Kings We Are, with Wings of Dust (6)
Memories of the Shalom Salam Tour
by Anis Hamadeh
- August 2004 -
Chapter 6: Berlin
In the Stefan's
On Criticism of the Tour
This was the Tour
In the Stefan's
(Tuesday, May 25, 2004)
I stood on the little balcony on the third floor above the Stefan's, a coffehouse with a confectioner's shop, and looked at the street corner below me. Berlin. By now I like the city. In former times I found it terrible, because of the island atmosphere, the accent, and the dirty streets. But since one or two years I have come here more regularly. At first it was Kulturattac, then a Palestine conference where I met some Berlin Arabs. Then Shalom-Salam, the agreement talks and rehearsals. The first solo appearance of my life in Berlin would take place this evening down in the coffeehouse: "Clouds in the Heads. Satires and songs". I had just finished playing for some hours on the guitar, rehearsing. For a long time I had not been playing and singing with such patience, it was liberating. Now I was writing the diary. My arrival was yesterday already. Stefan was so friendly as to offer me this apartment for the duration of the stay. This was also easier for Gabriella and Ithay, as I would have gone to them otherwise. Tomorrow was the finale of the tour, in the Daimler Chrysler Building at the Potsdamer Platz. Although I was put up here in the center of the city, on Olivaer Square at the Kurfürstendamm there was a pleasant air of calm and seclusion in the apartment.
Stefan, who I have never asked for his surname, is an uncomplicated man with style. For some years he has been running his coffeehouse and although there is a lot to do and although it is not always easy he knows how to live. From time to time there are cultural events in the Stefan's, like today. I came into the room with the guitar. They are basically two rooms. I was sitting in a way that most of the people could see me. A part of the audience sat around the corner and only heard my voice over the speakers. It is strange when you cannot see your audience but still feel it. Not many people came for the appearance, but the ones, who were there, were important to me. The thing was that Alex Elsohn from Givat Haviva for this day had wished a dinner together to celebrate the end of the tour, as he was bound to take a plane tomorrow right after the concert. This meal was scheduled to happen after my appearance. So most of the people from the tour came together: Dagmar Schmidt with her friendly assistent, the journalist Martin Forberg, Bettina Hildebrand from the Institute for Human Rights, Alex and Stefan, Michael Krebs was there and other friends. The dish was... sparagus. I don't know how often I had sparagus during the journey, but I could not get enough of it, anyway. It was May, the sparagus month. Such a pity that the Duo Rubin could not attend! But they had even more dates and obligations, and they also have a son. And tomorrow the finale. It was a full program indeed.
So now I was on stage again. First I had to get acquainted with the acoustics and the room. Then it became an increasing pleasure to read and sing in front of exactly this audience. I had the opportunity to show a wide range of my artistic work, much more than in Shalom-Salam. Played some blues, read satires like "The Prince on the Melon" and "The Monkey with the Banjo". Somewhere along the line I ran out of songs, but the people wanted to hear more songs. There I started to sing the Palestinian Song which I had not planned to play at all. "Ich bin Palästinenser, und ich suche den Bremser. Ich gehe auf die Straße, und ich sag es laut".
(I am Palestinian and I am looking for the brakeman, I go out on the street and I say it loud.)
The song has only two chords and belongs to the joke songs which I have. The melody is - without directly being inspired by it - a bit similar to a part in "Coconut Woman" by Harry Belafonte, who I admire a lot, (for example the passage: "Take some coconut water, it is good for your daughter"). "Ich stehe am Fenster und zähle Gespenster. Ich bin Palästinenser in meiner Haut."
(I am standing at the window and count ghosts. I am Palestinian in my skin.)
When I sang it I unintentionally concentrated on Alex who is Israeli. "Ich bin kein Israeli, und ich komm nicht aus Neu Delhi, ich bin Palästinenser, und ich sag es laut." (I am not an Israeli and I don't come from New Delhi, I am Palestinian and I say it loud.) What might he think about it? He grinned. He also still talked with me afterwards. "Ich war in Camp David und hielt es fürn Fortschritt. Ich war auch in Oslo und hab drauf vertraut."
