1 Nov 2010
Art has no nationality
“I prefer the most unfair peace to the most righteous war”
We all love music and films. After a long day at work, during a workday, or at home when we are bored, we listen to music and at least once a week watch a movie. Music and movies are believed to be spiritual food- we forget about the stress, it brings us joy and at times sadness. We even like listening to songs that we do not always understand, so long as they sound pleasant, it doesn’t matter in which language they are. But sometimes, in some circumstances this might not necessarily be the case…
Once I went to a birthday party of a friend of mine. There were people that I did not know and after some interesting conversations I started talking about music with one girl. From our conversation, I learned that once upon a time she used to listen to Hayko Cepkin and liked him as an individual. But after learning that he was of Armenian descent, she deleted all his songs from her computer and never listened to him again. She also banned her brother from listening to Hayko Chepkin.
When I asked why she did something like this she responded, “Because he is an Armenian!” Although she was studying international relations at one of the universities in Baku, it seemed that she was condemning me with her surprised eyes because of the question I asked her.
I have been listening to Hayko Cepkin for a long time myself. I liked his style and was never interested in his life. It was only a while after that I learned that his parent’s originally came from Armenia. But to me, it changed nothing! I still listened to him because he was and is one of my favorite rock singers. I am amazed by his creative work and value his contribution to Turkish rock.
“System of a down” is another rock band I love. They too are of Armenian descent and currently live in California, US. I consider them to be grandiose singers and producers of some quality music. Their style of music won the hearts of Americans as well as the whole world. Their uniqueness is the lyrics of their songs, mostly condemning the tragic events of 1915. They are among top 100 rock bands of the world. And no feud or war can destroy their creative work. Everybody recognizes them and loves them. It is at times like this, when I like to scream music has no language!
There are some songs from my childhood too that when listened to now, bring nostalgia and create sweet and pleasant memories. And they all are special to me. One of them is Cher (real name Cherilyn Sarkisian La Pierre)- successful and talented American pop singer and an Oscar award winner. She used to be on TV and Radio in Azerbaijan often. Unfortunately, once her real identity was known and a war between the two countries already escalated, her songs and movies were purposefully removed from local TV and radio channels- sadly, especially given that during Cher’s career the most famous motto of the youth was ‘Make love, not war”.
There were others too. Charles Aznavour (real name Shanur Varenag Aznavuryan), French singer, actor, composer, public figure, and Permanent Ambassador of UNESCO; famous composer Aram Khachaturian; one of the most eccentric cinema-producers of 21st century Sergei Parajanov; Mger Mkrtchyan whose films I used to watch with great passion; cinematographer and scenario writer, Russian Karen Shahnazarov.
It would be a moral crime to deny and sacrifice their valuable work to war and conflict. More so, I believe its wrong to discriminate creative work by race, gender or nation. They belong to humanity, to the world and to art.
And so, I am addressing the citizens of both countries that are at war, full of aggression, and unable to reconcile- I can list at least a 100 reasons why we should make peace, but I cannot do same about war.
It is impossible not to remember Ernest Hemingway at times like this. He was a witness of many wars and seen the terror and its mournful consequences. He fought in the World War I, witnessed Greek- Turkey war, National Revolutionary War, and World War II. In his memoirs he wrote: “The only way to win a war is to expose the dirty tricks causing it, and all those criminals and scoundrels who cherish these tricks. The time has come, for no nation consider even the smallest chance of using hard power against the other. The time has come for no nation gain the hate of the other under any circumstances. The time has come to quit being an unjust nation.”
Friends, this time has been waiting for us, for a long time!