useless and silly show in Beit Shean

Monks in silver robes, out of tune choral singing, bad piano arrangements, shrill “operatic” renditions, a mish-mash of amateurism that wouldn’t pass the first rungs of “America’s (or Britain’s) Got Talent” was hyped up by mainly the Italian press to be a “Concert of Reconciliation”.  This event, held in an out of the way Beit Shean, May 13, 2009 was hardly noticed by the locals.

Presumably, the Papal visit itself didn’t want or need to be dragged down to the level of cheap pop promotion.  If the purpose of the event were to get so many “Hebrew, Muslim and Christian” families travelling from far off parts of the country, in the middle of the work and school week, to view it, what was the purpose of  the MC’s speaking mainly Italian and Hebrew, except for the benefit of busloads of tourists to come and fill up the chairs?

English, at least,  could have been used as non-discriminatory language understood by most of the locals. But “Peace” initiatives of the Holy Land Consortiums are mainly to impress foreigners, and hopefully for them to donate money, money, money while giving them warm feelings in return. Other benefits are fame for the organizers and career boosters for aspirant performers. (A karaoke-type “O Sole Mio” is good enough for the natives!)

This extravaganza is yet another milestone in a string of self-promotional activities, albeit much more expensive, based on the silly and useless premise of “making peace through music”.

«L’idea di fare qualcosa per il dialogo mi è nata du­rante una visita in Terra Santa nel dicembre scor­so, quando mi sono trovato nel mezzo della Guer­ra di Gaza» racconta Porcelli. «Il desiderio di con­tribuire in qualche modo al dialogo si è concretiz­za una volta confermato il viaggio del Papa in I­sraele. Mi sono chiesto: perché non provare a fare un piccolo passo con un concerto per la riconci­liazione tra ebrei e musulmani, visto che la gente comune di entrambe le parti desidera la pace, ma è sfiduciata da anni di guerre?». Porcelli racconta di avere espresso la sua idea al direttore di Sat2000 Dino Boffo, al portavoce della Santa Sede padre Federico Lombardi e a padre Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Custode di Terrasanta, trovando subito ap­poggio all’iniziativa. Al concerto assisteranno 7.000 persone, tra queste «tante famiglie ebree, musulmane e cristiane».

“The idea to make something for dialogue was born to me during a visit in the Holy Land last December, when I was found in the midst of the War of Gaza” says Porcelli. “Desire to contribute in some way to the dialogue was made concrete once the visit the Pope in Israel was confirmed.  I asked myself: Why not to try and make a small step with a concert for the reconciliation between Jews and Muslims, since common people of both the parts wish peace, but are bereft of faith from years of wars?”

Porcelli tells of having expressed his idea to the director of Sat2000, Dino Boffo, to the spokesman of the Holy See, Father Federico Lombardi and to Father Pierbattista Pizzaballa, the Custodian of the Terra Santa, and found quickly the support for the initiative. At the  concert will assist 7,000 persons, between these “many Hebrew, muslim and Christian families”.


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