(I have been to Camp David and thought it was a progress, I also have been to Oslo and put my trust in it.)
Never before had I sung this song in front of Israelis or Jews. I never thought about it, either, when I wrote it. "Rock'n'Roll Palästinenser, wo ist der Bremser? Wie sag ichs nur den Kindern, wie sag ichs meiner Braut?"
(Rock'n'Roll Palestinian, where is the brakeman? How can I tell it to the children, how to my bride?")
At the moment I am working on an English version: I am Palestinian and I have an opinion...
The first time that I really talked with Alex was in a bakery in Halle, over a cup of coffee. I was interested to know more about his attitudes towards life and his opinions. He is a diplomatic man, and must be, otherwise he could not do this job. In the Stefan's we also had some conversations. But there was still a lot left to talk about. He surely is a deep water and it is hard to characterize him after only few encounters. The distance between us, at any rate, had not been long right from the start and I never had reason to distrust him. He told me about the Haviva Reik Peace Prize which was to be awarded to Daniel Barenboim at the end of June and he asked me if I liked to participate in it together with the Duo Rubin in the cultural program of the prize award in the Sorat hotel. Daniel Barenboim! This was a big honor. There are quite some things I owe to Alex Elsohn.
On Criticism of the Tour
It was around the end end of the tour that I forwarded Alex Elsohn a mail by a critical spectator from Cologne. She criticized that the introductory word of the Duo Rubin (see Chapter 1) is one-sided, because it started with Palestinian violence. Also the fact that DaimlerChrysler sponsored us was part of her critique, as was Givat Haviva's credibility. My answer to the criticism of the word of the Duo Rubin was that the authentic event at the Vadi Ara was the motif for their initiative to begin with. Thus it was completely legitimate that they freely uttered their perceptions. I did it likewise myself and had written a press info to utter my perceptions, and now this book as a summary to reach my inner balance. As this critique also dealt with Givat Haviva and principle questions I forwarded the mail with my reply so that Alex Elsohn had the opportunity to respond to it. He devoted himself to this mail in detail and wrote among other things: "The central activities of Givat Haviva concern the pragmatic work with the civil population in many different areas of education. This automatically leads to closer ties with organisations like Chalonot, Reut/Sadaka etc. and rather free contacts under the roof of the 'peace coalition' with organisations like Taayush, Women Link, Peace Now etc."
Concerning DaimlerChrysler, this was a precedent. There were individuals there who supported our project, especially Shlomo Ben Hur who is held in hight esteem by the Duo Rubin. Michael Krebs had met the critical lady live before the show in Cologne. He had told her that the whole tour would not have been possible without DaimlerChrysler. And that there hardly could be a better investment than Shalom Salam. When the name DaimlerChrysler appeared for the first time I asked Jürgen Grässlin from the Armament Information Office, for I wanted to make sure that our sponsor does not deliver any armament to one of the sides of the conflict, be it directly or indirectly. This was necessary just like the readiness from my part to be grateful and loyal vis-á-vis DaimlerChrysler concerning the tour. Of course without denying myself. As a liberal individual I am convinced that the different forces of society should cooperate and keep in touch so that social peace can be kept or established, respectively. This may sound a little far out, but I had to confront myself with these questions and had to develop principles to make solid decisions regarding the capitalist side of the world. During my membership in Kulturattac the role of sponsors in the cultural field had been a central issue and I had been dealing with the matter for a longer time before. I did not have a bad feeling about the cooperation with DaimlerChrysler, because there were no conditions involved about what I had to do and what I had to leave. After the consideration of all relevant factors the positive impulses for a cooperation in my assessment exceeded by far.
