Friday, March 13, 2009

Kumbaya, Turkish Style

I don't know what other people do on youtube, but as for myself, I listen to Turkish music. I agree with my nephew who claims this makes me either incredibly well-rounded or very weird. The travel bank is busted right now, so listening to Turkish music is as close as I will get to the Bosphorus this year.

In so doing, I stumbled across this by Turkish recording artist and heartthrob Mahsun Kirmizigul. I am not exactly sure what to make of it. The concert appears to be some sort of Can't-We-All-Just-Get-Along affair, with a large crescent, cross and star of David dangling over the stage. But what really got my attention were the dignitaries in attendance. Prime Minister Gul and wife sat with a gaggle of Turkish officials. But right next to them was Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew himself. And next to him was a clutch of Syriac and/or Armenian clergy. A Sufi religious leader was thrown in for good measure. If Jewish leaders were in attendance, they were not front and center. None of them looked particularly comfortable to be thrown together in this manner. The first stanza goes as follows:

God is everywhere that solidarity and love exist
The number of ruthless people increase every day
World is surrounded by poverty and war
What do the Scriptures say about Evil?
Those who kill, discriminate, and torture people

And then everybody sings:

Are not one of us

You get the drift. I am not making light of this, for it is a good thing. These are noble sentiments, and another example of Turkey's maturation. But I guess my point is this: the EP and other clergy (and even the Sufi) can go home after the concert. The Turkish government officials need to stick around, however, and listen to the song a few more times. Maybe the message will sink in.

So, check it out. There are English subtitles for those whose Turkish is a bit rusty.

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