In receiving an honorary doctorate from the American University of Beirut

Sorry, I won’t be going to Bahrain – Marcel Khalifé

I, the undersigned, Marcel Khalifé,

hereby extend a kind greeting and declare:

I have carried my pain and my commitment to the causes of the Arab nation. I have offered my contribution to expressing the pain and of forging a different future of humanity that behooves us and that reflects our aspirations.

Now, as I follow the affairs of Arab world and all the episodes of these sweeping popular revolutions, I am bound by the responsibility to give voice to the feeling of rage towards these bloodbaths in which Arab systems of oppression are drowning our cities, villages, and streets in a brutal reaction to the just and legitimate demands of the masses of our men and women, young and old, to enjoy freedom, democracy, and a better tomorrow.

I feel as though every bullet that is shot at a young demonstrator is being shot at my chest, and every club that breaks the bones of a child falls upon my body.

I feel rage, wild protestations, and an internal revolt bursting in my head, my conscience, and my tongue, and I feel a desire to hurl it all back at the faces of the murderers and purveyors of bloodshed, like any child or adult, young or old, there amidst the multitudes, struggling with pride and dignity to forge the future of the nation.

I stand in solidarity with those millions who cry out as they protest against suppression and death.  I am one of them, inseparably.  My blood is their blood, my voice is their voice, and my destiny is their destiny.

I sang for them, and they gave me the feeling that they were my kin from whom we derive strength to bring about the impossible.

I am one of them, and I confront those who shed their blood.  I cannot betray their cause.  What is happening in Libya, Yemen, Bahrain, and elsewhere, is both an epic and a tragedy – an epic that has triumphed in Tunisia and Egypt, and shall triumph in all the other Arab countries, and a bloody tragedy that desperately seeks to arrest history.

For this reason, and because I cannot fail to be with my people in every Arab country, I apologize for not accepting the invitation to participate in the Spring of Culture Festival in Bahrain.

I can only stand in the campsite of freedom, demanding democracy and non-violence.

I do not take this stand only because I am an Arab who is committed to my nation’s causes.  I would take this stand even if I were not.  It is, first and foremost, and human stand before it is a political stand.

Marcel Khalifé

Marcel Statement in English [PDF]

Click on image for PDF

Marcel Khalife & The Al Mayadine Ensemble

Performance in Damascus, Syria

Marcel Khalife Award for Young Palestinian Composers

Winners Announced

Marcel Khalifé performs in Rome

Italian fanfare welcome the international composer

Music, peace and solidarity were the main themes of the fourth annual “September Concert” in Rome. The event was officially endorsed by: l’Alto Patronato della Presidenza della Repubblica, Presidenza del Consiglio, Senato della Repubblica, Camera dei Deputati, Ministero Affari Esteri, Commissione Italiana per l’Unesco, Regione Lazio, Provincia and Assessorato alle Politiche Culturali e della comunicazione del Comune di Roma.

Compagnia per la Musica in Roma, in collaboration with the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia closed the day of events with a special gala concert at the Auditorium Parco della Musica in the Santa Cecilia Hall.

The program opened with a piece by special guest composer and UNESCO Artist for Peace Marcel Khalife and percussionist Bachar Khalife titled “Suite Andalouse”.

Maestro Lorin Maazel directed the Orchestra Symphonica d’Italia and the Santa Cecilia Chorus in Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, the most universal musical declaration of peace and brotherhood of man as well as the only musical score that UNESCO calls a treasure for all humanity.

Conductor: Maestro Lorin Maazel; Composer: Marcel Khalife; Soloists: Bachar Khalife (req).

Photos courtesy of Sleiman Mouawad.

Rome 1

Marcel Rome

Rome 2

Marcel Rome

Marcel Khalife with Maestro

Marcel Khalifé in Beiteddine

Warm reception for an ecstatic performance

Below are photographs of Marcel Khalifé’s performance in the Beiteddine Festival in Lebanon. Photos courtesy of Jamal Saidi, Reuters.

QPO with Marcel Khalifé

Concert to raise awareness for children of Gaza

Marcel Khalifé performs inspiring Andalusian Suite to fans both old and new in Qatar. Thanks to novita77 for the vimeo video post. This is the precursor to the February 7th concert titled “Music for hte Children of Gaza”. Click here to read about the press conference that took place in Doha, Qatar.

Marcel Khalifé Performs in Tyre

Thousands of fans attend spectacular performance

Below are photographs of Marcel Khalifé’s performance in Tyre, Lebanon on July 18, 2009. Photos courtesy of Jamal Saidi, Reuters.

Spectacular show of Music & Poetry in Vienna

Marking the 60th Anniversary of UN Palestine Refugee Agency

A spectacular show of music and poetry with the legendary Lebanese musician Marcel Khalife and the Al-Mayadine Ensemble was enjoyed by hundreds of people and many UN staff in Vienna as part of an ongoing series of events around the world to mark the 60th anniversary of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) this week. The ‘Concert for Peace and Humanity’ organized by the Society for Austro-Arab Relations and sponsored by the Austrian Government and the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) had many of the audience joining in with the performers to some well-known Marcel Khalife songs. Photos courtesy of Jamal Saidi, Reuters.

The spectacle was held under the patronage of the Austrian Federal President Heinz Fischer and the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon who addressed the audience through a video message in which he spoke about the plight of the Palestine Refugees and the role of UNRWA to support them: “When UNRWA was established in 1949, no one anticipated that its humanitarian and human development work would be needed for this long. But, until there is a final settlement of the conflict, I am confident that UNRWA will continue to be a source of strength and support for millions of Palestinian refugees.”

Mr. Ban also paid tribute to the musician, Marcel Khalife for using his musical gifts to cross the boundaries of faith, race and social class. “They remind us of our shared humanity as well as our shared responsibility to build a better world,” the UN Secretary-General said.

The memorable evening held in Vienna’s famous City Hall was also attended by the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of the Palestinian Authority and the Commissioner –General of UNRWA, Karen Koning Abu Zayd. At the concert UNRWA and OFID announced the establishment of a new Scholarship Fund for Talented Palestinians which will provide higher education opportunities to Palestinian students from the West Bank, Gaza Strip and refugee camps in neighbouring countries.

Cooperation between UNRWA and OFID extends over several years and at a ceremony the following day (1 July 2009) the OFID pledged an additional 3 million dollars to the OFID Micro Enterprises for Palestine Fund (PALFUND) as well as one million dollars to the Scholarship Fund.

The events in Vienna are part of a series worldwide to commemorate the sixtieth anniversary of the establishment of UNRWA, following the 1948 Middle East war. The anniversary is an occasion for sober reflection on why an agency which was created by the international community to be ‘temporary’ is now marking its sixtieth anniversary. Over the last 60 years UNRWA has fed, housed and clothed tens of thousands of refugees and at the same time educated and offered health care to hundreds of thousands of young refugees. Today UNRWA is the main provider of basis services – education, health, relief and social services to over 4.6 million registered Palestine refugees in the Middle East.

Photos (please credit Rana Wintersteiner, OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID): and Jamal Saidi, Chief Photo Journalist for Reuters in Lebanon and Syria.