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Dec 28, 2020
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Tunisian Musician Nomene Chaari On His Duet With An Israeli Musician: This Is A Message Of Peace Between Arabs And Jews; 'We Have Had Enough Destruction, Enough Bloodshed'

#8585 | 02:59
Source: Al-Jazeera Network (Qatar)

Tunisian singer and composer Nomene Chaari spoke about his collaboration with Ziv Yehezkel, an Israeli musician in an interview on Al-Jazeera Network (Qatar) on December 28, 2020. Chaari said that he started this in order to send a message of peace to Arabs, Muslims, and Jews. "We have had enough destruction, enough bloodshed," he said. The host on Al-Jazeera asked Chaari whether this project would be considered normalization with Israel, and stated that Tunisian president Kais said had declared normalization with Israel high treason. Chaari replied that since the revolution, Tunisians enjoy freedom of thought, freedom of faith, and freedom of speech. He added that as an artist, he cannot be bound by borders and religion, and said that Judaism is the second official religion of Tunisia.

Interviewer: "With us, via satellite from Tunisia, is Tunisian singer, Nomene Chaari. Mr. Chaari, it seems that this song, in which you collaborated with an Israeli singer, caused an uproar and sparked condemnation, and some people accused you of normalization [with Israel]. Why did you take part in a song that caused such an uproar?"

Nomene Chaari: "I consider myself an international peace activist. One of my concerns is the relationship of Arabs and Muslims with Jews. As we know, it has been a strained relationship for a long time. So, I decided to take on this project and to collaborate with a Jewish singer. Israeli citizenship, or any for that matter, doesn't concern me, as an artist. The important thing was to send a message of peace between the Arabs and Muslims and the Jews. This was the one and only goal of this artistic project."

[...]

Interviewer: "Let me remind you of the words of Tunisian President [Kais Saied] who said that normalization [with Israel] is high treason. Some people said that you are calling for normalization through this song. How do you comment on that?"

Chaari: "Every person is free [to say what he wants]. We live in a country... One of the revolution's achievements was freedom – freedom of thought, freedom of faith, and freedom of speech. I would like to remind the viewers that I am an artist, and an artist cannot be confined by borders, religions, or anything else. When I produce a song or a work of art, or when someone plays music with me, I do not ask him about his religion or his nationality.

[...]

"Music is the language of the world. It is not the monopoly of any specific cause. I was trying to recruit art and music in order to send a message of peace to the Israeli society and to Arab societies. We have had enough destruction, enough bloodshed, and enough of the sights of destruction we see on TV. I tried to be – with nothing but good intentions – not a peace dove as much as a messenger of peace for a certain cause, which is the relationship between Arabs and Jews."

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