In their first-ever composed song, “Resistez” – written in French – juniors Prianka Bedi and Sofia Xargay captured the emotional turmoil and political discord that seized bystanders of the Nazi-occupation of France during World War II, earning first place in the 11th-12th grade category in the 2013 Mordechai Anielewicz Creative Arts Competition.
The song’s inspiration developed from a project assigned in French class, where Bedi and Xargay were asked to create an artistic expression of the French Resistance Movement against the arrest of the Jews during World War II.
Instead of making posters, the duo decided to challenge themselves and write a song together, each taking turns writing the lyrics and the music. Bedi, who plays frequently on her guitar, and Xargay, a soprano in the school’s Bel Cantos choir, found composing a song to be a natural project for them and one that they could collaborate on and have fun with.
“'Resistez' became more of a modern call to resist, even though it’s about that time period (during the Second World War),” said Bedi. “It was made in the hope that others would be inspired to stand up against prejudice and inequity in their lives, just as we were inspired by the brave members of the French resistance.”
Barbara Barnett, French teacher and head of the Modern Language Department at Agnes Irwin, was so impressed by “Resistez” that she entered the students’ work into the Mordechai Anielewicz Creative Arts Competition, which invites students to submit original written, musical, art, film and creative dance works focusing on Holocaust themes.
The original song earned Xargay and Bedi first place in the 11th-12th grade category. “I am so very proud of Prianka and Sofia,” said Barnett. “They took a horrific event (the Holocaust) and transformed it into a song of hope and a call for peace. With their lovely music and moving words – in French – they are asking us all to remain vigilant and ensure that all women and men live without discrimination or persecution.”
When asked what the pair hope others will take away from “Resistez,” they replied as follows:
Xargay: It doesn’t have to be about huge atrocities happening in other places that we’ve never been to. You know, this can be here, even with, like, bullying. Just stand up for what’s right and for what you believe in.
Bedi: Yeah! Don’t be the bystander.
Xargay: Exactly. I think that’s the spirit of the resistance, and that’s what we were trying to bring back with this song.
The girls have been invited to perform “Resistez” at an exhibition and award ceremony to be held at the Moore College of Art and Design on June 3.