“O village songs,
You kinship bridge between generations!
Nation hides in you
Its threads of destiny,
And its arms of victory.
O village songs,
O guardian of memories.”
I was just a teenage and he was tall and old and he chose one day to sit next to me and I felt so happy for that. He asked me: “what book are you reading these days?” I liked that kind of question. I opened my mouth proudly to say: “a Russian novel of… (I forgot the writer) entitled the white dog with the black ear”. I was surprised by his sarcastic smile which was turned a little by little into a sardonic smile and he told me with anger that I should read something worthy!!
During my life, I have faced recurrently the question of why do I read novels, and why do I hear music. What is art, in general, is for. And what do I gain from it.
Have seen the film “the pianist”? How the Nazis occupied Poland and what they did to the Jewish population there in World War II? That was the main theme of the film, but what was in between the lines? What was the soul of the film?
Wladyslaw Szpilman, a Polish Jewish pianist survived till a Nazi soldier found him wandering in aplace he should not be. Clearly, the fate of the pianist was to be killed. A question slipped from the lips of the Nazi like a slow black serpent about to kill:
- Who are you?
- I was a pianist.
- Play something, the Nazi said challenging.
Szpilman answered him by Chopin’s Ballad no. one. It is music. A human thing. It is why animals feel small next to human. It is beauty mixed with smartness, wisdom mixed with childhood. It is communication travels through space and time summarizing our history into a sweet song. It is why animals feel small next us, it was why the Nazi felt small next to Szpilman:
- What will you do when it is all over? Asked the Nazi.
- I’ll play the piano again. On the Polish radio.
So what do we gain from art. We gain our dignity. We tell our story. We share existance. We pass by the reason of why we are humans, and what we are doing here, on this earth.
Photos taken from the film, music is Chopin's Grande Polonais Op. 22 which was played in the film in two scenes. Mickiewicz is a Polish poet and the lines above were tranlated by Kudri Kalachi to Arabic, and by me, to english cause I didn't found it in English and I don't know the name of the peom these lines taken from, so pardon me.