Insieme per il Magnificat, un miracolo

Like “Bomb of Peace”, “Insieme per Magnificat”, or “Together for the Magnificat” is the latest buzz phrase to rally attention and money in Italy, mainly so their alleged peaceful students  can move out of the perennially flooding basement and to the “nuova sede” (new seat) that only requires a few more million Euro. This could have happened at any time by a simple act of the Custody of the Holy Land that runs the school and in fact has a posh hall with a new grand piano for the use of their about 100 students.

People are funny though.  Or maybe Italians are plain stupid.  Or maybe they believe ANYTHING coming from a person wearing a cassock. Or maybe they this is their chance to be attached to something “holy” — and what could have more prestige than a music school making “peace” in the Terra Sancta through music?

Yeah, and I’m Napoleon. If we all say that “insieme” then I can be anyone, Mother Teresa, and be in line for beatification after I get the Nobel Prize.

If they are stupid enough to give peace prizes to a monk who SAYS he is making peace though, with ONLY a handful of Jews and Moslems that EVER passed through the place, and there is NO evidence that the school was/is especially kind to them, let alone “making peace”, then they are stupid enough to blank out ANY of the facts, not to demand an account of ALL incoming and outgoing funds.

But PLEASE be informed, Anconians, Senigallians, or whatever you call yourselves, the peace initiatives are ONLY for your personal consumption, for YOU to believe that your little farm boy made it good in the Holy Land, WHEN IN FACT NO ONE ELSE THERE WOULD EVEN RECOGNIZE IT, and would probably even spit at the very idea, except of course, if they have something to gain like free trips, multiple scholarships and maybe a blessing from the Franciscans.

The so-called “miracle” being packaged and sold to you is a horse-trader’s miracle of food going into the horse’s mouth and coming out the other end as manure.  Besides being unintelligent and naive, you must all have parmeggiano stuffed in your ears as well, not to be bothered by bad music-making, out of tune singing with poor diction.

Just to inform you farmers, music schools like Juilliard, Santa Cecilia, the Royal School promote themselves indirectly, that is, by the QUALITY of their products. This is a normal consequence of free-market activity. Instead, the representatives of the Franciscan propaganda and self-promotion machine  sell you a bad egg and say how great it is. 

Rai Uno, Italian TV Channel One, had this interesting clip on March 7th.

Paolo Notari:  “Questo frate francescano in questa terra, gerusalemme, a FATTO UN MIRACOLO…proveniento di varie etnie…senza preclusione per cosa?”

Peace Monk: “per fare musica insieme…vengono di tutto mondo…il megliore parte d’europa

Paolo Notari “tante donne suonano insieme, cantano insieme e divertono insieme senza pensare di proprie origine…”

Peace Monk:  (heh, heh) “stanno nella gioia e nella serenità

Usually journalists are supposed to check their facts (at least in the civilized world) and even TV announcers. Paolo Notari said that “this Franciscan father has made a MIRACLE…they come from various ethinic backgrounds without precondition (or prejudice) to do what?

Peace Monk: : to make music together

Paolo Notari: So many women come together, play together, sing together and enjoy together without thinking of their respective origins

Peace Monk:  (heh, heh) standing in joy and serenity.

The above is pure garbage. The only miracle here is one of self-promotion. How does one get “so many women” out of only a handful of teachers, most of them not from Europe, unless the farmers in that part of Italy haven’t learned to count their sheep beyond single digits.

Or it can be an allusion to the miracle of  “loaves and fishes” (many from a few) that some ethnic groups (but who really cares, anyway, these days?) are “singing together”.  But I would not carry this analogy any further, since I feel  it is indecent to use  the credibility of religion in order to support one’s conceits. **

First of all, teachers get PAID to teach.  Take the money out of the equation and see how much joy and serenity will remain. As for the latter,  there is no such thing anywhere in this world, but if you are stupid enough to believe it, continue to shell out your money to improve Vatican property, and don’t expect any transparency or accountability.

I only have one question to ask those full of joy and serenity, are they the students that remain after others leave because of shouting and undue pressure? In other words, those who stand to benefit from multiple scholarships and trips abroad and would be SO HAPPY to corroborate anything that is said about the place?

Quite frankly, the behavior of the Catholic Church in the Holy Land is despicable.* They have more than enough money to make a music school without cheap and misleading propaganda.  One doesn’t need a magnifying glass to recognize their blatant contradictions.  Israeli Jewish students were NOT admitted to the Tavasani Competition 2009,  held at the Magnificat (update: and has been the guiding tradition for the succeeding piano contests in 2010 and 2011.)

The bottom line though is WHY all this hysteria and propaganda about ONLY a few non-Palestinian students or teachers who happened to pass through there? Why do they need a basketball team to support them? Why all of this PR, that incidentally costs GOOD MONEY and could be very well put to better use for those who are actually in need and not well to do Jerusalemites, who incidentally didn’t give a damn during the abovementionedcompetition that their West Bank brothers and sisters could not cross over the wall due to added restrictions in January, 2009, because of the Gaza conflict ?

Oh, just by chance, their own students grabbed most of the prizes.  No conflict of interest here. The biggest joke was the daughter of one of the administrators getting a “Premio di Roma” when there were only a handful of competitors for all of 12 places.

And did I forget the punch line, the peace monk was the HEAD of the jury!!!

