Just in: Christoph von Dohnanyi warns against the new US intolerance

Just in: Christoph von Dohnanyi warns against the new US intolerance


norman lebrecht

February 06, 2017

A personal statement issued today by the music director emeritus of the Cleveland Orchestra:

6th February, 2017

Four men in my family were executed by the Nazis. Hans von Dohnanyi, my father, honored in Yad Vashem, was killed in the Nazi concentration camp Sachsenhausen short before the Second World War ended. At the same time the world-renowned theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, brother of my mother, my godfather, was executed in the concentration camp Flossenbürg. In 1930 Bonhoeffer began his studies in New York City at the Union Theological Seminary and learned to love and admire the United States of America.

I know today he would be extremely unhappy observing a tendency of religious intolerance in the country he once admired so much for its freedom and acceptance. He never could have imagined that this strong, great nation would find itself in the political and ethical crisis it now faces. A nation’s heart may race when it feels threatened, fearful, or even terrified. But this heart, no matter how “devout”, should never tolerate walls nor turn away those seeking help. People died at the Berlin Wall. Many people died in Hitler’s concentration camps for their unwavering beliefs in the value of their ethics and in their fellow man. These beliefs are now endangered in many Western nations including, sadly enough, the USA. This is unimaginable.

Also unimaginable, for instance: I should have a U.S. visa and move through passport control without incident. Next to me another musician would have the same kind of visa. He would be detained because he is a Muslim from Iran. He would be sent back after hours of interrogation. But Christians would be excepted from these new regulations. (By the way, Bonhoeffer – a fervent and prominent supporter of ecumenical Christianity – would have strongly opposed that.) Rising walls will unfortunately keep many talented, well educated and good people away from travelling to the U.S. this might be sad. But by far more relevant remains the question, whether walls will make anybody safer. We all know, fear and aggression produce nothing but fear and aggression.

What kind of world are we living in? A world of “Texas first!”, “California first!”, Asia, Africa, America, Europe or Australia “first!”? Or do we live in a world that puts human dignity, humanity, fearlessness and compassion above everything else? In it’s great days our much-loved USA was such a country.

There is hope that the current political turmoil in the U.S. will, in fact, harm the extreme-rightwing parties in some upcoming, important European elections.

(c) Christoph von Dohnanyi


  • Petros Linardos says:

    A heartfelt thank you.

    • Every musician performing in the U.S. should see this. Maestro Dohnanyi’s memorable and heartfelt words should represent our collective conscience. Let us work collectively to heed the wisdom of this musical and ethical giant, and assure, in the process, that his father and uncle did not die in vain.

      • Steve P says:

        Sorry, citizens of countries that live, work, and pay taxes are sick and tired of protected and pampered elected officials in their ivory towers making up new rules for citizenship. Right wing nationalism is a necessity until the world realizes that radical Islam has a very definite agenda and will stop at nothing to destroy the West. I could care less what your political beliefs are – but to be an ignorant fool regarding the threats posed by unchecked mass of Islamic refugees has be checked.

        • Petros Linardos says:

          There is a difference between vetting immigrants and randomly discriminating for a few countries and one religion. Last but not least, countless studies show that in retrospect Trump’s measures wouldn’t have protected the US from recent attacks, not to mention that they play into the narrative of extremists’ recruiting efforts. Finally, one can make a good case that in showing contempt for the judicial branch does not defend the constitution.

          • Nick says:

            @Petros Linardos,,
            never heard such incredible crap (pardon the expression) except from CNN and the like. “randomly discriminating for a few countries and one religion”. FYI, the 7 countries designated for ban were “surgically” targeted by President Obama as the most dangerous islamic terrorist countries. Naturally, there are many more, but they were NOT on Obama’s list! As far is religions is concerned: how many Christian or Jewish terror acts you heard of in the last 10 years?! If this were a “Muslim hunt” there would have been many more countries involved. It is NOT a “Muslim hunt”, and has nothing do to with islamophobia, but it DOES have to do with the real threat of Islamic Terrorism. And, yes, these measures would NOT protect us completely, but they will diminish the chances of us being killed. How about that? That these mild measures “play into the narratives of extremists” is an other piece of crap, nothing can be further from the reality precisely because the extremists are very well educated people and they wait for people like yourself to establish their narrative!! THey know very well that there are too many of you and you can influence public opinion and they wait and hope for that.

