For the last 12 years Daniel Barenboim has used his musical reputation to push for peace between Israel and its neighbours.
This 68-year-old Argentine-born Jew, and holder of a Palestinian passport, had previously taken his music to the West Bank, but now he has broken fresh ground, crossing from Egypt into Gaza to play with his “Orchestra for Gaza”, consisting of 25 handpicked musicians from the top ensembles in Europe.
“My goal is that all people in this region reconsider. I think after the revolution in Egypt and the nuclear disaster in Japan everyone is forced to reconsider,” says Barenboim.
Gaza has never seen anything like the quality of entertainment on show, even if power cuts occasionally crashed the party. Everyone present said it was a great event for Gaza.
“I study music myself. We have always wished for an orchestra to come. It was beautiful,” said Bal al-Ghussien.
“Oh, the conductor’s Israeli? I don’t care, I have come to listen to him,” said Amer Abdul Laitf.
More than 300 people packed the tiny venue, organised in part thanks to Barenboim’s UN peace ambassador’s credentials.