Magharebia (Washington DC)

23 July 2014

Tunisia Defies Terrorists Through Music

Najjar in Tunis — Tunisia ended its three-day mourning period for the soldiers slain at Jebel Chaambi, allowing the Carthage International Festival to resume on Monday (July 21st).

The show kicked off with the Tunisian national anthem.

The large audience gathered to see Greek musician Yanni was a reflection of Tunisia, "which rebels against terrorism, loves life and defeats darkness", journalist Samir El Wafi wrote on his Facebook page.

"The concert is an expressive message from the Carthage theatre to the world. It reflects that Tunisia is not what is happening in Jebel Chaambi; rather, it is joy, beauty, hope and taste," El Wafi wrote.

"It also shows that terrorism does not affect Tunisians' morale and will not vanquish their love for life or steal hope from them," he added.

Yanni dedicated a piece of music to the fallen soldiers: "I want to send messages of love and peace; my work might help others get past difficulties," he said.

"My dream is that we can all live like one tolerant people on one land," he told the audience.

Yanni performed a number of his famous musical pieces, including The Storm and The Nightingale. "Although I present many shows in many countries, I feel that my concert at Carthage is really distinguished," he told the audience.

"You're an amazing and extraordinary people, and this show will just be engraved in my memory," he added.

Tunisian Tourism Minister Amel Karboul said: "The record attendance is a wonderful thing that shows how much Tunisians love life.

"We shouldn't give in to terrorists' goals. We have to continue to live and to say that we won't give up on our lifestyle; we won't leave the place for them," she added.

The ministry decided, at the request of audience, to fund an additional concert for Yanni after the tickets for his original concert were sold out.

"The Tunisian audience usually attends world concerts, but the festival management didn't expect Yanni to have all that popularity in Tunisia," Carthage Festival Director Sonia Moubarek said.

The 50th edition of the Carthage International Festival kicked off July 10th with a concert by Tunisian artist Anouar Brahem and is due to wrap up August 16th.

This was the first time ever for Greek musician Yanni in his career to perform in an African country.

After the concert, the audience left the theatre thrilled and excited over his music.

"It felt like I was in a dream and now I came back to earth," 33-year-old Abir Khachini told Magharebia. "This is a clear message to the terrorists telling them that we won't give up on our lifestyle or our moments of joy."

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