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 “understand the hijackers, their motivations, and their grievances.”
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 “grievances.”
In the past few weeks we have seen with our own eyes that Hamas and ISIS have grievances, too 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 “grievences” 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 their 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 sides 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 humanity's greatest treasure — 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 some day to forgive the Met for de-criminalizing brutal minds, but we will never forgive them for poisoning our music — for turning our best violins and our iconic concert halls into mega-phones for excusing evil.
Mr. Peter Gelb, Let me repeat what I wrote to you on Thursday:
“May God give you the courage to admit that this was a hasty, shortsighted decision that can be reversed.”
May Danny's last words strengthen your heart to say: “I erred.”
President, Daniel Pearl Foundation.