Rock stars have a habit of raising a ruckus. Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam has been in the news the last week or so for his anti-war statements, including a rant that some people thought was directed towards Israel. He was pretty fired up, and ticked off a lot of people, although he didn’t specifically mention any country or group in his initial comments. On July 18, at a show in Portugal, he elaborated a bit, and spoke more clearly about his position. “If you’re anti-war, it doesn’t mean you are ‘pro’ one side or the other in a conflict,” he said. “However, it does make you ‘pro’ many things: pro-peace, pro-human, pro-evolution, makes you pro-communication, pro-diplomacy, pro-love, pro-understanding, pro-forgiveness.” Vedder also mused that you can be “anti-war”, but also “pro-soldier”, and said that he and Pearl Jam have many friends and fans in the military. I would agree with him on that one point – nobody LIKES war, (I know I certainly don’t), and I don’t care to see our men and women, or anyone else in the line of fire, but I also firmly believe that a strong military is absolutely necessary for a strong country, and that we all should support and respect our folks in uniform for the sacrifices they make. Every time I see someone in uniform, I know the hardships they face, and I’m grateful to them for what they do each and every day. I’m also amazed by their families, who are strong enough to go through their daily lives not knowing when they’ll see their loved one again.
On Pearl Jam’s website, Vedder posted an open letter to fans, (read it here) and included a quote from John Lennon’s “Imagine”. His post included this statement: “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,” he wrote. “War hurts. It hurts no matter which sides the bombs are falling on.”
At that above mentioned show in Portugal, Vedder spoke about “Imagine”, saying “I think it is the most powerful song ever written, which is why I have never played it.” He played it that night, accompanied only by an acoustic guitar, and encouraged the crowd to sing along.