When a car packed with explosives detonated in Mansour district, famed Iraqi Maestro Karim Wasfi turned up as soldiers and police secured the area, set up his stool, took out his cello and started to play.
His impromptu perfomance gathered a crowd who stopped to watch. The people had witnessed the bombing which killed 10 people and left 27 others injured and they were awed by the playing which sent a message to the terrorists that they can not suppress the human spirit. Wasfi says that the people loved his performance. The soldiers cried and the crowd hugged and clapped.
“I was serenading the dead and wanted to show that in spite of the constant fear of terror, life is worth living,” Wasfi says. “Partially in condolence of those whom we have lost to the terror. But at the same time I wanted to send a message of peace and perseverance.”
Wasfi named his composition Baghdad Mourning Melancholy and he has since played at dozens of bombsites and refugee camps.
“I want to show that we have a choice to fight back,” he says. “We can’t surrender to this sense of impending doom by not living properly. We have to choose to live.”
In an interview with Al Jazeera, Wasfi says that the reason he played his cello is:
It’s partially the belief that civility and refinement should be the lifestyle that people should be consuming and, in order to achieve that, I think arts in general, and music in particular, is a great way to convey such a message.
It was an action to try to equalize things, to reach the equilibrium between ugliness, insanity and grotesque, indecent acts of terror – to equalize it, or to overcome it, by acts of beauty, creativity and refinement. In a world where so much healing is needed, let us start with some amazingly composed music, shall we? #Rewordit