Music for a troubled world

"A perfect echo" is what Christian Science Monitor Middle East correspondent Nicole Gaouette hears in the hearts of Israelis and Palestinians. In her conversations with ordinary people on both sides of this saddening punch-counterpunch conflict, Gaouette detects a perfect echo in the hopes they hold in common — for their children, for secure homelands, and for prosperity. When it comes down to the heart's desire for harmony, we all sing the same songs.

In the Israeli-Palestinian situation, as in every conflict, the splitting of people into warring sides goes deeper than a history of bad blood between tribes. Deeper than ethnic and religious differences. Perhaps at the bottom of it all is a temporary denial of humanity's connecting chord — a loss of harmony, or music, in its deepest spiritual dimensions. In an article on humanity's musical roots, Dartmouth College neuroscientist Petr Janata says he belives that "if you completely remove music from human cultures around the world, it would definitely have a devastating im pact on society" (Ronald Kotulak, "Human hearts have always warmed to the rhythm of music," Chicago Tribune, September 21, 2003).

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November 3, 2003

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