According to The Pulse Of Radio, PEARL JAM singer Eddie Vedder has posted a lengthy statement at the group's web site in which he responds to the attacks directed against him over anti-war comments he made at a show in England last Friday (July 11). Some claimed that Vedder's remarks accused Israel of warmongering over the current conflict with Palestine, while others supported the singer's comments.
"Most of us have heard John Lennon sing, 'You may say I'm a dreamer… but I'm not the only one.' And some of us, after another morning dose of news coverage full of death and destruction, feel the need to reach out to others to see if we are not alone in our outrage. With about a dozen assorted ongoing conflicts in the news everyday, and with the stories becoming more horrific, the level of sadness becomes unbearable. And what becomes of our planet when that sadness becomes apathy? Because we feel helpless. And we turn our heads and turn the page.
"Currently, I'm full of hope. That hope springs from the multitudes of people that our band has been fortunate enough to play for night after night here in Europe. To see flags of so many different nations, and to have these huge crowds gathered peacefully and joyfully is the exact inspiration behind the words I felt the need to emphatically relay.
"When attempting to make a plea for more peace in the world at a rock concert, we are reflecting the feelings of all those we have come in contact with so we may all have a better understanding of each other. That's not something I'm going to stop anytime soon.
"Call me naïve. I'd rather be naïve, heartfelt and hopeful than resigned to say nothing for fear of misinterpretation and retribution.
"The majority of humans on this planet are more consumed by the pursuit of love, health, family, food and shelter than any kind of war.
"War hurts. It hurts no matter which sides the bombs are falling on.
"With all the global achievements in modern technology, enhanced communication and information devices, cracking the human genome, land rovers on Mars etc., do we really have to resign ourselves to the devastating reality that conflict will be resolved with bombs, murder and acts of barbarism?
"We are such a remarkable species. Capable of creating beauty. Capable of awe-inspiring advancements. We must be capable of resolving conflicts without bloodshed.
"I don't know how to reconcile the peaceful rainbow of flags we see each night at our concerts with the daily news of a dozen global conflicts and their horrific consequences. I don't know how to process the feeling of guilt and complicity when I hear about the deaths of a civilian family from a U.S. drone strike. But I know that we can't let the sadness turn into apathy. And I do know we are better off when we reach out to each other.
"'I hope someday you'll join us…
"Won't you listen to what the man said."
Vedder's critics say that the artist has accused Israel of war-mongering in the current escalating military situation with Palestine. The Jerusalem Post called the speech an "anti-Israel diatribe" and printed reactions from fans in Israel, including rock radio DJ Ben Red, who was behind a campaign to get PEARL JAM to come perform in Israel but now has said, "Eddie Vedder, your true face is finally being revealed. You are invited not to come here. I personally do not want to see you, and I will erase the Facebook page calling on bringing (PEARL JAM) to Israel, but not before I expose who you really are."
The politically outspoken Vedder told The Pulse Of Radio a while back that he used to be reluctant to voice his opinion earlier in his career. "I've always been wary, you know, speaking from some kind of a podium as a singer in a rock band," he said. "First of all, I think it's ridiculous that it should be left to the singers of rock bands to have to bring up these issues. But then again, the arts are always going to reflect society, and there could be a responsibility there."
Swigging from a wine bottle — as usual during a PEARL JAM show — Vedder said in his speech (see video below), "What the fuck? What the fuck? We can have this many people having a peaceful time. We can have modern technology. We can reach our friends. We know what they're thinking before they're thinking it. The advertisers know what we're thinking before we're thinking it. We have technology — all this in our hands. At the same time that something this positive is happening, at the same fucking time, not even that far away, they're fucking dropping bombs on each other. What the fucking fuck?"
Vedder continued, "I swear to fucking God, there are people out there who are looking for a reason to kill! They're looking for a reason to go across borders and take over land that doesn't belong to them. They should get the fuck out, and mind their own fucking business... Everyone wants the same goddamn thing: to have our children, eat, procreate, draw a painting, make some art, listen to music, fuck some more, have another baby, eat, work, eat, work, love, love, love, everyone's the fuckin' same! So why are people at war? Stop the fucking shit, now! Now! Now! We don't want to give them our money. We don't want to give them our taxes to drop bombs on children! Now! No more! Now!"
Vedder then dropped to his knees to beg for peace, leading the audience in a rendition of Edwin Starr's "War".
Fans have both defended and attacked Vedder on his Facebook page.
The band does not perform again until this fall, when it kicks off a North American tour on October 1 in Cincinnati.