Johanna Fakhry: A Dance of Moral Courage.

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.


20 responses to “Johanna Fakhry: A Dance of Moral Courage.

  1. Beautiful

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  6. lebanese blood

    fuk you alllllllllllll :@ you r fukkers and johanna is the howr :@:@ sha3b 7mar … donkies …

  7. The power of what happened here is that not only did these two young people utilize music to bond in an effort to create a new Middle East through music and culture. they defiantly entered the flags, the symbols of separation and war and conquest, right into the middle of their testimony and their friendship. Symbols, especially flags, mean something somewhat different to many people, which is why they have both unify some people and divide others. Because in some ways they mean everything and nothing all at once. it depends on interpretation. These two were bringing their interpretation, which was not that this was a blanket acceptance of what these two countries and their armies have done. it was a statement, a plea, a demand, a vision, for a new future. all the anger is because the assumption of the angry folks is that this is exoneration, this is a statement about the past, this is an acceptance of injustices. Also, many will never want Israel to exist because they are not reconciled to what happened to Palestinians in 1948. Again, all of that is about the past, and these two are talking about a future beyond war. I sympathize with those who do not want a symbol of peace for the future as long as their sense of injustices from 1948 are not satisfied. Let them continue their struggle. But these two have decided that the struggle needs to include an embrace of two peoples, two realities, and above all of nonviolence and an end to cycles of hate. Johanna will be called upon again and again to examine her action, to clarify what she meant. Every word she says will be judged. The words that she has said here are very good words, very constructive. I hope that the story ends well.

  8. there will always be those willing to attach negative meanings to purely positive expressions of humanity. They can drag whatever irrelevant historical event/tragedy they want into the mix to try and sully the overt message of unity and peace in the performance of music for the masses. Just imagine if humanity held Beethovens nationality against him and tried to belittle the enormous impact the chorus to his 9th symphony has had and will continue to have on the human spirit. While Orphaned Land and Johanna Fakhri may not be junior Beethovens they certainly embrace his intention that music is for the masses and can not be corrupted by political bias and hate-mongering. I feel truly sorry for Johanna that her life is now in peril and hope she has safe harbor in the lands where fanatics don’t dictate when a woman can dance or not dance.
    as for the ME? What a friggin mess. Israels going nowhere soon and is still surrounded by nations who have 1000s upon 1000s brainwashed into believing that “soon”-very soon the ancient land of the Jewish people will be ‘liberated’ (they’ll be killed or chased out to whereever-just like history repeating itself yes?) and the arab palestinians who more likely migrated from the east can re-conquer the land in an endless cycle of conquest-defeat-conquest-defeat. Nothing changes and thank goodness beautiful women cna dance to great music

  9. An BTW-to those that are going to go intpo a history lesson of Israeli transgressions of Lebanese sovereignty-spare me. I know my history. I know both sides. I know that both sides engaged in provocation and that certain acts of self defense were warranted but other acts were like salt in a wound. This is what happens when nations are “officially” in a state of war w/o the muscle to back it up and to boot-have overlords with their own agendas throughout the decades. Disarm Hz and make a frikkin peace. Shebba farms is nothing but a red herring.

  10. Israel is not really at fault in the conflict. It is the violent Islamists. In the first Lebanon war in the early 80’s Israel was invited into Lebanon at the request of the Lebanese Christian government. The Christians were suffering at the hand of the Muslims and Israel’s farmers were getting rocketed and bombed across the border.

    In the short second Lebanon war of 2006. It was Lebanese Hezb’ulllah who invaded Israel to murder and kidnap.

    There is no territorial dispute between Israel and Lebanon. Therefore there is no reason for violent conflict. There is only the extremists and Hezb’ullah who wish to annihilate Israel for no reason. They stated their purposed to murder all Jews on the Earth. Hezb’ullah is a proxy Iranian-Syrian army occupation force in Lebanon.

