Iraqis and Palestinians in South Korea

by Richard Sullivan


On September 11, 2005, the Peace Festival Beyond the De-Militarized Zone (DMZ) in S. Korea came to an end. At the concluding ceremony, there were 300 musicians of the Brass Band performing in front of an audience of more than 15,000. The peace festival was fully funded by the Gyeonggi Province and this province’s governor, Mr. Hak-Kyu Sohn , initiated the PEACE theme and the idea of the Festival.

The Festival began in early August with various world music ensembles from Asia, Africa, Australia and Europe as well as soloists from the USA, Iraq, Palestine and Afghanistan to accompany various Korean Symphony Orchestras. Not surprisingly, however, to learn that the North Koreans were not invited, which put a glitch in the PEACE mission of the Festival.

Our Institute, INEAS, participated in this Festival by promoting Iraqi and Palestinian musicians, signing a contract as an agent for the Iraqi musicians (living in Jordan) to attend the festival and perform in two concerts on August 26 & 27, and by having our Institute’s founder, Wafaa’ Al-Natheema, participate in performing songs and poetry.

The DMZ consists of a very large acreage in which the division between North and South Korea occurred more than 50 years ago. The entire area was masterfully built within six months to include a huge parking lot, cafés, several open-door halls for performances and a variety of other markets and services. It has not been decided yet whether to host the PEACE festival on a regular basis. Click here to view some of the festival’s pictures.

© Copyright by INEAS, 2005

See also: South Korea: An Iraqi Perspective