Eddie Vedder’s Anti-War Post Needs To Be Read By Everyone

Written by Tom Williams on 18th July, 2014

Eddie Vedder’s Anti-War Post Needs To Be Read By Everyone

Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder has released a statement defending the anti-war speech he gave at a performance in England’s Milton Keynes last week. Entitled Imagine That – I’m Still Anti-War, the statement reminds those who have been critical of Vedder’s stance that he’s not backing down.

Footage has emerged (below) of Vedder telling the Milton Keynes crowd on 11th July, “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.”

Whilst the crowd were clearly supportive of Vedder’s words, many Israeli fans have been more critical, with the Jerusalem Post going so far as to call Vedder’s rant an “anti-Israel diatribe”, despite Vedder never mentioning Israel directly.

In his newly released official statement (below), Vedder opens by quoting a line from the John Lennon song Imagine, “You may say I’m a dreamer… but I’m not the only one.” Vedder then goes on to highlight the effects of war’s atrocities, saying, “With about a dozen assorted ongoing conflicts in the news everyday, and with the stories becoming more horrific, the level of sadness becomes unbearable.”

Not one to put a total dampener on things, Vedder then told fans that he is hopeful for the world’s future. “That hope springs from the multitudes of people that our band has been fortunate enough to play for night after night here in Europe,” he says. “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.”

Vedder concludes his statement by outlining humankind’s achievements, and asking whether or not conflict should be resolved using violence. “Do we really have to resign ourselves to the devastating reality that conflict will be resolved with bombs, murder and acts of barbarism?” Vedder asks.

“We are such a remarkable species. Capable of creating beauty. Capable of awe-inspiring advancements. We must be capable of resolving conflicts without bloodshed,” he adds, before wrapping up with another line from Lennon. “I hope someday you’ll join us,” Vedder says. “Won’t you listen to what the man said.”

Watch Eddie Vedder’s controversial anti-war speech below, which begins around halfway through the video. Vedder’s full anti-war statement is also available, below.

Watch: Pearl Jam – Daughter (Live at Milton Keynes National Bowl, 11th July, 2014)

Eddie Vedder’s Full Anti-War Statement, ‘Imagine That – I’m Still Anti-War’

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.

— Eddie Vedder

Image: Eddie Vedder / Facebook


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