 2008: Zuhal accompanied the Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra in their concert for the American Embassy with the attendance of his excellency Ryan Crocker the United States Ambassador to Iraq.’

    and

    ‘Zuhal has received a great deal of attention in the American and European media, including stories in the Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Symphony Magazine, CNN Television, British Satellite News, and the Italian and French press.’

    And now Shiraz Socialist!

    British Satellite News?

    Oh yes, the Foreign Office propaganda outfit.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2006/feb/15/media.television

    The propaganda we pass off as news around the world

    A British government-funded fake TV news service allows mild criticism of the US – all the better to support it
    David Miller
    The Guardian, Wednesday 15 February 2006

  6. charliethechulo said,

    …and your point is, “resistor”???

  7. Jim Denham said,

    I expected that a post about a young, forward-looking, anti-sectarian Iraqi woman would upset Red-Brown scum like “resistor”.

    As for “resistor’s nonsense about the Iraqi trade union movement, anyone with the slightest familiarity with the matter should be aware that by far the largest and best-established Iraqi trade union body is the Iraqi Federaion of Trade Unions (IFTU), now called the General Federation of Iraqi Wokers (http://www.iraqitradeunions.org/en/) (GFIW), whose representative in Britain, the incredibly brave Abdullah Muhsin makes no secret of his hatred of the so-called “resistance”: little wonder, these fascists murdered his comrade Hadi Saleh, having tortured him first of course (see:http://www.tuc.org.uk/publications/viewPub.cfm?frmPubID=479). They’ve done much the same to innumerable other leaders and rank and file members of the Iraqi trade union movement.

    “resistor”‘s favoured Iraqi trade union leader, Hassan Juma’a is a much less credible character, who – to be frank – has a tendency to tell western interviewers what they want to hear (a problem exacerbated by the fact that his main western interpreter seems to have her own agenda, which, in turn, seems to influence her interpreting):
    http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0JQP/is_382/ai_n15631604/

  8. Iraq: amidst the carnage, the music of hope « Shiraz Socialist | Afghanistan Today said,

    […] is, rather than have any form of stability and reconciliation? … Go here to read the rest: Iraq: amidst the carnage, the music of hope « Shiraz Socialist Share and […]

  9. Zuhal Sultan said,

    I wonder, if creating a youth orchestra is a propaganda? As the one who created it, it took me a year of hard work and sacrifice, and yes, I needed help from abroad as my voice wasn’t heard by my own governement when this initiative was just an idea. I needed help from abroad as there were no coaches to teach those young musicians, I needed help for reasons beyond anything you can think of. Later on, the office of the deputy prime minister noticed and helped funding a large amount of the project. It has nothing to do with politics.

    I really hope that you can appreciate all the hard work that went into this by myself, the team who pulled this through and the hard working young musicians rather than being cynical.

    Bests,
    Zuhal Sultan
    Founder and Artistic Director of the National Youth Orchestra of Iraq.

  10. voltairespriest said,

    Presumably Transistor also thinks Symphony Magazine is an arm of Global Zionism.

  11. socialrepublican said,

    Amazing stuff – Comrade Sultan.

    Good luck.

  12. maxdunbar said,

    Zuhal

    Thank you for commenting here. You are an inspiration – best of luck to you.

  13. StevenParker said,

    I think we will see continued carnage and rather less piano playing until the imperialists get out of Iraq, that means every soldier, every military base and every piece of military equipment.

    Until that happens don’t expect me to get overexcited about this story. after all, we constantly hear such stories with regard to Israel and the Palestinians but that problem continues to get worse.

    If you wish to promote the imperialist view of things, contrary to reality, so be it but don’t expect most people on the left to accept this nonsense.

  14. maxdunbar said,

    Yeah! If every foreign soldier, contractor, diplomat and aid worker leaves Iraq immediately then everything will be absolutely fine!

    Honestly! What a twat.

  15. StevenParker said,

    So you go into a country and cause all this carnage and then say you can’t leave because of the carnage that you created.

