|Leon Klinghoffer, 1916-1985|
Opinion Page/Letters to the Editor..
22 September '14
H/T Israel Matzav
To the Editor:
Re “The Met Opera Stands Firm” (editorial, Sept. 20):
In joining protesters of the New York Metropolitan Opera’s production of “The Death of Klinghoffer,” I echo the silenced voice of our son, Daniel Pearl, and the silenced voices of other victims of terror who were murdered, maimed or left heartbroken by the new menace of our generation, a savagery that the Met has decided to elevate to a normative, two-sided status worthy of artistic expression.
We are told that the composer tried to understand the hijackers, their motivations and their grievances.
I submit 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 our son, Daniel Pearl, had very compelling “grievances.”
In the last few weeks we have seen with our own eyes that Hamas and the Islamic State have grievances, too. There is nothing more enticing to a would-be terrorist than the prospect of broadcasting his “grievances” in Lincoln Center, the icon of American culture.
Yet civilized society 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 commands our unconditional revulsion. The Met has trashed this distinction and thus betrayed its contract with society.
I submit that choreographing a “nuanced” operatic drama around criminal pathology is not an artistic prerogative, but a blatant betrayal of public trust. We do not stage “nuanced” operas for rapists and child molesters, and we do not compose symphonies for penetrating the minds of ISIS executioners.
Some coins do not have two sides. And what was done to Leon Klinghoffer has no other side.
What we are seeing in New York 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 Metropolitan Opera 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 someday be able to forgive the Met for decriminalizing brutality, but we will never forgive it for poisoning our music, for turning our best violins and our iconic concert halls into megaphones for excusing evil.
President, Daniel Pearl Foundation
Los Angeles, Sept. 21, 2014
A version of this letter was read at the protest at the Met on Monday.