Thursday, July 20, 2006

With all the divisiveness in the world right now, it is inspiring to see writers making bridges. Writers from North and South Korea are banding together to create a single Korean literary organization.. I love how art and writing can break down the artificial barriers people create to keep each other apart.

I am also grateful that art and writing can serve as acts of witness during such difficult times. Mazen Kerba, an artist and musician in Beirut, has been keeping a blog documenting his experience of the current conflict (incorporating his drawings and the music he has composed to go with the sound of bombs). While I and other readers appreciate having this window into Beirut life, Kerba is struggling with his own balance between witnessing and art...
anyways, music and drawing are the only things keeping me going these days. i recorded two hours of bombs + trumpet from my balcony yesterday night. some bombs were really close (what kind of mouthpiece do the israeli pilots use to have this sound?). the tension you get in your playing is incredible. also, i draw all time. i always said that i regret not being adult during the war to see if you can do something in these situations. now i feel bad to draw or play music while people are burning. i convince myself by saying it is my only way to resist. that i have to witness. that it is very important. but i am not really convinced. i try to be a fucking witness. to show a little bit what's happening here. in my own way. but having regards for what is a good drawing or a good music track drives me crazy. i cannot stop saying after a bomb: "yeah, this one was huge. i'll leave a long silence then make a small sound to balance the track." this is totally crazy!
It may be crazy, but it makes sense that an artist would not want to let go of his craft even in the midst of such chaos. I hope Kerba will continue to share his art so that we can share in the lived human experience of this horrible war.

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