“Insieme” for spreading around euphoria–now chant together:

“The Emperor’s clothes are SO beautiful and his GREAT INITIATIVE  is making PEACE in the HOLY LAND .” ***

*To be fair, there are still intelligent and responsible voices in Italy:         

My hopes are that such people will prevail and not those used to taking as Bible truth anything that the clergy says or does.  Being subject to scrutiny is a consequence of the free market. So let the sunlight in!!!

** One of the more disgraceful, outrageous trends by them these days is to invoke Divine help for the school–“prega per noi”, “un catene di preghiera” (“pray for us”, “a prayer chain”).  Scripture itself gives the remedy for misusing religion:  “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap” (Galatians 6:7).

***  More miracles of self-promotion over nothing:

Unica nel suo genere, promuove lo studio della musica offrendo una preparazione professionale, ma è soprattutto un luogo di dialogo e di educazione alla pacificaconvivenza, dove bambini e ragazzi musulmani, cristiani ed ebrei studiano assieme accumunati dalla reciproca passione per la musica…
Il Magnificat costituisce un piccolo miracolo poiché dalla sua nascita, che risale a più di 16 anni fa, si è sviluppato e vive essenzialmente grazie a generosi donatori esterni…
La scuola in questo momento ospita oltre 200 giovani allievi e circa 18 professori, con un successo crescente.

Here’s their own translation:

The only one of its kind, it promotes the study of music, offering a professional preparation, but, above all, a place of dialogue and of education in peaceful coexistence, where children and young Muslim, Christian, and Jewish youths  (where, how many???)study together united by their common passion for the art of music.
The Magnificat constitutes a little miracle because, from its birth, which took place more than 16 years ago, it has grown and lives, essentially, thanks to generous outside donors…
At the moment, the school hosts over 200 young students and about 18 professors, with growing success.

It’s a real miracle to get 200 students out of about 100.  

It’s a real miracle to extract ”peace” from a particularly poisonous atmosphere, shouting and undue pressure being routine.

And as for “one of its kind” probably the ONLY music school that constantly praises itself, especially in its questionable peace acheivements, instead of objectively reporting activities and concerts and letting others be the judges.

Otherwise, “diversity” (if that is what they were referring to – a unique music school  that does not discriminate, because the implication that all the others do) is simply a fact of life in ANY school, college, university in Israel.  Jews, Arabs, foreigners study and work together in the country without fanfare in much higher proportions of different ethinicities and religions than the Magnificat and don’t use this mundane pretext to raise money and regale oneself with medals, honorariums and peace prizes. 

The Custody Choir on youtube is about the worst on the internet:×8

The so-called “arrangements” don’t help either, childish and unmusical harmonizations of Arabic music.


2 Responses to “Insieme per il Magnificat, un miracolo”

  1. Markus Graves Says:

    I have read your various comments regarding the Custody and the Magnificat Institute, and I feel, knowing personally the Custody and the Magnificat Institute and the persons that work for it, that corrections need to be made to your statements.

    I understand that you may feel frustrated, after the Magnificat Institute unfortunately had to stop collaborating with you essentially because you did not consider broadening your students’ education by having them follow classes also with other teachers (as Daniel Baremboim had advised at least for one student).

    Since then, I notice from your cabbagejuice correspondence at almost every public initiative of the Magnificat, you write negative statements about the school and the Custody.

    The Magnificat, as I know it, is a reality. As every human experience, it has its ups and downs, its strengths and weaknesses. But it is an authentic experience, and so is the spirit of its employees and of the Custody.

    If Peace is an ideal you seek yourself, why create this war? Is there not enough of this around us in this Holy Land?

    With my very best and warmest regards

    Markus Graves

  2. cabbagejuice Says:

    First of all there is no vailidity at all in the statement above from a person who is writing under an assumed name. So whatever he meant by “collaboration” is equally invalid. It is a misuse of such a word to replace the normal terms of “hiring” and /or “firing”.

    It is interesting though that “collaboration” has mainly negative connotations in English, one being to collaborate with an enemy of his country during wartime. How appropriate in a place where people up to and including the highest levels, collaborate not to contradict the fiction that peace is being made as long as the money is rolling in, where students are bought off to disrespect their teachers, deny their work and commitment, so they can go on peace trips eventually (after absorbing a certain amount of manipulation and even humiliation.)

    As for your abovementioned eminent musician, Mr. Daniel Barenboim, you might consider presenting your genius compositions for such a person to include in his concerts. A review or two might help to establish musical credibility:

    As for moral credibility, babelfish can be useful for translation:

    For English speakers the above “gli ebrei spariranno” means the “Jews will disappear”, published by the editor of Terra Santa Magazine, the now celebrated peace monk. In 13 years only a few authentic Jews have ever passed through the Magnificat, so some people in Italy considered this enough to make him an honored citizen and regale him with prizes.
    What idiots.

    No teacher in his right mind would ever agree to have his work taken by others and credit given to them. In fact, it is a form of STEALING. This can be discussed OPENLY if you want and any other FACT you care to dispute, like students wanting to study with a good teacher for a change, but were refused by the administration. Being too smart might be a threat to the tin ears over there. But more seriously, some people are more politically acceptable than others. Reining in Jews is high priority, and bragging all over creation about it. It’s really pathetic when a person starts believing his own concocted propaganda.

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