            As far as Constitution goes: we will see what the Supreme Court decides, if it goes that far. There is absolutely no contempt here on the part of the President. The President has the constitutional OBLIGATION, not only the right, to protect the homeland and it is prescribed in the Constitution black on white! He needs to protect me and, unfortunately, also people like you – all the people !!!

            This is what Constitution provides the President with. The judge, who decided to go against the Executive Branch, already had a number of controversies himself. He is not as clean as the Left presents. So, hence, “so called judge” from Mr. Trump. I do not approve of that language in public, but I understand the frustration behind these words and cannot blame the President. I am respectful and patient, unlike you. And I am not rushing to judgement. We will see what happens .

        • Nick says:

          I am afraid, “nationalism” is a dangerously sounding word. What the President proposes is hardly “nationalism”, but rather heightened national interests. The Left-wing media deliberately exaggerates and distorts what Mr. Trump says and does. True, the first steps of a non-politician might be clumsy, but so are the first steps in any field of human endeavor. ANd thank goodness we have finally a non-politician in the White House. One cannot and should not blame Trump for anything, because it is simply IMPOSSIBLE to work in an atmosphere of media frenzy, Left organized and Left supported protests, distortions, half truths and downright lies of the media. Organized pogroms on the university campuses, beatings, damaging property, hooliganism, intolerance, banditism and intimidation by the Left wing snowflakes.
          The total inability of the Left to accept the defeat and the media childishness of which they accuse Mr. Trump is simply laughable. Unfortunately, the current President has to work in the most hostile environment created exclusively by the Left wing media fascism!
          America lost respect in the world during the Bush/Obama years, becuase of its foreign policies, endless lies and wars. Let us hope that the current president will manage to restore at least some of the respect America used to have. It is in this sense, that the so called Trump’s ‘nationalism’ should be understood. It is national pride that he wants to give back to America, and there is nothing nationalistic, racist, homophobic, xenophobic, fascist or islamophobic in it! The real fascists always came from the Left, let us not forget!

          All these are wild political inventions and innuendos of the Left loonies! And they have been doing it for so long that they became really very good at that.

          With all due respect to Maestro Dohnanyi, he is much better off conducting his business in which he really excelled. It is not becoming ot someone of Dohnanyi’s statue to put himself in the same row with other “entertainers”, like Madonna, Beyonce and the likes.

          No one can know what the perished in the Nazi concentration camps would have said to Mr. Trump’s policies, but most likely they would welcome the idea of moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem, thus recognizing that: 1. Jerusalem is a historic capital of the Jews and 2. that Palestine is NOT occupied by the Israel. Even on that one move it seems all 6.000.000 perished Jews would have been grateful to Mr. Trump!

          So, let us leave the dead in peace and do what we, the living, have to do. And that is: to defeat Left fascism in America, to teach the Left about tolerance, respect for other opinions and the ability to accept political defeat graciously and let the legitimately elected president do his work and not try to put sticks into wheels at any given moment, 24/7/365!! Every minute of every day of every week, The Left behavior is nothing short of DISGUSTING, and VERY DANGEROUS!

      • Joe Deegan says:

        I don’t agree with him about a new intolerance. Those on the left just aren’t used to those on the right talking back to them.

    • Steven Norsworthy says:

      Why won’t our so-called allies in the Middle East take in their ‘neighbors’ who are homeless or under siege?
      What happened to our so-called ‘foreign aid’ to these countries who won’t take them in?
      Why should we continue to give foreign aid to countries who will not show compassion for their own neighbors?
      Why are we opposed to more careful vetting people who come from terrorist-ridden countries?
      Don’t we have a higher obligation to protect our homeland from domestic terror?
      I don’t understand the so-called ‘compassion’ of the Left. They don’t seem to acknowledge the dangers no matter how much domestic terror we suffer in the name of radical Islamic extremism. Please explain.