My own values are spiritual, I do not take material things as a measure. For me as a songwriter and poet inspiration plays a decisive role. The exploration of trances and inspiration lets you see and understand the world in an alternative way. Shalom Salam is not material for me, even if on the surface it was about the raising of material funds. (I did, by the way, receive a certain sum for the tour. This had been necessary, because otherwise I would not have been able to myke a living during that time. Besides, it would have been an exaggeration if the artists did not get anything. People would have taken us less seriously.) While our main sponsor, i.e. DC, covered expenses like advertisement and rents the entrance money went directly to Givat Haviva as a donation. From a spiritual point of view the following chain of thoughts went through my head: What are they doing with the money mainly? They maintain a cultural center. What is the main purpose of this cultural center? The understanding between Jews and Palestinians. This is not a material end. On the subject "pop and commerce" the German newspaper "taz" two years ago printed one of my reader's mails in which there is an explanation of what I mean by different values:
"Pop and Commerce, Subject: "The Signs of the Riot", taz from 4. 5. 02. The thesis that pop is a profane economy good is interesting to me. It seems to me as if this was rather the point-of-view of the soberly reflecting journalist. When John wrote 'Revolution' he wrote pop music, and he knew that, because he felt it. The song is genuine and can inherently be understood as being genuine. That people later would make commerce with it, even John himself, has nothing to do with that. The materialistic side of Rock'n'Roll altogether seems to be a sort of children's ailment, caused by the loss of former values like obedience and force and by gaining freedom and fun as new values through the creation of pop. It is difficult to separate freedom and fun from the material, even for inspired pop artists. The material also serves to connect the artist with the values of his surroundings. But commerce by itself in my definiton is not pop, it is only the material proof of its fitness in a world which does not acknowledge other proofs."
And what about Givat Haviva now? I still was not able to really develop a detailed opinion. How did the participants deal with the conflict? This was a basic problem I thought about often. There is the talk of the so-called "two narratives", the two historical views in the Middle East conflict. I regard this issue as a good starting-point, because I aspire to reach the synthesis of the two narratives, or, in my terminology out of cognitive philosophy: the two scenarios or frameworks. For what is the difference between "two narratives" and war? Isn't this the war that there are two historical positions which seemed incompatible? Basically, every conflict can be described as the manifestation of two narratives. We need the synthesis.
Later I read in the newspaper about another project between Jews and Arabs, also connected with Givat Haviva. It is called "Crossing Borders" and the Süddeutsche Zeitung reported about it on July 10, 2004 on page 3 (Marcus Jauer). It is about an inter-cultural newspaper project in a context with a "Berlin Middle East Youth Summit". Jauer concludes: "When they are back home, Hillel, Naama, Rawya and Amani want to tell that the others, who they had met here, are humans, too, not only Palestinians or Israelis." This surely is a constructive approach. In a second conclusion it reads: "The Israeli and the Palestinian coordinators of the project had made some changes so that the text now appeared more balanced. But it is still one shared text and in it there are two views on the very same thing."
To stop here would in my estimation mean to not solve the conflict. It means the coexistance of contradicting items, it means schizophrenia. I had already dealt with this matter in the globalisation critical movement Attac. Of course there are different historical views, but there is only one human right. For it, Danton died in the French Revolution, for the one standard which could be valid for everybody. So the Palestinian journalist Hakam Abdel-Hadi in an email on the above-mentioned Crossing Borders Project the following note: "On July 7, 2004 the Axel Springer publishing house ('Bild am Sonntag') asked in for a so-called Middle East Youth Summit which took place in Berlin. In this 'summit' 21 young people from Palestine, Jordan and Israel participated. The idea is supported by the Jewish Arab peace center Givat Haviva and the international students' journal CROSSING BORDERS (CB). With the help of the assistents of the publishing house and CB, which was founded by the International People`s College in the year 1994 in Denmark, the young people were to produce a new edition of the CB journal in the publishing house within one week. (...) During the three hours of debate the following thought came to my mind: How significant are such events? Is their main purpose to make publicity for the sponsors or to ease the conscience of the not really peace promoting German and European forgein policies? Do such encounters bring the yearned for peace a little closer to the two peoples? (...) In my opinion such encounters and efforts will have little results, if the cardinal question does not stand in the focus of all talks: What do we have to do that the almost 40 years of Israeli occupation, the major cause of all wrong, will be ended as soon as possible? In Germany and Europe, too, this question has to be highlighted, if Berlin and Brussels honestly want to mediate between the two sides. Everything else for me is fake."
