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Nasiba Abdullaeva delivers Daniel Pearl’s message of tolerance

Written by on Tuesday, 4 December 2012
Azerbaijan, Culture and History, Uzbekistan
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On October 5, 2012, the U.S. Embassy Tashkent observed the 11th Daniel Pearl World Music Days featuring Nasiba Abdullaeva, famous Uzbek singer, and Ofarin dance theatre.

This was the third time the U.S. mission to Uzbekistan hosted the annual event with a goal to spread the universal power of music in building tolerance and peace.

Daniel Pearl was an American journalist, Chief of the South Asia Bureau of the Wall Street Journal, and kidnapped and severely killed in February 2002 while reporting in Pakistan on alleged links between “shoe bomber” Richard Reid and al Qaeda.

Daniel was a talented musician who joined musical groups in every community he visited. He firmly believed in the power of music, as a force to unite people and spread messages of hope, against the culture of violence.

After his death, The Daniel Pearl Foundation was formed by Pearl’s family and friends, to continue Pearl’s mission. The Foundation was created to address what they consider the root causes of his death, in the spirit, style, and principles that shaped Pearl’s work and character. Daniel Pearl World Music Days have been held worldwide since 2002, dedicated to and inspired by the legacy of Daniel not only as a journalist but also as a musician.

“The loss of Daniel Pearl…reminded us of how valuable a free press is, and it reminded us that there are those who would go to any length in order to silence journalists around the world,” – President Obama

Concerts around the world from previous years included performances by Elton John, Herbie Hancock, Tania Libertad, Itzhak Perlman, Theodore Bikel, Salman Ahmad and many others.

In 2010, it was Yulduz Usmanova who performed in Tashkent, and whose concert became one of the highlights of cultural life in the Uzbek capital that year. In 2011, famous Uzbek band Yalla rocked the event with its hits, and also celebrated its 40th anniversary on stage.

This year’s performer is one of the most popular singers in Uzbekistan. Performing on stage for more than 30 years, Nasiba Abdullaeva is an accomplished lyricist and composer who performs songs in many languages, including Uzbek, Farsi, Azeri, Turkish, and Russian. For the first time on stage, she performed an Andy Williams song in English, dedicating the song to Daniel Pearl World Music Days and the message of peace. Abdullaeva has taken the stage in concert tours and festivals around the world, using her music to bring people together despite differences.

Ethnic Azeri, born in Samarkand, Nasiba emphasized the importance of delivering Daniel’s message of tolerance and love to everyone, with an emphasis on multiculturalism, which is enjoyed by the people of Uzbekistan. Songs in Azeri, Farsi, Uzbek and Dari performed to a crowd of her fans, and all those who danced that night at the Embassy yard, were a beautiful confirmation to that statement.

P.S. In May 2010, President Barack Obama signed into law the Daniel Pearl Freedom of the Press Act, expanding the State Department’s annual human-rights reports to identify countries that participate in or condone attacks on journalists.

It’s critically important to host these kinds of events in Uzbekistan and deliver the messages of press freedom alongside with the cultural component. It should be understood by the government that silencing those who are born to speak out the truth is not a right path to take for satisfying their own ambitions.

“Oftentimes without this kind of attention, countries and governments feel that they can operate against the press with impunity. And we want to send a message that they can’t,” said President Obama in the Oval Office signing ceremony.

Photo courtesy U.S. Embassy Tashkent.

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