Johanna Fakhry, the talented and courageous Lebanese dancer who joined Orphaned Land on stage, has penned a response to her inspiring and controversial artistic collaboration with the Israeli band.
* I have slightly edited the letter for grammar and flow (where meaning was unclear, I left untouched).
Facing the amount of mails concerning the deed we’ve done on stage at the Hellfest Festival with Orphaned Land – that is to say raising and uniting on stage both Lebanese and Israeli flag – your worldwide reactions as bad or positive, as hateful or supportive as they can be, led us (Kobi and I) to write a statement explaining and not justifying our behaviour.
First of all, I know that politics, religion or other matters, moreover foreign ones, don’t hold an important place in a festival, but music is a tool for expression, and has to bring messages, history and legacy. This way, I wanted to take this opportunity so rare in history – witnessing on stage an Israeli group and a Lebanese dancer – to say that beyond the artistic exchange and our collaboration for the love of art, we were willing to make it a symbol of Peace. And these two flags that we held as high as the fist can rise, transcends all these years of war and suffering.
We both experimented, endured the vicissitude of this neverending war. But we belong to this new generation – those who behold far the horizon, who open the boundaries. Because the future dwells in metissage and solidarity between men.
Our opinions might separate us, but our fears are binding us together; our Art entwines us, just like metal music.
The escape from a world barely acknowledging us sometimes, or bringing credibility or legitimating our words. I’d say that this world is gonna hear us, as loud as our amplifiers can spit their guts, and for our people to hope for better days.
I’d say that we are the promise of the future.
Following the trail of my thoughts I wanted to thank Orphaned Land for bringing such open-mindedness to metal music and an echo to my request.
We are not the messengers, just the Hand.
Make this world a better place and spread this message of Peace and Unity.
Orphaned Land’s singer/songwriter, Kobi Farhi, added the following to Johanna letter:
Johanna Fakhri was under a lot of accusations in the last weeks. For me, Johanna is the pure symbol of hope, courage and belief. At first I was afraid that waving both Israel and Lebanon’s flags will cause a huge criticism towards Johanna and I shared with her those fears, yet she insisted that we shall do it and you know why? Not because she supports the governments of our countries, nor the actions of wars we had in the past. But it’s because we hope to end this never ending circle of wars, to create a dialog, understanding, friendship, brotherhood; to create a better world for children who lives in this Orphaned Lands. The past and history are just too bloody & tragic. And If Johanna and I can live as brother and sister (even our last names – Fakhri/Farhi, are almost similar) as friends and neighbors, then why shouldn’t we influence our nations to do the same? It is the time to put it aside and to try and build a New Jerusalem. And one day you will all acknowledge that Johanna Fakhri is a founder and a symbol of this vision. A hero, a true warrior of light. Kobi Farhi
For my take on this, click here.