This above is not about scenarios or narratives. The end of the occupation is not a narrative, but the establishment of international law. What I do not believe is that the occupation is the "major cause", let alone "of all wrong". The occupation is already a consequence of the conflict. Nevertheless I principally agree with Mister Abdel-Hadi. The end of the occupation today means the beginning of peace, because it implies a change in the Israeli mentality. It is an asymmetrical conflict and it has no equally entitled participants. The Palestinians do not have the power to end the conflict, this can only the Israelis and Jews. This is also why in my work I mostly quote Jews and Israelis and not, for example, the excellent Palestinian thinkers and politicians Haidar Abdel Shafi, Hanan Ashrawi, Mustafa Barghouti, Azmi Bishara, Sumaya Farhat-Naser. Those latter, according to experience, are not listened to in the German and in the international public in a comparable way, because the things they say contradict the idealized image of Israel and thus have a rather irritating and disturbing effect on leading participants of the discourse.
The cause of the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians/Arabs is the fact that rights of Jews stand higher than the human right which in turn is due to the horror of the Holocaust. Arab aggressions are not the cause. It is rather so that the public mainstream distrusts the complaints about the human rights, suspecting anti-Israeli affairs behind them. This means a devaluation of the human rights and the UN. Here is an example out of the Süddeutsche Zeitung from the same day on which it had reported about "Crossing Borders" (July 10, 2004). There it calls the UN General Assembly on the front page "philo-Palestinian in tendency". In order to keep the narrative and the camp thinking established the SZ judges according to the measure of groups, not the measure of the situation. A narrative needs an ego perspective, the human right needs a universal perspective. Stefan Ulrich writes on July 22, 2004 in the same paper on page 4 in the article: "Demanding, but fair. Why Israel in the wall controvery this time must not complain about the United Nations" the words: "Indeed does the General Assembly like herself in the role of ritually punishing the small country. It is easy to find majorities for this among the 191 UN member states. For in blaming Israel one can so wonderfully bundle anti-American, anti-Western, anti-colonial anti-capitalist prejudices." It is easy to detect who is the one with the prejudice. The SZ, after all the biggest of the quality papers in Germany with more than a million daily readers, apparently believes in a global diplomatic conspiracy or plot against Israel and against the West with its capitalism. Such assessments like the one of the SZ are inevitable whenever the decisions are based on a specific camp and not on the democratic order and international law.
Concerning negative or even rejecting criticism of the Shalom Salam tour, there was little. But maybe Gabriella and Ithay and the other participants have made different experiences in this respect, in the preparation time, for instance. I am also sure that there will have been some Arabs who would see priorities for fundraising other than Givat Haviva, or who are less confident. This is normal, you can never please everybody. Important is that one is feeling alright with the thing one is doing and that one does not do it without reflection.
(May 26, 2004)
Michael Krebs and me had breakfast in the Stefan's and after that strolled over the Kurfürstendamm right around the corner. I bought some newspapers, because today several papers had written about us. An exciting life. So now DaimlerChrysler. First we had to find it at all. In a parking house at the Potsdamer Platz we noticed that there were diverse Daimler Chrysler buildings around. The movie "The Sky Over Berlin" came to my mind, the monologue at the Potsdamer Platz. It is one of my favorite movies. The whole quarter resembled a movie setting a little. I had never been here before. It seemed to be a pure working and entertainment quarter. Uninhabited, but crowded with people. Some streets later then we found it.
We entered a representative, high atrium with a stage at the back of which a huge screen was attached. Technicians passed us by. Gabriella already played on the piano. Unmistakably. Behind the piano three flags were exhibited: the Israeli one, the Palestinian one, and in the middle the one of DaimlerChrysler. I liked that. I saw the black white green flag with the red triangle on the left side, it was the Palestinian flag. During the whole tour I did not see it. It was the first time I saw the two flags next to each other to begin with. It was amazing: I accepted the Israeli one. Normally, the blue and white of the Israeli flag is not a positive symbol for me, because I associate expulsion and occupation with it. But this time the negative associations got neutralized by the other flag. My first impression was positive.
