For the Palestinian students demonstrating at the Beth El checkpoint at the entrance to Ramallah, the English writer John Berger proposes  renaming Beethoven’s Piano Concerto no. 5, The Intifada. « They too are inspired by a vision of happiness they cannot know in their lives. I send the Concerto as an arm to be used in their struggle against the Israelis who occupy and colonize their homeland. »


 

 

Beethoven’s Piano Concerto no. 5 summons up a happiness that is almost boundless and which, for that very reason, neither he nor we can possess. The Concerto was nick-named the Emperor. It carries us to an horizon of happiness we cannot cross.

I send it today to the Palestinian students demonstrating at the Beth El checkpoint at the entrance to Ramallah. They too are inspired by a vision of happiness they cannot know in their lives. I send the Concerto as an arm to be used in their struggle against the Israelis who occupy and colonize their homeland. Beethoven approves. He cares deeply about politics. His Symphony No. 3, the Eroica, was inspired by Napoleon when he was still a freedom-fighter and before he became a tyrant. Let’s rename the Emperor for a day: Piano Concerto no. 5, the Intifada.

 

John Berger

October 18, 2015

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