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Karlheinz Stockhausen and The White Helmets: a case study in western hypocrisy

In 2001 a famous composer spoke on the dark theological and metaphysical questions raised by 9/11 and he was mercilessly criticised. In 2017 the group who claimed responsible for the attack was gifted an Oscar.

War has inspired masterful works of art from ancient times to the present day.  Many people are drawn to music, painting, sculpture, poetry and novels inspired by war as a way to understand and perhaps be at peace with the realities of man’s inhumanity to man.

Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, the finest work of art Europe has ever produced (for the record I consider Russia to be a Eurasian culture), was amongst other things, a clarion call for peace and fraternity after much of Europe and Russia experienced hellish wars of aggression at the hands of Revolutionary and Napoleonic France.

The idea that art inspired by war should be laureled is neither exotic nor surprising.  But what is endlessly disturbing is the sheer hypocrisy of many on the post-modern, ultra-liberal left who employ dangerous double standards when casting judgement on the artistic expression and free speech of others.

After the 9/11 disaster, German composer Karlheinz Stockhausen offered his views on what the attacks meant from the position of an artist. His words were taken totally out of content by both the Germany and English speaking press. The context of the following quote arose from a theological and metaphysical discussion on the nature of Lucifer and the Devil’s Art, something which the English poet Kipling explored in The Conundrum of the Workshops.

Stockhausen responded in the following way:

“What has happened is – now you all have to turn your brains around – the greatest work of art there has ever been. That minds could achieve something in one act, which we in music cannot even dream of, that people rehearse like crazy for ten years, totally fanatically for one concert, and then die.

This is the greatest possible work of art in the entire cosmos. Imagine what happened there. There are people who are so concentrated on one performance, and then 5000 people are chased into the Afterlife, in one moment. This I could not do. Compared to this, we are nothing as composers… Imagine this, that I could create a work of art now and you all were not only surprised, but you would fall down immediately, you would be dead and you would be reborn, because it is simply too insane.

Some artists also try to cross the boundaries of what could ever be possible or imagined, to wake us up, to open another world for us”.

Many felt that these remarks were somehow an apologia for the vicious, barbaric attacks. In reality, they were an acceptance of humility, in so far as a man who devoted himself to often challenging and at times impenetrable music, stood in sorrow as the devil’s violent art was able to stain and confound the consciousness of millions around the world more effectively than the art of a peace loving musician such as himself.

Because of the furore caused by the remarks, the devastated composer clarified his remarks in this statement,

“After returning from Hamburg I find false, defamatory reports in the press. I am as dismayed as everyone else about the attacks in America.

At the press conference in Hamburg, I was asked if MICHAEL, EVE and LUCIFER were historical figures of the past and I answered that they exist now, for example Lucifer in New York.

In my work, I have defined Lucifer as the cosmic spirit of rebellion, of anarchy. He uses his high degree of intelligence to destroy creation. He does not know love. After further questions about the events in America, I said that such a plan appeared to be Lucifer’s greatest work of art. Of course I used the designation “work of art” to mean the work of destruction personified in Lucifer. In the context of my other comments this was unequivocal.

I cannot find a fitting name for such a “satanic composition”. In my case, it was not and is not my intention to hurt anyone. Since the beginning of the attack onward I have felt solidarity with all of the human beings mourning this atrocity. Not for one moment have I thought or felt the way my words are now being interpreted in the press.

The journalist in Hamburg completely ripped my statements out of a context, which he had not recorded in its entirety, to use it as a vile attack against my person and the Hamburg Music Festival. This whole situation is regrettable and I am deeply sorry if my remarks were misconstrued to offend the grieving families of the brutal terrorist attacks on New York City and Washington D.C. I will continue to keep the victims of this outrage in my prayers”.

Stockhausen’s poetic words were used to disparage his genius. By contrast the manifestly stupid Hollywood celebrities, awarded, in the most blasé manner imaginable, The White Helmets, a terrorist organisation who are bringers of misery to the Syrian people.

It beggars belief that 16 years after the 911 attacks for which al-Qaeda claimed responsibility, a group called White Helmets who are manifestly affiliated with al-Qaeda’s operatives in Syria, have won an Oscar.

16 years after Stockhausen’s infamous works calling the 911 attacks the devils art, the same devils are now embraced by liberal America and given an award for their ‘art’. The art of the White Helmets includes participating in beheadings, disposing of the mutilated bodies of the innocent in ways which runs contrary to the teachings of Islam, smiling, dancing and shooting guns in the air whilst waving al-Qaeda flags, in the midst of a war zone and staging fake rescue operations, something that many call ‘war porn’, a vulgar term for a vulgar act.

It is a pity that Stockhausen isn’t alive to see how now the devil’s art has gone mainstream. Great composers and challenging artists continue to be ignored while the devil’s spectacle that confounded hearts and minds in 2001 is now given the most prestigious entertainment award in the western world. Stockhausen was lacerated for exercising free speech and his words were molested by a savage press. The White Helmets are laureled with impunity and the mainstream media continue to mock those who ‘question more’.

Truth is always stranger than fiction.

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Adam Garrie
Writer at The Duran