April 7, 2013
92Y - Roger Waters - “Not to talk is not an option”
There has been some chatter about the cancellation of my interview at 92Y. By way of clarification, here is what I know.
I was invited by 92Y to take part in an interview at the Theresa L. Kaufmann Concert Hall on the 30 th April this year. I checked out a couple of previous talks on YouTube, and as they appeared to be serious and measured discourse, I accepted the invitation to take part.
Things were complicated when the Opera House in São Paulo, Brazil requested my presence for four full productions of Ça Ira, my opera on the French Revolution, around conflicting dates. In the end, the date for the dress rehearsal of Ça Ira fell on the 30 th April, and so, reluctantly and very apologetically, I asked the team at 92Y if my appearance could be re-scheduled. Assistant Director Jennifer Hausler, who had been helping all along, couldn’t have been more understanding, gave me some alternative dates in June and I accepted June the 19th. Everyone was happy. Well, perhaps not quite everyone.
On April 3rd, my publicist in NY received a phone call from Susan Engel, the Director of Lectures at the 92Y, cancelling my re-scheduled engagement without explanation. She did leave a telephone number which we called, but it was only an answering machine with the message that 92Y was closed for Passover. We left messages asking to talk to Susan Engel but have so far received no reply.
I have since been made aware of rumblings on the net suggesting that resistance in the local Jewish community to my coming engagement may have had something to do with its cancellation. If that be the case it saddens me. In these troubled times, opportunities for serious, measured discourse are too precious to be discarded on the altar of sectarian prejudice. Not to talk is not an option.
Also our conversation at the 92Y would not necessarily have needed to be restricted to our hopes for just and peaceful outcomes for both the Israeli and Palestinian peoples. I have other interests, we could have talked about how Pink Floyd got its name, or whether David and I will ever get back together (sorry, irony) or suicide rates among returning veterans or Las Madres de Malvinas, or the missing in Mexico, or the concept of Us and Them.
To bundle up in our dread beliefs serves us not at all.
Not to talk is not an option.
Roger Waters 7th April 2013
PS, At time of posting we have still had no response.