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Eddie Vedder Responds to Criticism Over Anti-War Plea: ‘Imagine That — I’m Still Anti-War’

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(Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)

(Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)

By Kevin Rutherford

Eddie Vedder‘s anti-war rant at a recent show with Pearl Jam in England has made headlines across the world, some because it was touted as perhaps being anti-Israel.

Vedder finally addressed the comments he made in a post on Pearl Jam’s website today (July 16), but he’s not exactly backing down from what he said.

In a post titled “Imagine That — I’m Still Anti-War,” Vedder wrote fondly of John Lennon’s anti-war anthem “Imagine” and stood firm in his comments while refraining from addressing his critics.

Related: Eddie Vedder Makes Anti-War Plea from Stage Touted By Some as Anti-Israel

“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,” he wrote. “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.”

He added: “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?

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,” he concluded. “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.”

Read the full statement below.

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

Vedder made the comments in question at an England concert during which he launched into a long, impassioned rant that some took some fans by surprise, including certain Israelis who felt that Vedder was leaning in favor of Palestine in the two sides’ conflict.

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