The Lebanese singer and songwriter says he has been opposed to violence in all its forms his entire life.
By Nohad Topalian for Southeast European Times in Beirut -- 19/02/13
The Lebanese singer says he sings in his native dialect to preserve his national identity for posterity. [facebook.com/nicolasssadehnakleh]
The UN last month chose "Against Killing," by Lebanese singer Nicolas Saadeh Nakhleh, as a call to the world to halt violence, aggression and killing in all its forms.
The song, both meaningful and humanitarian, was released January 11th in collaboration with the UN Information Centre in Beirut.
Nakhleh said the UN choose him to present the song to mark World Peace Day, which falls on September 23rd each year. "The UN wanted to present a meaningful project and I had proposed the idea of a song about ending murder. They saw this aligned with their goals," he said.
He chose the concept "Against Killing" for the sake of peace, he said.
"As humans, we are here on earth for a limited number of years. So we should not spend them in hatred and cruelty that leads humanity to commit murder and end the lives of others, for whatever reason," Nakhleh said. "From an early age, I always thought there are other ways to solve problems no matter how deep they are.
"It is very important to me that people listen and think about the words of the song," he said. "The reasons behind killing are not only related to wars and power struggles. There are other motives such as demanding freedom and democracy or seeking love, money and justice. I am even against the death penalty because its end result is killing."
Nakhleh said his beliefs were formed in part from his experience living through war.
"I suffered through the Lebanese war and realised that the killing that occurred could have been resolved in another way that preserved human life," he said. "Today, the same scenario is repeating itself in many parts of the world since tension and stubbornness -- whether over power or in the work context -- unfortunately lead to killing. In our Arab world, we live in a state of crisis so we urgently need what the song is calling for: using humane means to resolve problems, not killing. I hope the media will focus on raising awareness and spreading peace."
Nakhleh is also known for his song, "Kouni Mar'a" (Be a Woman).
"Women are the foundation of society and important in building humanity," he said. "They are the ones who build, raise and instil principles. Because of my belief in the essential role women play and how much we need them, it is our duty to respect them just as they respect us. Women also are responsible for preserving their place and status in spite of the civil rights abuses they are subjected to at the hands of certain regimes."
A singer and composer, Nakhleh sings exclusively in the Lebanese dialect.
"I believe each singer should sing his [national] identity so it will not be lost," he said. "A song reflects a specific environment, culture and society and so every artist must reflect his own society. It is not wrong for an artist to sing in another dialect, on the condition most of his songs are about his own society so that, through music, he can convey his society's way of thinking, lifestyle and troubles to others.
"For example, 40 years from now, if we don't sing in our dialect, we will not know what this era was about," he said. "When I translate my topics using my own dialect, I preserve that dialect and my unique way of thinking."