Some men in expensive suits passed us by. Cameras were positioned. I cordially greeted Gabriella and Ithay and we told each other about all the things that had happened during the past days. Then we went and prepared the CD and book table. All the pieces of the Duo Rubin, which were played on the tour, are available on a CD, of course also now, after the tour. The title of the CD is: "On Tour" and it was produced shortly before the tour at the label Genuin in Germany. In the hall, everything seemed to be excellently organized. We made a soundcheck. Several technicians coordinated that. I talked nonsense into the microphone until the acoustics were properly adjusted. Michael went through the corridor in the middle between the lines of the seats to the rear of the hall to check the speakers. A solemn atmosphere. Young security men with young-security-men-haircuts stood behind the stage and the screen. Ithay and me played through "Wie oft". A young woman from DC accompanied us to the dressing room on the first or second floor. We had coffee and read the newspapers.
Through a window we were able to look down on the hall which gradually became filled with people. I watched the audience which in turn was also able to see us when they looked up and had a close look. I saw Alex Elsohn and Dagmar Schmidt, the people who had also been to the Stefan's the day before, and there was Jörn! My buddy Jörn. I was happy that he came. I met him in Kulturattac and have visited him several times since, whenever I was in Berlin. With him one can talk about the three important things in life: art, politics, and women. Now he had discovered us and answered my waving signs. Gabriella showed me Shlomo Ben-Hur and his wife Frau Robin, who had already taken their seats. They were the ones who had convinced DC to support Shalom-Salam. Without Mr. Ben-Hur (, whom I did not really meet and talk to, as I noticed afterwards with regret,) all this would not have been possible.
All this together admittedly got a bit exciting and I became a little nervous. So I did my usual tripping about in the dressing room while Gabriella was doing the same on the other side of the room. Ithay played his extra wrong notes for relaxation, Gabriella said: "Stop that now", and Ithay produced another particularly squeaky sound. That was all completely normal. In between we had some visitors, among them also Mr. Ben-Hur, and from time to time the young coordinator from Daimler popped in for briefings on final details. Then we descended. My guitar was ready in the bag behind the stage. They would bring it to the stage for the last song. Ithay had his cello always with him. OK, now one more deep breath, and action...
From the welcoming applause we could tell that a numerous audience has gathered together here. We looked from the stage into the audience. They were more than threehundred and hardly any seats left. Some of the visitors were dressed up, a few even super serious. I, too, always wore a suit on stage, it was adequate. Gabriella held the short welcome speech and turned over to the film while Ithay and me took our seats in the front row. It was a relief that the technical things had been perfectly arranged, one could just live the performance and did not have to worry about anything. The screen was huge, the sound excellent. Now I see you for the last time in the near future, I thought while looking at the young people in the film. Could they relate to what we were doing here? Would they have questions if they met us? Would we have questions? If they celebrated together like there in the documentary, was I able to celebrate with them? Yes, I think so. One day.
The film was over, Ithay entered the stage. The Duo Rubin played the Meditation by Alberto Hemsi. They were good. Ithay has an astonishing ambition. Both have, Gabriella, too. I know from Ithay that he used to be a professional sportsman, a swimmer, and that he had achieved quite a lot in this discipline in Israel. It was quite a decision for him to choose music. His father also is a cellist and they get along well with each other. Despite or because of this fact, I don't know. I think that he has a strong need to unfold, similar to me, and that he had been searching until he found the discipline which fulfilled him most. Similar to the way I started with chess, then carambolage billiards, then Islamic Studies and finally art, where I have arrived. Gabriella also has a second talent, she draws and paints. Concerning the unfolding issue the medium is moreorless secondary. You can even put it into a simple tea ceremony, like in Zen. I think Zen would be something for Ithay.
After the musical piece I entered the stage, made my introduction and then read out of "We Both Want to Live Here." I had gotten myself a couple of current books on the subject in the preparation time of the tour and had chosen this one, because it is close to life and it shows the conflict in an authentic way. It is about the young generation and the intellectual and emotional worlds young people live in. The opinions are quite frank, reflected, with a good deal of authentic innoscense in them, and yet in a manner which potentially remains attackable, without diplomatic twists. There were some passages which did not please Ithay so I deleted them in the course of the tour, for it was important that all participants were comfortable with the texts. Actually, I have even deleted a couple of additional lines in the readings, which Ithay had not mentioned but of which I was certain that if he did not want the other quotes he would surely not want these, either. It was the part where Odelia says: "A racist is the last thing I want to be. But when you are really afraid then you don't think about whether you are feeling or acting 'intolerantly'; you fear for your life." At first I did not further think about it, because this sentence was even one of the quotes on the backside of the cover. But later I found that it was not adequate for the situation. The quote is important, but not in this context on stage.
