Opening speech Oktoberdans 2018
By Sina Saberi, Thursday 18. October
As the stars would conspire, we are here together tonight, sharing this moment, surely with a purpose.
Last time I was in the geographical position of Norway was in 2015 when we had come with a group of artists from Iran for the Oslo dance festival. I got to experience first hand a bit of the Nordic position as a people. Norwegians are wealthy but can almost afford things in their own country. They have to deal with a lot of cold and like very much that which is “koselig”. My affinity with the Norwegians is not only limited to that.
Oktoberdans offered me the chance to be here again. Perhaps so that I could contribute to the understanding of other positions. Not that there are any priorities to one position over the other, but simply to understand where we stand, who we are as humans in our separate, isolated corners.
Indeed, this segregation of our world, with borders that our ancestors imagined and turned into our reality was a very fateful factor to our world as we know it today.
Capitalism was the fruit of their tears and blood; power, what caused war time and again. Indifference, a collective state which got intertwined with our destiny. Terror, a gift to the many many children that the human race left behind as it was rushing its way into the abyss. We live in a beautiful world that is very rapidly shredding into pieces.
I know that coming from there, I probably should not bring examples from the Middle East, I know the ever-truthful media has now for decades done the great job of making utter disaster look like distant passing images on the tube, that have nothing to do with us.
But sorry, I simply had to mention the famine in Yemen which could be the worst the world has seen in 100 years; 13 million people could die if fighting continues there. If this is news to you, no worries. I am sure you would eventually see something about it on Instagram.
We are here for dance! This ancient human culture, this timeless part of our existence… Should I not be out there somewhere saving those in need of my help? Well in any case I am not. I am here; surely for a purpose. Aren’t we all here for a reason?
What we are here for then must be equally asking for our attention. We are in the company of artists, creators, but in the end human beings. Humans who must have had something eating at them from the insides, devouring their peace, aching at night or day.
We are here because the arts are not the most important thing in the world. And they shouldn’t have to be; unless those in positions of power started to face their fear of confronting us each on a human level.
No, the arts are not the most important thing in the world. They are only the most human thing. We imagine, we live, we create and we die. New possibilities, irrational nonsense, our anger and our pain… we create, and we die.
We rely on the universal language of our bodies; create, so that we can genuinely engage with one another. We make our own rules, we rely on the essence of our existence: freedom and love.
Because clearly the wrong notions are being destroyed today: joy, hope, peace, lives and Life.
Human beings are members of a whole,
In creation of one essence and soul.
If one member is afflicted with pain,
Other members uneasy will remain.
If you've no sympathy for human pain,
The name of human you cannot retain!
– Saadi Shirazi, 13th century.