Images of the desert merge with the Arabian voice evoking the song of the minarets, when the muezzin called for the hour of prayer. Then Pan flute, tubular bells and percussions add an oriental taste to the video until the unexpected rap. Once again music becomes the most effective way to communicate and Pietro Dall’Oglio chose a meter as fluid as rappers’ and he talks about his brother being kidnapped, which has been silenced for about two years.
This is one of those times when art serves men and becomes a mean of communication, as for “We are the World”, composed in 1985 performed by artists all around the world who helped Ethiopian people during the famine; or the Italian song “Domani” (Tomorrow) written by Mauro Pagani and performed by 56 Italian artists to help after the terrible earthquake in 2009.
In “Abuna Paolo”, nostalgia and hope follow one another in good-beat rhymes; the heartrending rhythm does not want to forget and is still looking for answers facing this kidnapping drama that could be the works of ISIS: “Paolo, where are you, who are you with, are talking or in silence, is someone listening to you? Maybe you are scared, who knows what you are thinking”.
A series of questions echo like gunshots aiming to a faceless enemy, they are accompanied by photos of the mission of the Jesuit from Rome and the translation in Arab for the benefit of Syrians. Faraway memories fill the awaiting space, time is suspended between the past and the future in the hope to see the priest come back home. He was able to respond to the call of love, he gave his life for interreligious dialogue with the Islamic world and he was called prophet o f peace by many.
When he was 21 he entered the Company of Jesus, since 1982 he is in Syria near al-Nabq, 80 km north from Damascus. Here, he starts rebuilding the ancient Monastery “Deir Mar Musa al-Habashi” (Monastery of Saint Moses of Abyssinian). Ten years later an ecumenic community was born, Christians and Muslims live together. This is a slap to those thinking it is impossible for different religions to meet and those wanting to establish a “right religion”.
In 2012, a banishment decree of the Regime wants to make Father Dall’Oglio go away because his activities are not approved by the Regime itself. In January 2013, the Jesuit goes to Syria again and he travels in the areas controlled by the opposition to Assad. He is involved in difficult negotiations to free a group of hostages in Raqqa and during this mission he went missing. On July 29, 2013, he is kidnapped. No one knows if it was the radical muslims, no news is certain about what happened to him.
On the web, different news pop up. Some say he is dead, other say he is a prisoner of ISIS. Nevertheless, there is still no certainty. The Libyan professor Antoine Courbane explained that the division between Christians and Muslims in the Arabian world is part of a political strategy, it has nothing to do with civilians, lifestyle and the history of two different reality in Syria.
In the video made by Pietro Dall’Oglio, music supports the hope that the family of the Jesuit is holding to. What is striking about the track is its ending. As a twinst in the plot, every concern melts away thanks to the image of a man who was able to give meaning to his life and to serve what he believes to.
Translation provided by Mary Ann D’Costa