After the Arab composer followed the Israeli one, Paul Ben Haim. It was like fireworks for the senses. On the screen you could not only watch in enlargement what happened on stage, but there were visual effects like crossovers of different cameras, double pictures, zooms, it was like on TV, really impressive. Unfortunately there is no video of it. Gabriella tried everything to get a recording as a souvenir, but there was no way. Yet there are some photos. Then I came on stage again and read "The Secret of Time" out of "Loving Jay": Where you stop time / stops. You name / the place. You name / the situation. Where you stop. // Where you move on the past / falls apart. A new place / comes up, a different / situation. This is not you anymore. / Where you move on. // Where you can fly the future / falls apart. In this garden / we will meet you. / Where you stop." I stepped back a few paces from the desk. The Duo Rubin played some bars of Bach's music. Then it went on with the gateless gate, the piece, which received most of the feedback concerning the poetry: "We suffered from suffering and were ashamed / of shame. We needed / needing. The search / we searched. // First we had to / forget about forgetting / to remember / memorizing. // We had to / doubt doubt / and contradict / contradiction, / to love love / and to endure / patience. // For understanding / understanding / we had to let the letting, / to break with the breaking, / and to resist / resistance. // We ignored / ignorance and destroyed / destruction. // Soon we were faster / than speed / and we ruled / power." I was quite happy that I could not see myself on the screen, this would surely have irritated me. Again followed Bach, then "Amphibians", with which my part ended: "Under water / we live. Above water / we live. Like the iceberg's / tip. Speak / a word! Speak another / word. Pull it / out of the water! // The air is high. / We can / see each other / can we. / The air is high. // Out of the water / pull it! Another word / speak / a word! Speak / from the tip / of the iceberg! Like / we live / above water we live / under water." I sat down again and listened to the two. At the end of the tour the Duo Rubin had moved the Fire Dance by de Falla up in order to finish the first part of the concert with an atmospherical fast piece. We bowed and went into the pause.
Giora was there, too, Gabriella's and Ithay's son, and Gabriella's mother with her partner. The break was soon over, salutation addresses and speeches were held and again I was positively surprised. There really was an interest in peace. The speakers and all the audience, they would not have come if it wasn't for a broad social need for a positive change of the circumstances. The speakers were Michael Averhoff, Director of Corporate Protocol Daimler Chrysler, Dagmar Schmidt, Member of German Parliament, chairwoman of Givat Haviva Germany, and Matthias Mumenstädt from the Federal Presidential Office who conveyed greetings from Federal President Johannes Rau, the patron of our performances. In his address Mister Rau said that he has taken the patronage for our and also for other initiatives, "because I want to encourage individuals like the couple Khen and the writer Hamadeh to not leave off their efforts for peace and mutual understanding. (...) I wish everybody, who is working on reviving the peace process, perseverance, patience, and the determination to not let the dialogue stop. I wish you that new trust will grow. But you shall also know that you have reliable friends who accompany you on the way to peace. Your Johannes Rau". This was very moving. Each of us got the quatro-lingual book "Children write for Peace" by Givat Haviva with the signature of the German President.