      • Lorna Salzman says:

        When it comes to foreign policy there are no explanations or at least any that the government would want to reveal to the public. Today’s NYT piece on the complete
        corruption of civil society in Somalia gives you one snapshot of the bigger picture. All your questions and skepticism are well founded. Here’s another: why do we ship billions of dollars to countries where the average family has upwards of six children? Aren’t people of other nations responsible for limiting births? We demand responsibility from corporations to not pollute or exploit their workers or destroy natural resources. Why don’t we demand birth limits in Africa in the countries that we help financially? To not do so signifies a patronizing attitude that suggests that these people are too stupid to do anything about their expanding populations. At some point resources will dwindle as will cash from us and there will be uncontrollable famines. Add on climate change drought and wildfires, and you will have tens of million of refugees fleeing….but to where? Foreign aid should be conditioned on women’s rights, birth control and abortion measures. Religion and patriarchy must not be allowed to control women and society. And mass humanitarianism like Merkel is allowing is nothing less than cultural suicide, because Muslims refuse to assimilate at best, and at worst will exploit their hosts. The result of European accommodation of immigrants is what has strengthened – no, CREATED – the right wing and phony populists. The LEFT in effect created the RIGHT by denying the dangers of Islamism and mass immigration. And that’s what they did in the U.S.election too. Now we are all at risk because of their ideology and denial of reality.

        • Nick says:

          We should have elected YOU the President of these United States!! Bravo!

        • John Borstlap says:

          “And mass humanitarianism like Merkel is allowing is nothing less than cultural suicide, because Muslims refuse to assimilate at best, and at worst will exploit their hosts.” The breathtaking stupidity of this remark should be framed as documentation of the suicidal mentality of ignorant, rightwing populism. The majority of muslem immigrants in Europe become European, they even sip through into the musical world, they set-up small businesses, and as far as they practice their religion, developments are comparable with catholics, jews, protestants: religion as a private affair and not a strict orthodoxy. If enough effort is spent on helping them to become European, that does not mean taking-away their religion. There are many different strands in the muslem world of how people experience their religion, and given the fact that first, it is people who are religiously inclined and then second, they fill it in with whatever religion is at hand, paranoia of western Wutbürger is entirely misplaced. Terrorists attack muslems as well as westerners, so it is crazy to generalize immigrants from muslem countries.

          “2015 waren in Deutschland Migranten für 44 Prozent der Firmen-Gründungen verantwortlich, 2003 waren es 13 Prozent. Angesichts dieser Zahl wird das rechte Motto ‘Grenzen dicht’ zur Selbstbeschädigung.” (Source: Wiener Zeitung.) New businesses being set-up in Germany contribute to the economy, and they become German. Their children are then born Germans, born Europeans. A nice example is David Afkham, brilliant young German conductor whose musical instincts are deeply rooted in German romanticism, while being the son of Iranian immigrants. His brother is violinist in the Berliner Philharmoniker. Etc. etc….

          • Lorna Salzman says:

            I am more amused than angry at being accused of being a right wing racist and having stupid opinions. These quite flimsy attacks are substitutes for reasoned arguments and the lack of evidence for their own beliefs. They also ignore the fundamental arguments presented by me and supported by others: that it is Islam ( among other fundamental religions) that is responsible for encouraging deference to individual political ideologies, and that those who attack Islam are taking AWAY our civil liberties or want to deny citizens the right to speak or worship as they please. This is the m.o. of the left and the
            deferential liberals: to attack those who DEFEND truth, freedom, democracy and equality rather than those whose religion or ideology wants to DENY these to us. Across western civilization now it is the authoritarian left that is conducting campaigns on our campuses to stifle free speech and dissent, and to force students to conform to their retrogressive proto-totalitarian views. Those who are angered by criticism of radical Islam, sharia law and Muslim oppression of women are behaving like spoiled
            five year olds who can’t have their way and have no defense except lashing out with
            personal attacks. Of course they lack any evidence that Islamism protects the civil
            liberties and freedoms of its followers and have never offered any. Nor have they produced evidence that says that critics of Islam are wrong. They are reduced to issuing insults and the quite boring tired accusation of “racism”, confident in their own moral superiority. That my quite reasoned statements about the refusal of Muslims to assimilate (I am not talking about those who have lived in Europe for most of their lives but of the new immigrants) are met with personal attacks only indicates the paucity of
            evidence to the contrary.

          • John Borstlap says:

            To Lorna:

            Generalizations as in your earlier comment are not arguments. If you would know something about islam and muslem countries, and about the realities how people live there and what roles religion plays in their lives, you would put a break on your roullade (although I’m not sure).

