May 5, 2016, Thursday — A Russian Concert in Palmyra, Syria, Contains a Message to the West

The Diplomacy of Music

As I write this, a renowned Russian conductor is conducting an orchestral concert called “Prayer for Palmyra: Music Revives Ancient Ruins” in the ruins of the ancient desert city of Palmyra in war-torn Syria.

As I write, the music is ending.

You can see a video of the concert, which was live-streamed a few minutes ago, here.

(Note: the music begins after a speech by the conductor, and one via video by Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow, at about the 11:50 mark of this link.)

Here is an image of the Palmyra Theatre and the orchestra:


World-famous conductor Valery Gergiev, artistic director with the Symphony Orchestra of St Petersburg’s Mariinsky Theatre (he also is the principal conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra and of the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as being a strong supporter of Putin) was the conductor of his St. Petersburg orchestra, flown in from Russia, in Palmyra’s Roman Theatre.

The Russians were able to play a commemorative concert in this ancient amphitheater because Syrian forces, backed by Russian air strikes, took back Palmyra from the so-called Islamic State (IS) on March 27, a little over one month ago.

In July last year, the “Islamic State” (ISIS) posted footage online showing some of its fighters carrying out killings in the ancient theater.

Now a concert is being played there.

Steve Rosenberg of BBC News, in an analysis published today, writes from Moscow: “This is more than just about music. By organizing a concert in the ruins of Palmyra, Russia wants the world to see that it is making a positive contribution in Syria: bringing peace and stability to the country, and, in the case of Palmyra, saving a Unesco heritage site. Moscow will be hoping that images of its classical musicians in Syria will reinforce the message that Russia is a force for good…. But Western officials remain suspicious of Russia’s intentions. Moscow has faced accusations that it has not done enough to rein in Syrian government forces. The Russians deny that and accuse America of not using its influence with the Syrian opposition to halt the fighting.” (link)

Meanwhile, in the United States, President Barack Obama is preparing soon to dedicate the first national monument to the homosexual rights movement, a news report revealed on Tuesday (link).

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What is the glory of God?

“The glory of God is man alive; but the life of man is the vision of God.” —St. Irenaeus of Lyons, in the territory of France, in his great work Against All Heresies, written c. 180 A.D.

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