Karim Wasfi: Combating Terror with Music

By Lea Suter

Can music combat terror?

When 3 car bombs shook Baghdad famed Iraqi maestro Karim Wasfi set up his cello at the site the next day and played to show resilience against terrorism.

"The focal point is to beat terror and intimidation through beauty and refinement in civilization,” Wasfi told our partners at PeacePrints.

“Those who can hate do not recognize beauty, they can't hear beauty, they can't see it, they can't feel it,” he said.

“Maybe because they were never even exposed to it, so there is a responsibility on our shoulders also to share with everyone the solid, concrete, basic foundation of good-doing and beauty because it's something that you can build upon.

Wasfi's bomb site performance earned him international fame and he created the Centre for Creativity-Peace through Arts, bringing youth from different ethnic backgrounds together to play on the streets of Baghdad.

"So instead of just the National Symphony Orchestra performing every month or two months, we'll have like 5 or 7 groups performing around the city all the time," Wasfi said.

"I wanted to flood the scene with culture and beauty, against intimidation and against fear."

His approach seems to be working.

“One positive experience was when I realized there were around 14 militiamen decided to give up their commitment to their weapons and to resolving disagreements through fierce fighting to becoming musicians,” he said, “and not feeling weak about it."

Footage courtesy of PeacePrints, a Peace News Network partner and independently funded blog for peace projects around the world. Learn more about PeacePrints here.