The bow saws across taut strings that are ready to break with grief at any moment. Yet, they hold because the girl's chin that holds the instrument in place knows that she depends on them. They are her survival in every sense of that word. Across from her is her twin sister who, at eleven years of age, plays her instrument in perfect harmony with her sibling's grief. Their duet bores a hole in my heart, a bottomless well where the distressing minor chord of children in war echoes from wall to wall. Through sheer skill from long days of hard practice, these infant virtuosos, with the look of the ancients in their eyes, compel the listener to peer over the brink of insanity.
What can you do when those you love allow themselves to be duped by dictators? In 2017 I feel squeezed between doors that close the space between the past and the present. Was there ever a time of clear-sightedness in between? The indignant shouting from either side that gains its fuel from my silence or complaint - it makes no difference - washes into one stormy sea where the waves rise against one another in sheer opposition. Call it folly or ignorance, but the closing of the space in which the lantern of truth burns is lethal. What follows is stagnation, and the rotting of humanity in trenches. The children on the stage know, because they have been forced to leave their parents there.
I have spent years in a past where lies twisted souls, including among my very own. I have tried to understand, in the hope that this act will somehow miraculously give us the explanations and spare us from more of the same. Yet as the clock ticks relentlessly onwards, never stopping to let me find the strength to hold back the closing doors, those whom I love have once again succumbed to the twisting. I listen to the shrill anger that applauds when truth is hacked away, and try calmly to explain that without our arms and legs we cannot serve our children well. But the message falls on dead ears, and I ask: what can I do? Patience and carrying on stoically may not be enough.
The twins on the stage are in a row of children who have escaped the Ukrainian war. All of them are under the age of fifteen. Their faces are milky smooth, soft as the tears on their eyelids as they play their instruments, the bitter beauty of their sorrow soaring above the adult orchestra behind them. I weep with them; stand and weep with them: all of the children who were ever trapped by the recklessness of adults. Together we push out the space, trusting blindly that when there are enough tears the seas will turn calm and hope will be re-born. The bow on the taut string is its mid-wife.
In appreciation of "Rethinking Europe", a gala concert in Stockholm held on October 24th 2017 featuring gifted children who have survived the Ukrainian war.