Palmyra: Music + De-Mining = Russia’s Beau Geste – Part I

Dear Readers:

In a previous series of posts, namely here, here, and here, we discussed the liberation, by the Syrian army, of the ancient museum-city of Palmyra, from the headchopping barbarians of ISIS; and how this represented a victory for Civilization against the forces of Barbarism.

Alexander Prokhorenko: Beau Geste

In a related story, we also discussed the heroic death on the battlefield, of a young Russian soldier named Alexander Prokhorenko.  In a beau geste of military honor and heroism, Prokhorenko gave his life while helping to liberate Palmyra from the barbarians.

Today’s story combines all the above elements, plus much more.  And also includes a different type of heroic death, that of a quiet, unassuming 81-year-old scholar.  An Arab intellectual named Khaled al-Asaad.  When captured by ISIS barbarians, Khaled, in a beau geste reminiscent of Russian hero Ivan Susasin, refused to lead these vandals to the location where a cache of priceless antiquities had been hidden from them.  Khaled literally gave his life to save these precious relics from the headchoppers.  Who punished him by literally chopping his head off and tossing his headless old body out into the dusty street.

Antiquities curator gives his own life to save precious works of art.

In Part I of this current post we will focus on the lede, which is the concert that took place yesterday in the ruins of ancient Palmyra.  In Part II we will look at the catalogue of antiquities of Palmyra, the pieces that were destroyed, the pieces that were salvaged, and the pieces that have gone missing.

We will also look at Russia’s role in helping the Syrian army re-take this significant object; also helping to de-mine the area and make it safe for residents to return; and also Russia’s possible future role in helping to restore Palmyra as an outdoor museum.

Music In the Midst of Mayhem

Our story begins with a concert performed in the ruins of the ancient city of Palmyra.  The modern city is called Tadmur, in central Syria, region of Homs.  In an act also showing a type of heroism, renowned Russian conductor, Maestro Valery Gergiev, he of the scruffy face and impish smile, put together a project to bring a small Russian orchestra to the ruins of Palmyra.  In a beau geste offered to Syrian and Russian soldiers, and also the people of Syria as a whole, Gergiev conducted a concert in the ruins of the ancient Roman amphitheater.  Announcements were made in three languages:  English, Russian, and Arabic.  Russian President Putin himself appeared briefly on a video screen, wishing success to the participants and also making some trenchant political points about the value of civilization versus barbarism.  Like I have stressed many times before, the very best propaganda of all is when it speaks the truth.

Also stressing the civilizational purpose of this concert, Gergiev focused on several works of the classical genre.

The concert was well received by the audience.  In between musical pieces, adorably cute Syrian children, dressed in what I presume are the costumes of the various ethnic groups making up the Syrian people, chanted and clapped.

The VZGLIAD piece I linked has a slightly-edited video of the concert; this video on youtube is more complete.  Including the speeches and announcements it is just under an hour long and is well worth watching:

Western Perceptions and the Incessant Propaganda War

The Gergiev concert was enough of a big deal that even the “Westie” press (such state organs as the BBC) were forced to cover it, even though they might have preferred to ignore it.  Generally it would be difficult to think of anything bad to say about classical music being performed in a city liberated from the most odious terrorists the world has ever seen.  But believe me, these Western propaganda organs found plenty to criticize.  I don’t want to go into a lot of detail on this component of the hybrid war which the West conducts incessantly against Russia.  There are other news outlets and blogs which cover this angle sufficiently.  Suffice it to say, that the “Westies” found fault with Maestro Gergiev.  Notice how the BBC piece introduces him with the words:  “Valery Gergiev, a supporter of Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, conducted the Mariinsky Symphony Orchestra, from St Petersburg, at Palmyra’s Roman Theatre.”  Hence, they reduce this man to his essence:  a Putin supporter.  (Like what?  He voted for Putin in the last election?)  They also slyly mention his ethnicity:  He is Ossetian.  Westies don’t like Ossetians, becuase Ossetian people are (in the main) loyal to Russia.  Westies backed the other side (Gruzians) in the Gruzia vs. Ossetia war in 2008.  Westies side lost, and the Westies still bear a grudge.