            In islam, there is no one authority like in R Catholicism. People who identify themselves as muslem, may not have a clue about what is written in the koran, and most of them have their own, mostly vage idea of what it is all about and if they are decent, civilized people, they pick-up what confirms their beliefs. Extremists project their own frustration and hatred into the texts and pick-out what they need. It is the same with Christianity: people seek wrapping paper for their religious needs and make-up their own version of religion. It is also possible to make a dangerous ideology of Christianity and indeed, there exist Christian fanatics, as there are Jewish fanatics (read the news). It is important to make a distinction between so-called ‘holy books’ and ‘religions’ and what people make of them.

          • Joe Deegan says:

            America and our Allies ended Hitler’s terror, with the loss of Hundreds of thousands of our men, so why are we being told we are latent Nazis ?

  • Alex Klein says:

    It is of particular praise to read his words, because top level artists rarely manifest their political or social opinions. Perhaps this could somehow damage their reputations, reduce fees, reduce the number of engagements, and thus it would be preferable to be seen favorably by both sides of a question. Dohnanyi’s example should be followed, and our top artists should lead not just from podiums and soloist places, but also lead in our struggle for what art has always represented to humanity, that humanity is one. I am looking forward to hearing from other top artists about their putting humanity and decency above their careers. And no, I do not think Dohnanyi’s name will in any way be damaged for him taking a stance. Looking forward to working with him soon.

  • Ungeheuer says:

    Well said

  • Lorna Salzman says:

    Who could disagree? Not I, but I would add this fact: the humanitarian principles we seek to operate by do not exist in the Muslim world, where there is not only intolerance for
    nonMuslims but an active government-legitimized violent resistance and oppression of Christians and Jews. Religious freedom, not to mention freedom of speech, dissent and association, does not exist outside the west. Nor do women’s rights. We hold a women’s march for western women’s rights but refuse to speak out loud about the vile suppression and abuse of Muslim women and the routine “cultural tradition” of honor killings, killings of apostates and gays, child marriage, etc. We are very good at screeching about our own failings (police brutality, discrimination) but refuse to hold other countries accountable for far worse crimes. So we have the peculiar “mea culpa” of liberals about the rantings of our president and his followers in congress but nothing but silence about the rampant violations of human rights outside the western world.
    I find it embarrassing to see liberal apologies for our mistakes; they amount to a bowing of the head before the Liberal Executioner, to the point where we have to apologize for
    a Mexican wall and a visa disaster plotted by our delusionary president. If we want to be taken seriously we need to uproot our double standard of social justice (one for us, one for Muslims, another for Israel) and start including the oppression of women and anti Semitism in our political organizing…and most important defense of Free Speech.

    • George King says:

      But Saudi Arabia, which has the most repressive and stringent strictures against women, is exempt from this blanket ban. There’s inconsistency in the new US regulations themselves. No prizes for guessing why SA is an exception!

      • Lorna Salzman says:

        We all agree on Trump’s distortions and inconsistencies. But my comments were addressed to liberals and the left, who ignore human rights violations in the Muslim world.This is the other side of the Trump coin which exempts Saudi Arabia from his
        attempted ban. Trump was conforming to his own foreign policy; liberals aren’t constrained to any particular policy. So their double standard about women’s rights in the west vs. their absence in the Muslim world is more reprehensible. It is just pure ideology. It has nothing to do with “diplomacy” or foreign policy. In fact, if you look closely, the left’s positions are unified in one thing: hatred of the U.S. Anyone who shares this hate is by definition its ally. That is why they support radical Islamism.

        • MacroV says:

          You are setting up quite the straw man here. There are scores of organizations – liberal, conservative, bipartisan – that work in countries around the world to fight human rights abuses and for the empowerment of women. Just Google “womens empowerment organizations” and have at it. Maybe make a donation.

          And HOW DARE YOU suggest that liberals have a hatred for the United States, or support radical Islam. I love my country more than you could ever comprehend. As such, I have high expectations for it to live up to its ideals, ideals that Christoph von Dohnanyi has long appreciated, and that I’m pained to see Trump trample on.

          I’ll at least give you credit for finding Trump delusional.