    If there were peace, All of Hezb’ullah operatives and soldiers/terrorist would be out of jobs.

    Notice Israel did not call Kobi Fahri an undecover agent and levy the death penalty against him. Only Lebanon against poor Johanna.

    TRUTH is, Israel expected long ago to have a peace treaty with Lebanon. First in 1948 (when they joined the other Arab armies to eradicate Israel-the Jewish state where Jewish sovereignty had been re-established/re-newed) and again in the 1980’s.

    I wish Johanna the best and hope that she can safely return one day soon. Even better, I hope and pray that Hezb’ullah is disarmed and eradicated so that Lebanon and Israel can enjoy peace and normal relations with each other. They have so much in common.

    To MARC GOPIN: In 1948 there were no ‘palestinians’ (The Arabs adopted that identity only in 1960’s). The Arab (most illegal) immigrants were told to leave by their Arab leaders so as to make room to murder all Jews and take Jewish possessions and houses. Furthermore, many Arabs weren’t even in Israel until they came from Egypt and Jordan during the occupation of 1948-1967 (though the majority came from 1920’s to 1948 from all over ME and northern Africa as economic migrants and as pons by other Arabs looking for more bodies to add to the population in Israel.


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  12. Too bad that Lebanon is dominated by Iran and its gangsters, the Hizbollah. Otherwise, it would be a prosperous, peaceful country where good people like Joanna Fakhri would lead their country not only to peace but to being a paradise and oasis in the Horrible Middle East. I wish there was a way to support this young lady and her Art.

  13. I have been reading and through talk-backs or comments opening up dialogue with Lebanese on Lebanese news websites. That is the most that I can do as far as a contribution.

    Perhaps the most effective way of thwarting Hezb’ullah is by regime change in both Iran and Syria-there would go their salaries! Once, Hezb’ullah goes by the wayside, Lebanon if it chooses can move into a period of true freedom from domination , prosperity and free to make peace with its neighbors.

  14. cé honteux qu’une arabe danse presque nue devant le publique…et brandissant le drapeau libanais avec drapeau “sioniste”

  15. Salah je crois que tu dois avoire honte de vivre dans le 21eme centenaire 🙂
    et je suis 100% avec ce que a fait le groupe et johanna tu va vivre et mourire comme les primitif! et j’ai honte de tous ceux qui te ressembles et specialement au Liban

    i said : salah i think you should be ashamed living the 21st century and am 100% with what did johanna and the band u will live and die as a primitif and i feel ashamed from everyone like you specially in Lebanon

  16. Thanks so much for good article, I am excited learn more from you.

  17. Sound of Reason

    YEAH YEAH YEAH YEAH everyone is like that we all want piece NO ONE likes WAR.
    But what i happening in the midesat is not simply a case of war between 2 country’s it surpassed that into a apartheid were isreal is commiting countless war crimes against Palestine Lebanon Jordan Sudan.
    When the people of OCCUPIED PALESTINE who are RACIST jews accept to be trialed for their crimes and take responsibility of their action and are accountable, THEN
    & ONLY THEN will piece be truly an option

  18. Sound of Reason

    wow reading some of those comments people make are so ridicules, as if a redneck ignorant Isrealy Racist spewing his poison.
    First Most of you her arent Lebanese that is for 1
    Second none of you are qualified to give your own opinions on who hizboulas is & who he belongs to, or even talk nonsense about the christian government asking isreal to INVADE Lebanon, this is so preposterous Isreal assasinated Bashir Gmayel Christian elected President because he did not allow isreal to stay in Lebanon
    Most of you her don’t even know the history of the struggle or the war, so plz talk all you wante about your isreal if your from Occupied Palestine But dont you dare talk smack about our country.
    again when Isreal ACCEPT accountability and responsibility for its war crimes & the right of Palestinians in Lebanon to go back to Palestine, the armed resistance of Hizboulah wil sease to exist and peice wil be made.

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