You almost feel ashamed to discuss the statements made by some of the March 14 self-proclaimed theoreticians who sent Fairouz to an early grave and threatened not to listen to her again, accusing her of collaborating with the Baathist regime. Whether those have ever ceased to play the symphonies and songs performed by pro-Israel artists is something nobody can tell. As for the advocating positions expressed by the leftists and the secularists in support of Ziad’s statement, those are also worthy of being questioned and debated, for all that has been written to extol the virtues of Fairouz and Ziad has failed to attend to some of the most paramount aspects of the Diva’s life and the life of any nation: art, liberty and music. Here, it is worthwhile to quote Antoun Saadeh who, however strange some people might find it, offered great insight on the relation between music and politics:

“..Because he (the musician or the political leader) is a man heedful of the innate virtues of liberty, peace and love rooted inside his people. He never aims for political goals, but instead, sets for loftier and more useful destinations. He is someone who views the political flurry as trivial, when not grounded on a sturdy spirit inculcated into the core of all individuals, men and women, young and old, through vivid literature and music capable of uniting all emotions under one superior banner. This way, people would have common social faith based on love, which, when found within the entire nation, may give rise to phenomenal cooperation and compassion that fills life with hope and vigor. Only then will political effort become productive because the patriotism built on archaic and worn-out traditions remains forever fruitless, even if it yields political freedom…”.

Why are those who believe staunchly in the power of music and wish to praise Ziad, Fairouz and the resistance, reluctant to relay to Sayyed the perplexity that his supporters suffer when confronted with questions challenging the wisdom in banning music, or at least some of it? And why don’t we put the matter of political jihad, which Antoun Saadeh has deemed futile if devoid of literature, art and music, up for debate? Why can’t we see Fairouz on Manar TV?

How is the new “unity” Cabinet related to music? The genius of our political leaders has been fixated for years on playing musical chairs to the sound of a distorted symphony played by a maestro from outside the stage; a game where players are pointlessly racing to sit down on the chairs, shuffling from one seat to the next for fear of being eliminated from the game.

It is to be hoped that this new Cabinet, which consists of bitter rivals, will serve as a lesson to all the Lebanese, bringing to their attention that, in the game of politics, Zu’ama fall out, then reconcile heedless of the wishes and wants of the people they represent. So let us all chant with Fairouz as she sings Gebran Khalil Gebran’s

“..When love beckons to you, follow him,

Though his ways are hard and steep.

And when his wings enfold you yield to him,

Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you.”

And let us all recall these words when the maestro switches his musical notes and when the tambourine is perforated and the party is over.

Jawad N. Adra