Iraqi culture “re-enters the world stage”

Most excellent.

The Iraqi National Symphony performed for President Bush and a large audience Tuesday night, presenting another side of the nation whose image is shaped by daily reports of combat and death.

”I think the importance of our presence here is for the Americans to learn about the capabilities and all the resources that are present in Iraq,” said Saad al-Dujaily, who plays flute for the orchestra.

The 63-member Iraqi group was joined by the Washington National Symphony Orchestra at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Leonard Slatkin, music director of the Washington Symphony, shared the stage with Iraqi conductor Mohammed Amin Ezzat in leading the combined orchestra through six pieces, one composed by Ezzat.

Cello virtuoso Yo-Yo Ma also performed with the orchestras.

Secretary of State Colin Powell called the performance the ”historic re-entry of the Iraqi culture on the world stage.” He hosted the performance, which was sponsored by State Department. *snip*

We did the right thing.