We were talking about Yad Vashem for days before ceremony happened, as it seems. The sands of Jerusalem were in the air again the morning of the ceremony, and our colorful group’s visit to the famous museum would be the main topic of the day. Somehow, we just felt the heaviness of that sand. The sand that covers the cars of this mystical, beautiful and truly sacred land. You could see everything in that sand covering beige buildings filing the horizon in every direction that we could look. You could see the anticipation in the band that was getting ready to play. You could see it in every conversation disrupted by the heavy themes that came and went. You could see it in so many Jewish eyes in the bus that took us there. And then, the sands revealed the sight that was Yad Vashem. It looked like this big monument to this history that can never be forgotten. That can never be compromised. It was a fortitude of memories, tears and pain forever to be carved in the minds of men and women as it was carved in stone cliffs that it was laying on.
When our band left us for rehearsals, one by one, we left the bus. I met so many Jewish kids. From all over. It was like this meeting point of cultures and traditions that came together to respect, learn and mourn.
Yad Vashem takes you in this labyrinth of stories. Stories from all over the world. And the photographs! It was a rollercoaster of emotions. As I was walking, I saw young people beside me cry. I heard laughter turn into silence, and whispers echo trough the pyramid shaped walls as we went further and further trough the years of pain that was bestowed upon us, experiencing every single punishment, scream and death, only to realize it was just a ray of the towering scorching sun that was truly part of our history. Our own human history! Millions of years and we are talking about human rights right now. Years of learning from mistakes and it still isn’t enough. What a depressing thought.
But then, after we, one by one, exited Yad Vashem’s cold triangular walls, and went through the door, hope and strange inner calmness replenished our bodies and souls. We sat on the hot stone benches and waited in silence. So, when it was time for the concert I felt as the laughter, talking and smiles were some kind of a natural reaction of our young group. But the Israeli people were the thing that made me feel something far greater than anything else on our trip this far. It was the social norms and the polite, formal atmosphere that was present in the theater. It was the quietness that young generation of Israeli kids have embedded when it comes to festivities like this.
And then, after a few amazing performances by talented young musicians, everything went quiet. People were waiting for something to happen. This was, after all, the first time it was the first time that Music for human rights group played at Yad Vashem. I don’t know about the others, but I could feel it in the air in that concert hall. When the band came out, this supergroup of passionate people from all over the Europe, and Diogo presented us as Music for human rights, people clapped, carefully, curiously. And then, magic happened. The first trumpet sounds, the first drum beats. And it happened quite suddenly. All the forms, customs and social norms were broken. In a matter of few minutes, everyone was clapping! The atmosphere in the room became this special mixture of culture. Cultures all around! I had a feeling that so many people outside of Yad Vashem knew at that moment that, hidden in the sands and stones, there was this special thing happening. Secluded, sacred and powerful. This thing that represented connection, respect and just pure emotion. The band even had a hip hop part with Antonio, who made people in this concert hall act like they were teenagers at a rap party! Everyone was amazing! And as I said it later to the best sax player I had a pleasure to talk to, André, you guys should always know, and never forget, that you are truly magicians! You made this spell that bound us all at this moment of happiness in the saddest museum in the world. Behind the sands, in this holly and special land called Israel, there were no disconnects. We were all just part of the music, and the music was a part of us. We should cherish that and remember it as this special little pearl in the sea of good memories that we can pick and choose because of amazing artists like you. At least until the concert on the fifth of May, where the magic happens all over again…
The project Music For Human Rights s co-founded by the Erasmus+ program of the European Union – EU.
European Commission is not responsible for any upload content. Such content represents the view of its author only.
Thanks to JUGEND für Europe for cooperation.
Comala, Farra Fanfarra, Narandžasti, Roter Baum Berlin, Zdravo Da Ste OC, The Israel Goldstein Youth Village of HaNoar HaTzioni.
Written by Marko Macanović