Rattle, Mutter, Argerich and Bychkov shout out against cultural bullying

Rattle, Mutter, Argerich and Bychkov shout out against cultural bullying

Here’s a new statement from musical leaders, in condemnation of the Amsterdam Concertgebouw:

We, the undersigned, wish to express our strongest indignation at the decision to cancel the Jerusalem String Quartet’s two performances at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam.  The Hall’s management has yielded to the threats of the demonstrators for fear that the performances might be disrupted and potentially endanger the public, staff, and artists.  The rationale behind this is fundamentally flawed.  The responsibility for public safety lies with the police and security services and is not then remit of a cultural venue.

We are fortunate to live in a world where freedom of speech and expression exist; where plurality of views are not only tolerated but encouraged.  These freedoms are not selective and, must be applied to all and respected by everyone in totality.

It is not the Jerusalem String Quartet’s performances that put our freedom in danger, but those who threaten public order unless their demands are met.  Surrendering to those threats is not only an act of weakness, but a clear signal that we are not willing or prepared to defend our democratic values and our way of life. This is not acceptable and is highly dangerous for it undermines the very foundations of our society.

Is this how our security and protection will be achieved? By appeasing the bullies? By not wanting to be disturbed? By hoping that this will blow over and we can get on with building bridges to a better world?

The freedoms that so many lost their lives for are not guaranteed forever unless we protect them and continue to fight for them.
SEMYON BYCHKOV, SIMON RATTLE, MARTHA ARGERICH, ANNE-SOPHIE MUTTER, MISCHA MAISKY, LAHAV SHANI

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