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September 29, 2014
Judea Pearl is the father of Daniel Pearl, the Wall Street Journal reporter murdered by al Qaeda in 2002. Below are the remarks he prepared for a protest at Monday nightâ€™s opening of the Metropolitan Opera, whose season is to include â€œThe Death of Klinghoffer,â€ an opera widely criticized as justifying terrorism. â€” The Editors Friends and fellow protesters: In joining you today to protest the New York Metropolitan Opera production of this opera, I echo the silenced voice of my son, Daniel Pearl, and the silenced voices of other victims of terror, including James Foley and Steven Sotloff, and including thousands of men, women and children who were murdered, maimed or left heartbroken by the new menace of our generation, a menace of savagery that the Met has decided to elevate to a normative, two-sided status, worthy of artistic expression. They tell us that the composer tried to â€œunderstand the hijackers, their motivations and their grievances.â€ I submit to you that there has never been a crime in human history lacking grievance and motivation. The 9/11 lunatics had profound motivations, and the murderers of my son, Daniel Pearl, had very compelling â€œgrievances.â€ In the past few weeks, we have seen with our own eyes that Hamas and ISIS have grievances, too â€” and they, too, are lining up for operatic productions with the Met. There is nothing more enticing to a would-be terrorist than the prospect of broadcasting his â€œgrievancesâ€ in Lincoln Center, the icon of American culture. Yet civilized society, from the time of our caveman ancestors, has learned to protect itself by codifying right from wrong, separating the holy from the profane, distinguishing that which deserves the sound of orchestras from that which deserves our unconditional revulsion. The Met has smeared this distinction and thus betrayed its contract with society. I submit to you that choreographing an operatic drama around criminal pathology is not an artistic prerogative, but a blatant betrayal of public trust. We do not stage operas for rapists and child molesters, and we do not compose symphonies for penetrating the minds of ISIS executioners. No! Composer John Adams, some stories do not have two sides, and what was done to Leon Klinghoffer has one side only. What we are seeing here in New York today is not an artistic expression that challenges the limits of morality, but a moral deformity that challenges the limits of the art. This opera is not about the mentality of deranged terrorists, but about the judgment of our arts directors. The New York Met has squandered humanityâ€™s greatest treasure â€” our moral compass, our sense of right and wrong and, most sadly, our reverence for music as a noble expression of the human spirit. We might be able someday to forgive the Met for de-criminalizing brutal minds, but we will never forgive them for poisoning our music â€” for turning our best violins and our iconic concert halls into megaphones for excusing evil. [Met General Manager] Peter Gelb, let me repeat what I wrote to you on Thursday: â€œMay God give you the courage to admit that this was a hasty, short-sighted decision that can be reversed.â€ May Dannyâ€™s last words strengthen your heart to say: â€œI erred.â€ Judea Pearl is the president of the Daniel Pearl Foundation.
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