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  Music and War  dunkinwedd at 13:39 on 29 October 2006
 

I thought others might be interested to read Chris Green's recent article. He allowed me to reproduce it on my website so I'm sure he won't mind it appearing here:

The true value of music goes beyond the economic.

"A short break can concentrate the mind most wonderfully. A couple of weeks ago as I drove through the magnificent North Yorkshire Moors, bathed in sunshine, the radio news was all about fierce fighting between the Israelis and Hizbollah fighters around the historic temple of Baalbek in Lebanon.

This took me back to a truly memorable evening I spent there in 1960, when I was privileged to hear the great Fairuz singing her heart out under the stars, against the backdrop of the six enormous Corinthian pillars of the Temple of Jupiter. How much better a world it would be if we could all beat our swords into musical instruments and share in the wonders of our different cultural traditions rather than finding in them an excuse to engage in human conflict.

The arts in general, and music in particular, have a remarkable capacity to draw people of different origins closer together. Living in a multicultural society, as so many of us do now, it is fascinating to observe the increasing crossover between different musical traditions and to see how this is helping to break down ethnically-based social and political barriers. I find it particularly interesting that this seems to be an entirely natural process and not part of someoneís political agenda.

These may seem somewhat oblique observations to make in a FourFour editorial. However, I think there is a lesson here for politicians, civil servants and indeed all of us who work in the music industry. Perhaps itís time we recognised that the true value of music goes far beyond the current and much-heralded £3.5 billion it contributes to our national economy each year. In all its forms, music has the capacity to communicate even more powerfully than words.

Like all of you, I have listened to a great deal of music in my time, across a wide range of genres and from many parts of the world. I have been challenged, soothed, inspired, stimulated and, yes, sometimes bored or depressed, but it has never made me want to go to war."

Chris Green
Chief Executive, British Academy of Composers and Songwriters
writing in FourFour magazine September 2006