I could go on and on…  Just please keep two things in mind:

(1) Westies, i.e., America and their client governments, back the other side in this proxy war in Syria.  Namely, they back that goofy garage band known as “ISIS and the Headchoppers”.  They say they don’t, but they do.  They are duplicitous liars.  This is a harsh thing to say, but it is a fact.  They themselves created ISIS in some backroom at Langley, and they continue to arm these terrorists with Stingers and MANPADS and everything else they need to keep on fighting and killing.  This is an open secret, known by everyone in the world.  Hence, when “their” team lost Palmyra to Team Assad, this was a blow to the “deep thinkers” in the “deep state” in Washington DC.  They bear a grudge, and will always bear a grudge for this.  They will never forgive Gergiev, nor his Konzertmeister, nor his cellist, nor the horse he rode in on, for having the audacity to conduct a concert in a land which was supposed to fall like ripe fruit to the Neo-Con Empire.

(2)  Also please keep in mind that “Westies” never have anything good to say about Russia.  Westies are relentless in their hatred for Russia.  They never stop even for one second.  Russia could discover the cure for cancer, and they would find something to criticize there, maybe even leap to the defense of cancer.

These “Westies” are like having a neighbor who always finds fault.  If she was sick and you brought her flowers and a fruit arrangement, she would say that one of the flowers was fading; and that one of the apples had a spot on it.  There is simply no pleasing these people, and that is a fact.

[To be Continued]

This entry was posted in Art Criticism, Breaking News, Friendship of Peoples, Human Dignity, The Great Game, True Crime and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Palmyra: Music + De-Mining = Russia’s Beau Geste – Part I

  1. Lyttenburgh says:

    You are right, yalensis – let’s not quote Westies kvetching. Let’s mock them:

    Transl: Britain’s head of the Foreign Office called the concert in Palmyra “tasteless”.

    Cameron: “Why no one is fucking pig?”
    HAMmond: “And there are no gays… How tasteless!”


    • yalensis says:

      Cameron expected Gergiev to stand up in front of the Syrian army and fuck a pig??
      I think they would have executed him on the spot.
      Unless of course this “performance art” would be preceded by Ozzy Osbourne biting the head off a bat.


  2. marknesop says:

    I continue to be impressed with the brilliance, clarity and humor of your writing, yalensis – you are a definite emerging talent who has hidden his light under a bushel for far too long. Delightful. This is a great blog, one of my favourites. There is no need for me to branch off in a comment, because you set the stage perfectly, laid out the storyline in a logical and compelling fashion, and brought out the velvet hammer for the conclusion. It needs no steering.

    Oh, and you spelled “renowned” wrong. No ‘k’. Just sayin’.


  3. marknesop says:

    I’ll be waiting for the follow-up story from Tintin or Simon Shuster or Julia Ioffe, in which whoever it is says he or she was at the concert, and some Syrian came up to them and asked them where he should go to get paid by Putin for watching the concert.


    • yalensis says:

      Right. And those adorably cute Syrian children were possibly bussed into Palmyra…
      oh wait, they probably were.


    • Jen says:

      The Guardian is likely to bring in its art critic Jonathan Jones to weigh in on how the Russians and Syrians ransacked what remained of the ruined architecture at Palmyra to put together a faux Roman-era amphitheatre for the concert.


      • yalensis says:

        Or — here’s a radical thought — they could have hired their music critic to discuss the ACTUAL MUSIC that was played in this particular concert!
        Strange that nobody did, although they found plenty of time to attack the character of the cellist.


        • marknesop says:

          I think their music critic is still in Vancouver, where he was reviewing hockey for the 2010 Olympics. Seriously, if I remember right, one of the British newspapers sent their golf pro. To report on everything.


  4. A.I.Schmelzer says:

    I would have expected Shostakovich, but maybe they are keeping the 7th symphony in reserve for Raqqa.


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