Today I photographed a protest in Antwerp of pro Palestinian organizations against a concert given by the Israeli Defense Force Orchestra in the city. The protesters demonstrated peacefully and voiced their concerns about these concerts. They think the Province of Antwerp is wrong to host the army orchestra for a concert, while the conflict in Gaza and the Southern border of Israel is raging again.
In 2007 I photographed the IDF Orchestra at their army base in Tel Aviv for my project ‘Strike a chord’ in which I photographed music on both sides of the conflict, to show the daily life and realities on the ground in a different way.
I still remember most of the members of the orchestra being very young and only interested in playing music. Instead of having to do duty at checkpoints or more military activities like that, they are able to do what they love and get a wonderful musical education.
Yet I somehow never forgot they were soldiers all the same. They choose to join the army and actively participate in the system. They wear the military uniform, cary guns, … it’s not just playing music,…they represent an army that is, at the moment, dropping bombs in highly populated areas of Gaza and getting ready for a huge ground offensive that will cause even more civilian casualties…