Hopes, dreams honoured
THIS year's Asian Youth Orchestra tour honours the hopes and dreams of mankind that re-occur in the moments of peace that follow terrible wars.
After World War I, it took shape as the League of Nations. After World War II, a more determined group of nations created the United Nations as an assembly of sovereign states and UNESCO as a non-political organisation concerned with humanity, its problems and aspirations.
We salute these two organisations for what they are destined to accomplish on their long road towards civilised relationship among people. Our salute is tinged with sadness, however, as we reflect on the progress of this long journey.
For all good intentions, for all the beautiful words, for all the diplomatic courtesies, the United Nations and UNESCO have not prevented about 60 wars that are now being fought.
They have not countered an increasing climate of violence. They have not yet trained their administrators, their children, their peoples to think wisely and clearly about man's role on this earth.
We must, however, give them every help. Indeed, the delegates would be well served to adopt the spirit of respect and mutual admiration that is at the heart of the Asian Youth Orchestra.
Where all others compete, the members of this community of 10 Asian nations and territories sit side by side, making music and sharing an appreciation for cultural diversity and richness that ignores all boundaries.
It is fitting that AYO's tour in honour of the United Nations should remember so many thousands of people in China, Southeast Asia and around the world that led to a last outrage in Hiroshima and Nagasaki 50 years ago. The dropping of the atomic bomb marked the end of a series of wars that culminated in World War II.
Today, many countries command this instrument of annihilation. Within a few years, many more will have the some power to torture, maim, kill and cause endless grief - to those marked for limited survival and to those who remain.
The beloved young Asians of the Asian Youth Orchestra together with all their contemporaries in Asia and everywhere in the world must now live with this global menace, which is only one of many. Let us remember, then, that all the resolutions, conventions and conferences aimed at limiting the atomic bomb and its proliferation will be of no value so long as our hearts are susceptible to doctrines of hate and the flattering propaganda of exclusivity and righteousness, so long as we are not prepared to outlaw the torment of the weak.
May the music of my dear young colleagues go to the very hearts of their audience.
YEHUDI MENUHIN Music Director Asian Youth Orchestra