          • Tweettweet says:

            Hear hear, Macrov!

          • Lorna Salzman says:

            You didn’t read my post closely. I said the LEFT hated the U.S., not liberals. And I say this having read countless left blogs who devote most of their rants against the U.S., and have done so for years, even decades. If you disagree, then check out Democracy Now,
            truthdig (especially Chris Hedges), alternet, commondreams, truthout and counterpunch.
            Truly vile stuff….and never a mention of the atrocities in the Muslim world committed against women, young girls, apostates, gays, etc. NEVER. How you could be ignorant of the left’s continual drum beating against the U.S. as literally the most evil force in the world escapes me. But if you haven’t read these blogs and their rants, then ALL IS FORGIVEN! They are truly repugnant. (However, I read them as well as right wing blogs to stay informed and identify the lies on both sides). The problem with liberals is that they trust the left and assume the right always lies….even when it tells the truth about Islamism and the human rights violations committed by Muslim states.

          • Dan P. says:

            Lorna – I think you’re being blinded by your emotions or too willing to find a bad guy here.

            As someone who has considered himself well left of center and who has known many others on the left over the past half century I can say that we certainly don’t hate America. Quite the opposite. Just because we feel that the powerful may not always have America’s best interests at heart doesn’t mean that we hate anything. There’s a difference between hating a country and casting light on the powerful and – all too often – the corrupt. Someone to stand up and say “This is wrong and here’s why!)

            A public official or any of their acts supposedly done on our behalf should never be immune to scrutiny and criticism. Democracy Now! and the rest of the media you site do not bow down to anyone or accept lies – even from erstwhile “friends.” Nor should any other news source. All politicians lie and shade the fact. People in government do bad things for whatever reason because they think it’s expedient and no one will know. It’s the news’ responsibility to call them out on it. When the government does evil, it’s the media’s duty to let us know. We live in a democracy. That’s how it’s supposed to work.

          • Sarah Connolly says:

            I’ll second that Macrov

        • Bruce says:

          Not sure where you live, Lorna, but in the US, “liberals” and “the left” are considered synonymous terms. If you are thinking of a different set of meanings, you could help the conversation by specifying them.

          Anyway, you didn’t respond to Macrov’s point that there are many organizations that work for the empowerment (and safety) of women worldwide. They undoubtedly do a lot more to progress the cause of women’s empowerment than a protest march in the US would do.

          Meanwhile, it continues to be impressive how often people take concern over one issue to mean lack of interest in some other issue: the “raising money for the local animal shelter means you think homeless people should freeze to death” argument. I’m not sure if people who use that tactic really feel that way (if we are concerned about a travel ban, then we must not care about honor killings? really?), or if they’re just trying to discredit the other person’s point without arguing about the merits of that point.

          • Lorna Salzman says:

            I definitely do not conflate liberals with the left. I live in Brooklyn NY and as an environmental activist for 50 years I have witnessed the left’s rhetoric on American
            imperialism ad nauseum as well as vicious rants that if read by people unfamiliar with this country would think they were talking about Nazi Germany. Unlike the left, liberals do not
            harass dissenters, encourage violent resistance, support terrorist countries and groups like Hamas and Hezbollah, deliberately ignore Islamist atrocities and oppression of women, intimidate or reject those who disagree on one issue or another and demand 100% fealty to leftist Ten Commandments, and don’t make excuses for tyrants like Putin. Nor do liberals overtly suppress or censor or castigate those who do not agree with them. Nor do liberals speak, write and post vile anti Semitic attacks on campuses. Nor do they shout down and harass speakers with different viewpoints. Liberals’ worst trait is believing what the left says and bowing down to Identity Politics and assuming the guilt for slavery and “white privilege”. Otherwise they are tolerant, reasonable and
            distinct from the leftist fanatic ideologues.

      • Brian B says:

        That is because SA was not included amoung the seven countries identified by the Obama administration itself as seven terrorist states. This is not a religious ban in any way.

        • Kevin Fay says:

          . . . except the genesis of the rule is tRump asking Rudy Giuliani how to create a Muslim ban that would be [superficially] illegal – *and* have a specific carve-out to let Christians in easy.

