A Musical Transformation – How One Young Palestinian Man Went from Throwing Stones at Israeli Soldiers to Opening Music Schools in the Middle East

Perhaps it is music which will change the world – Pablo Casals

I heard a moving story by reporter Sandy Tolan on NPR this morning about how music changed the life of one young Palestinian man. In 1988, a photographer in the West Bank took a picture of eight-year-old Ramzi Hussein Aburedwan with tears in his eyes throwing a rock at an Israeli tank. The photo symbolized the frustration of the Palestinian uprising against the Israelis.

Sandy Tolan had met Aburedwan several years later in a refugee camp outside of Ramallah after the uprising was long over. Aburedwan had eventually stopped throwing stones and started playing the viola. A Palestinian musician noticed his talent and helped him get music lessons. Aburedwan became a prodigy and later received a scholarship to a music conservatory in France.

Tolan recently encountered Aburedwan at a restaurant in Ramallah, where he learned that the young Palestinian man has opened up 10 music schools, including one in Lebanon. Called al-Kamanjati, Arabic for “the violinist,” the schools provide lessons for 500 students in both European and Arabic classical music.

“Through music, you can make from negative energy, positive energy,” Aburedwan says, “and that’s what I do.”

What a wonderful world we would live in if everybody could lay down their weapons and pick up a musical instrument.

You can listen to the entire story below or read it here.

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