The Danger of Romanticizing Terrorists
In “Death of Klinghoffer,” the terrorists sing that they are “men of ideals.”
In a New York Times article (Dec. 9, 2001), famous musicologist Professor Richard Taruskin praised the Boston Symphony for canceling “Death of Klinghoffer” and pointed out that “Death of Klinghoffer” romanticizes terrorists, to the detriment of the fight against terror. Professor Taruskin wrote:
“‘The Death of Klinghoffer’ trades in the tritest undergraduate fantasies. If the events of Sept. 11 could not jar some artists and critics out of their habit of romantically idealizing criminals, then nothing will. But isn’t it time for artists and critics to grow up with the rest of us, now that the unthinkable has occurred?
If terrorism — specifically, the commission or advocacy of deliberate acts of deadly violence directed randomly at the innocent — is to be defeated, world public opinion has to be turned decisively against it. The only way to do that is to focus resolutely on the acts rather than their claimed (or conjectured) motivations, and to characterize all such acts, whatever their motivation, as crimes. This means no longer romanticizing terrorists as Robin Hoods and no longer idealizing their deeds as rough poetic justice. If we indulge such notions when we happen to agree or sympathize with the aims, then we have forfeited the moral ground from which any such acts can be convincingly condemned.”
Tell the Met Opera to follow the Boston Symphony’s good example. Cancel “Death of Klinghoffer”!