    Honestly, what an even bigger twat!

  16. Jim Denham said,

    “don’t expect me to get overexcited about this story.”: I don’t, Steven, believe me. After all, this is a story about ordinary people trying to get on with their lives.

    Professional “anti-imperialists” like you don’t think they should be allowed to do that until “imperialism” has withdrawn/been defeated. Just like the SWP and their fellow-travellers used to argue that you couldn’t have trade unionism in Iraq while it was occupied….and in Kurdistan ..?

  17. maxdunbar said,

    So the Ba’ath Party, al-Qaeda and the rest of the fascist insurgency had nothing to do with the bloodshed in Iraq?

    Nothing to offer Iraqis except the facile ‘troops out’ slogan.

  18. StevenParker said,

    An offer that they would find far more attractive than your leave the troops in indefinately, that is an offer they would tell you to shove up your arse.

    But do you think anyone really believes you give a shit what the Iraqis think, I mean do you?

  19. Jim Denham said,

    Steven: listen to yourself, man: *you* are the one who doesn’t “give a shit” about “ordinary Iraqis”, aren’t you?

    Let me refresh your memory:

    “Until that happens don’t expect me to get overexcited about this story. after all, we constantly hear such stories with regard to Israel and the Palestinians but that problem continues to get worse.”

    “Ordinary Iraqis” have no role and no right to attempt to pursue a lfe, in your scenario, until “imperialism” has withdrawn its physical presence and/or been defeated by the Heroic Resistance.

    Fortuantely, ordinary Iraqis like Zuhal feel no need to be bit-part players in your “anti-imperialist” wet dreams.

  20. StevenParker said,

    No, I am saying that until the imperialists leave there will be no chance of the process you talk of beginning. While ever the imperialists are there the violence and carnage will continue.

    By characterising this fight to remove them as ‘professional’ anti imperialism and capitulating to the imperialist mission you prolong the Iraqi misery, though frankly I really don’t think you give a shit about that anyway.

    This story offers no proof of a new dawn and to pretend it does is absurd. Only the the most fanatical apologists for neo liberalism will believe otherwise.

  21. JayJ said,

    The Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra was made up of various ethnic groups in the time of Saddam. I fail to see what the relevance of this article is.

  22. maxdunbar said,

    God, life must be so easy when you can divide the world into ‘imperialists’ and ‘anti-imperialists’!

  23. Harry Tuttle said,

    JayJ wrote:

    I fail to see what the relevance of this article is.

    Towards the bottom of the article:

    Zuhal Sultan and her young colleagues deserve similar support as they embark on their brave musical journey of hope and reconciliation: send a donation, large or small, to the grassroots fundraising site http://www.justgiving.com/nyoiraq/

  24. StevenParker said,

    Max, do you ever make a comment without distorting someone else’s view?

    Is this the tactic of someone who has absolutely nothing of value to offer.

    Do you carve the world up between the civilised and the still to be civilised?

  25. resistor said,

    Some background on the IFTU and CPI from Sam Ramadani and Haifa Zangana (who split with the CPI when they allied with the Ba’ath party)

    http://archive.indymedia.be/news/2004/10/89445.html

    ps can I ask Zuhal Sultan why she perfomed for the American ‘Ambassador’ in Iraq?

  26. Jim Denham said,

    Sam Ramadani : a liar and fraud, who hasn’t been in in Iraq for years.
    ” when they allied with the Ba’ath party”: and when was that, exac tly, “resistor”? And the so-called “resistance”, now, is opposed to the Ba’ath Party????? Talk sense, man!
    Finally, and most damagingly to you. “resistor”, not just as a political entity, but as a human being:

    “ps can I ask Zuhal Sultan why she perfomed for the American ‘Ambassador’ in Iraq?”
    Well, you piece of shit:, why not. exactly?

  27. Harry Tuttle said,

    Jim Denham wrote:

    Well, you piece of shit:, why not. exactly?

    Because the fascist resistor believes that the United States is a puppet of the Jews, and we all know how much resistor loves the Jews.

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