Monday 20 September 2021

In support of Afghan musicians

Recent image from an Afghan music department
Recent image from an Afghan music department

Ulla Benz is a German violinist who teaches at the Berlin University of the Arts, and is also a medical Doctor in Munich working on a voluntary basis for Cultures in Harmony via founder William Harvey who is concertmaster of the National Symphony Orchestra in Mexico and Emeritus Professor of the Afghanistan National Institute of Music.

The situation in Afghanistan for musicians and artists is tragic, and extremely dangerous. In the past weeks the Taliban have been destroying instruments, and now musicians are also being persecuted, their homes burned and people killed.

A WhatsApp group of over one hundred and sixty Afghan musicians is full of cries for help which Ulla and William see on a daily basis. Some of these musicians have also been victims of previous ISIS bombings. Ulla is personally connected to one young musician - seventeen years old - who’s violin was burnt by the Taliban and then she was seriously injured in the Kabul airport bombing, and is now in hospital. Two of her friends were among the fatalities.

This story in the Hindustani Times is representative; other musicians had their houses searched by the Taliban and have had to flee and spend the night in the open, others have already been killed.

The hoped-for solution is to rescue these musicians from Afghanistan and offer them a safe country to live in. Ulla has a compiled a list of more than three hundred musicians and, currently, this list is available from the foreign ministries of Mexico, Italy, Germany and the USA. We know that not one government can take them all these musicians in, so we want to try to get help from everywhere.

Musicians and politicians from the UK are needed to help support this project to rescue musicians from Afghanistan – can anyone help?

Contact for more information - Ulla Benz

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