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Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder Addresses His Onstage Anti-War Plea in New Blog Post

Pearl Jam Eddie Vedder
Gareth Cattermole, Getty Images

On July 11, Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder launched into a passionate anti-war plea while performing onstage in England. While he never mentioned Israel by name, Vedder’s speech was widely believed to be directed at Israel’s recent bombings of the Gaza Strip, leading the rocker to being labelled as anti-Israel by the country’s supporters. In response, Vedder has penned a statement explaining his intentions.

For those who have followed Pearl Jam over the years, Vedder’s outspoken views against war have long been front-and-center. For many, many years, Pearl Jam have covered anti-war anthems such as Bob Dylan’s ‘Masters of War’ and the Edwin Starr’s ‘War’ live in concert.

In a post titled, ‘Imagine That — I’m Still Anti-War,’ Vedder addresses his recent onstage plea and his views which inspired it:

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

Pearl Jam will embark on a short U.S. tour this October. For the full list of dates, click here.

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