Hiroshima pan flutes from Palestine olive tree blow peace tunes

September 10, 2010

TOKYO

A Hiroshima-based group is holding peace concerts featuring  music with pan flutes made from Palestinian olive trees cut down by Israel to build a  separation wall that juts into Palestinian territories.

"I really would like to let the children in Hiroshima know that Palestine children see hope in a city that was rebuilt from destruction by the atomic bombing [in August 1945 during the Second World War]," the Rev. Yasuhiro Tateno, the originator of the group's "Hope for the children in Palestine" project, told ENInews.

Tateno, executive director of the Japan Evangelical Lutheran Church, served as the pastor of its church in Hiroshima for 12 years until March 2009.

"From Hiroshima, I would humbly like to help in creating a peaceful world for children in Palestine and the rest of the world where they can have courage and hope," said Kiyotsugu Hashimoto, a victim of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, who heads the group, The Smile and Thanks.

"The cut down trees can be resurrected by the peace prayers of people," the group explains on its English-language Web site. "Even though the tree was killed during a sorrowful time, it can be born again by the warmth of people's hearts and their desire for the realization of peace."

The group adds, "We want to hear the olive trees speak again. We want to know what the olive tree from Palestine has to say to Hiroshima."

Tateno said he sees "the hope of Christ's resurrection" in the flute made from the resurrected tree, just as the Palestinian children see hope in the resurrected city of Hiroshima.

The trees were among many cut down during the Middle East conflict by the Israeli military near Nazareth, where Jesus lived.

The first concert was held in Hiroshima in September 2009 following the completion of some of the pan flutes.

In May, the group visited Bethlehem and presented two of the pan flutes to children in the Palestinian territories. They held a small concert during Sunday worship at the Evangelical Lutheran Christmas Church of Bethlehem with its pastor, the Rev. Mitri Raheb.

A CD entitled "A Peaceful Wind," with tunes using the pan flute, was released on May 20 and the title tune was played in front of the barrier Israel has erected.

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