After fighting hard to liberate one key city in Syria, Russia believed it was time put down its weapons for a just a little while, at least while a concert was playing.
The concert featured the Mariinsky State Academic Symphony Orchestra under the direction of National Artist of Russia Valery Gergiev. During the concert, Russian President Vladimir Putin appeared before the crowd via a video conference.
He said that the concert is “a symbol of gratitude, memory and hope.” Putin also went on to honor the memory of those who have lost their lives to terrorism.
The Russian president also stressed that there is a need to fight terrorists such as ISIS as one unified force. He said, “Each and every one of us must look at any success in the fight against terrorism as a common victory, and always, everywhere, must see any victim of terror as a personal loss and sorrow.”
And so, the music played on with Gergiev choosing songs that reflected optimism. These included Johann Sebastian Bach’s “Chaconne for Solo Violin” and Sergei Prokofiev’s “Symphony No. 1.” For a moment, some may have forgotten that the Islamic State lines were just nine miles away.
According to a report from The New York Times, the invitation to the concert came almost abruptly. It also came with a dress code and an instruction to bring a bulletproof vest.
The venue was Palmyra’s famous amphitheatre, which ISIS had once used for mass executions. The concert was aptly entitled “Prayer for Palmyra – Music Brings the Ancient Walls to Life.”
Palmyra is now home to a lot of ancient ruins. It’s previous occupants, the ISIS, had pillaged it enough so that a good number of its ancient treasures built as far back as 32 AD are now unrecognizable. Needless to say, the ISIS had barely left any ancient structure standing here.
According to a report from Reuters, the city’s Temple of Bel and Arch of Triumph were among the worst casualties of ISIS destruction. The same can also be said the statue of Greek goddess Athena in the Palmyra museum. When ISIS came, the said museum was destroyed. Athena had lost her head and arm. Palmyra is now in a state of rubbles and Russia is hoping that a bit of music can help bring its ancient walls back to life.