War divides, music connects
That’s the snappy and so-true line that sits on the website of Musicians Without Borders (MWB), a group focused on using the power of music to bridge divides, connect communities and heal the wounds of war.
Founded in 2008, MWB work closely with local musicians and NGO’s to build sustainable projects in response to local needs. From successful projects they’ve developed models, methodologies and training structures to take their music-for-peace methods to different regions where communities are in conflict or dealing with the suspicion and divide that war creates.
And what a great idea of using music as the medium for peacekeeping. All societies have music as an integral part of their social fabric; there’s yet to be a tyrant who stole the beats from the kids (though North Korea could be the exception to the rule). In post conflict zones people need everything that we take for granted in order to return to the normalcy of life like food, water, shelter, clothing and medicine. But there’s always more. People need hope and to reconcile people need empathy. To heal, people need connection and people need community.
And that is exactly the scope of how music can assist in the reconciliation of human solidarity.
Healing through music
Music Without Borders has professional trainers that specialise in running community music projects with people dealing with trauma, fear and isolation as a result of war and conflict. MWB efforts allow participants the time to develop skills and talents, process grief and loss, and build bridges of reconciliation in societies that have been divided by recent or ongoing conflict.
A glance at their project work brings some clarity on their belief in the power of unity through music.
The Mitrovica Rock School in post-war Kosovo brings aspiring rocks stars from the Serb and Albanian community together. MWB’s work in Palestine through community music provides opportunity for entertainment and education for marginalised children in West Bank refugee camps, villages, schools, hospitals and orphanages, while in Rwanda music therapy training and community music activities are empowering young people affected by HIV/AIDS
Other initiatives have seen music introduced as therapy to women who survived Bosnian concentration camps, for Tanzanian youths dealing with HIV/AIDS, gender violence and problems connected to poverty, and in Northern Ireland where children have dealt with the outcomes of sectarian violence and inter-community isolation for far too long.
How to get involved
There are a number of ways that people can get involved with Musicians Without Borders. Donors are always needed and 2016 projects are looking for funding, while musicians who may have talent, spare instruments or advice to contribute can connect through Facebook and share their talent to this amazing community.
Final word goes to Yassin Algero, an Algerian singer, composer, and music producer who provides a testimonial on WMB’s website:
“I seek my inspiration from the people of the world that we live in. My music is for them, and I see no borders, obstacles, or division between us. All I see are possibilities to bring peace, healing love, and hope to those who need it most. Musicians Without Borders is a tremendous organisation that helps to create this every day with their mission to inspire change towards a more beautiful future.”
Yeah. We agree.