As I grew up in Northrhine-Westfalia I have an idea of Mister Rau since decades. Before he became Federal President he had for a long time been Prime Minister in our land. I have always regarded him to be one of the most competent, most credible and sympathetic politicians, mostly because of the fact that he is a believer. More than once had I watched interviews with him and features about him on TV, also the one about his farewell from the presidential office. I understand his values. This picture, however, is not complete like that. There also is another side, I also have aggressions with which I have to deal. Sometimes I remember the colored photo collection from the OSCE conference against anti-Semitism, in which one can see Mister Rau and Mister Spiegel smile and joke together, shortly after the helicopter attacks on human beings, during the creation of the wall, during the destruction of human life and of private homes in Rafah by a state. And they go and make an anti-Semitism conference! I think it was the Jüdische Allgemeine, which published this photo collection. I had seen the page open somewhere on the tour, but had to turn away, because I got dizzy when I saw it. Yet I could not ignore it, it was part of the whole. I surpressed it most of the time, but what should be the use of that? I had to build up an opinion. And my Arab friends also read newspapers, they will ask me how I feel about Mister Rau. Besides, it is politically relevant if the speech is written "for the concert of the Duo Rubin on May 26, 2004", even if I am addressed directly in the beginning of the speech. A friend saw a copy of this letter in the file which Michael Krebs produced for us after the tour, and he said: "You are subsumed under Duo Rubin, just as the Westbank is subsumed under Israel. Nix Palestinians. Hegemony. No change." Of course I had to seriously deal with such things, for our aim was equality. Did Mister Rau regard us as equal? Would he remain a reliable friend in controversy? As I had been occupied with these questions for so many days I could not remain silent about them, if I was looking for inner balance.
All this was invisible on the stage. I sincerely was glad about the interest and the book and I was proud of the signature. The speech of the DaimlerChrysler spokesman I found also good, and the one by Dagmar Schmidt. In the middle of the show I was not completely able to concentrate on the speeches, but my subconscious overheard the scene and conveyed a positive feeling to me. So we went with power through the second part of the performance, with "Curfew for Feelings" and the king's poem, the long musical part and "our song" - as Michael Krebs uses to call it - at the very end. Michael inserted a photo of us in the file on which one can see the three of us hand in hand at the final reverence: on the left of the picture Ithay with cello and bow in the right hand, looking in at us, to the right in front of the piano a merrily smiling, beautiful Gabriella, and me in the middle, looking down in a bow, concentrated, as if I was about to jump from a 10-meter-spring-board. Behind us there is a part of the screen. The applause was long. The people stood up from their seats. It was a touching moment.
This was the Tour
After the appearance there was sparkling wine served in the front area of the enormous atrium. Many impressions. Pity was only that the national press was not sharing this. Someone approached me, said hello and introduced himself as Michael Eiser. He is the hotel manager of the Sorat in Berlin at the Spreebogen, where one month later the prize award to Maestro Barenboim would take place. Together with Jörn I went to the table where Martin Forberg was standing. The Duo Rubin was still changing clothes and later joined us. Only slowly we realized that now we could relax and cool down. After we had chatted a little in the atrium we continued in a small group and walked over to the restaurant which we did not find at once. I tried to make clear to myself that we made it, but was still in thought with the happenings of the past hours. When we entered the crowded restaurant we were overwhelmed by the people who all arose from their seats and applauded. They were from the audience of our performance. I have never experienced such a thing before, it was incredible, like in a fairytale. I could not relate this to my own self. At first it irritated me, while I found a seat next to Mrs. Robin Ben-Hur, then I was glad, because these were people who supported our concern. They applauded for peace between Israelis and Palestinians. We had accomplished our mission. We had reached thousands of people on stage and over the media. We had mobilized politicians, organizers and other artists. At the end of the tour we had come closer to each other and had not moved away from each other. We had set a sample, a precedence, a way of togetherness. We had changed.
Ithay and Gabriella brought me back to the apartment above the Stefan's at night, and we said goodbye as friends. We were proud that we had made this together. At the same time it was clear to us that there was still a huge lot in the respective other that we did not know of. That the world was so much greater and so much more complex than we kings with wings of dust would ever grasp. But whatever the future would hold this tour is standing there. It existed.
Next morning, or noon, respectively, I cleared the room and got my things together. I left the gigantic flower bouquet from the night before in the apartment, there was no way to transport it. Everything was super. Too super. When I had shoved the suitcase and the guitar into the corridor and pulled the door shut behind me I looked for the key to lock the door. I had forgotten it, it stuck inside. Shoot. Stefan took it with serenity. He even brought me to the station. At night in Kiel I realized step by step that all these things had really happened.