Letters to the Editors: Malek Jandali Assembly
I thought Malek Jandali’s assembly was very moving and well done. It made me realize how fortunate we really are. It’s amazing how much we take for granted when we have so much, especially freedom. His point that freedom is not free really stuck with me, because to our knowledge, it is. I also loved the whole upper school standing up for a moment of silence for prayer and reflection. Often, we run from class to class without realizing how trivial our problems are compared to some of the world. The movement with the whole school standing in absolute silence really made me feel like we are a family.
What an incredible musician Malek Jandali was, and what a riveting piece that engaged us in the story of his homeland in connection to the piece of music. Watching the corruption of the Syrian government unfold between the notes was captivating. I got goosebumps. His story about the music teacher, killed and shown to the residents of the town as a warning, punctuated his music with sorrow and pain. Listening to the heartbreak of the Ancient Syrian woman who could not beat children in comparison with the Freedom piece was so intriguing. While not the most eloquent speaker, as can be completely expected with a non-native speaker of English, his story was incredible and a wonderful start to the day. Bravo.
I truly enjoyed Malek Jandali’s performance this morning. The blend of modern events with music and stories really captured my attention. Moreover, his speech inspired me. If he is able to leave his entire family and home nation behind in order to move here and fight against the Syrian government, what can we, Pace Academy students, do to help? Sometimes, we get caught up in the petty worries of school and athletics, yet this truly makes me appreciate what we have.
I am in Mr. Carson’s class right now and he just told us to write you a seven minute letter on the Malek Jandali assembly. Good news! I have something to say about it. First off, I thought the assembly was very good. I loved having a musical guest for a change and I was highly focused the entire time. That being said, I was not blown away by his piano playing. I felt like he must have been much better than he let on, which could be the case as ancient music is not as technically complex as Western music as it is no0t backed in studied theory. So while I felt like his piano performing was very nice and clean and emotional, it was not the mad pianist pounding keys that I was expecting. But that’s okay! That is not what this was about. I guess he showed us that you don’t need to be just technically good at something to capture an audience; rather, you must be able to create a balance of everything together to put on a good final show. Who cares that he didn’t throw in a bunch of chromatic scales or something? For me, it was not an assembly about the technical prowess of a musician; instead, it was about a man making a difference through the pursuit of his passion.
This morning’s assembly was one of the most compelling I think we’ve had all year. Malek Jandali presented us with a world that we have never known and atrocities that most of us will never have to experience. He kept asking, “Can you imagine?” and regardless of how one answers, the truth of the matter is no, we cannot. We will never know what it is like to live in fear of the government; we will never know what it is like to be oppressed, to be forcibly silence about what we believe. Having speakers such as him is important in the development of Pace students into citizens of the world.
The Malek Jandali assembly was one of the best assemblies I have attended here. He was a funny, light-hearted, passionate man. His presentation reminded me of a live version of NPR. It was the most beautiful classical music. It is easy with a topic as serious as his to become negative, but he was uplifting. I have not spoken to any other students who disliked the assembly, which with the various personalities at Pace Academy is extremely difficult. I feel like a better citizen of the world because of his speech.
Thank you to Pace for bringing Malek Jandali to our assembly. He was such an inspiration, the way he chose to live his life and come to the United States every though there were very hard times that he had to deal with back home. It’s inspiring how he found the piano and music even though he had nobody to teach him until he was a little older and it seemed to also be a struggle getting to practice because it was so far away from his hometown. Even though he can’t go back because he would be killed, he still tried to help which is such a blessing. Thank you.