          The disproportionate impact of the rules on Muslims – set up by the Christian-ease exception – is enough to render the Muslim ban illegal, without having to resort to the intentions of the rulemaker. But courts get to look at rulemakers’ pretense as well, and here it’s crystal clear from dozens of public pronouncements. The “religion-blindness” now touted as a justification is doublespeak nonsense.

      • Joe Deegan says:

        I think it is because Saudi Arabia has a government that has records of those in their Country. The countries cited have chaos, which is even worse than bad government.

      • Novagerio says:

        I agree with George King.
        “USA the great country of tolerance, freedom and bla bla”. Yet, the US’s business alliance with Saudi Arabia – propably the most inhuman country on earth goes back to 1933 (a fateful year). In fact, without saudi oil (the Aramco-Saudi business) and the entire weapon industry in general, nobody would know where the h*ll the money would come from.

        Maybe the venerated old Maestro Ch.v.D should realize that the number one agenda on the radical islamisation entering Europe right now want his own people to be killed by law.

    • Dan P. says:

      It’s as big a mistake to assume all Muslims hold the same beliefs and behave the same way as it is to assume that all Christians do. And, it’s also a big mistake to believe that if a government is a bad actor internationally or internally, then so must its citizens be as well. As Mr. King alludes, the selection of banned countries would appear on the face of it to be based on facts not mentioned by our government, seeing that among the most corrupt and vile governments in the middle east is “our friend” and Trump business partner Saudi Arabia, which has been a longstanding supporter of religious extremists and internal religious intolerance. This is hardly news. Ironically, Iran, who’s government is certainly not our friend, has a population that, until our recent actions at least, has been the most friendly toward the US.

      What we liberals are ashamed of is the government’s willingness to abandon our values and become hysterical due to fear. It is expected that a young child will lash out when angry. If we want to be respected as a world leader, one would hope that our government stops acting like this too and our leaders grow up before it’s too late and our democracy is a memory. We have already seen how a civilized country can lose it’s way and end up destroying everything it has and has stood for just for believing in a delusion. We should learn a lesson from that playbook and not go down that road ourselves – although we may have already started that trip. But this is not the yellow brick road and at the end of it there is no Oz..

      • V.Lind says:

        SA is not just a Trump business partner. The Bushes, père et fils, were very cahootsish with the Saudis, to the point that Prince Bandar was known as Bandar Bush. And I do not remember any action being taken against Saudi after 9/11, despite the preponderance of the terrorists being Saudi nationals.

        As for this: “What we liberals are ashamed of is the government’s willingness to abandon our values and become hysterical due to fear.” That all began with Bush Jr. and his draconian laws, rules and regulations, to say nothing of practices, instituted after 9/11. The liberal press let itself be stifled, being I suppose as shell-shocked by the assault on America and the fear instigated at the time — anyone who dared to question any decisions by the Bush administration was practically accused of treason. It is to be hoped that all the press, liberal and otherwise, will have more cojones against this latest fool to occupy high power in the US.

        I value Dohnanyi’s statement, and agree with those who urge others to speak out and join him. That ought to include actors and pop singers, who have been excoriated her among other places for speaking out — some with more threat to their careers than Dohnanyi, in his emeritus state (remember the Dixie Chicks?). They have as much right, as citizens or residents of the US – – and the world — to protest what they think wrong.

        As John Stuart Mill said in 1867: “Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends than that good men should look on and do nothing.”

    • John Borstlap says:

      “Who could disagree? Not I, but I would add this fact: the humanitarian principles we seek to operate by do not exist in the Muslim world, where there is not only intolerance for
      nonMuslims but an active government-legitimized violent resistance and oppression of Christians and Jews.”

      In quite some muslem countries there is a great difference between what the regime does and wants, and what the populations want and do. In India, hindi communities can be as radical and dangerous for non-hindi as fanatical communities in SA, although India is a democracy based upon western type of humanitarian principles. Paikstan is a so-called ‘islamic state’ but the freedom of religion of Jews, Christians, Bhuddists and Hindi is written in the constitution, the national flag includes for that matter a stripe of white. But the influence of the state is, in comparison with the West, not very strong which means that people live according to their local custom which may vary immensily. In all those countries there is a great cultural difference between the cities and the countryside, and of course humanistic, civilized values and principles can be found there, but you can miss them – to your peril – when travelling across such wide lands. It is blatant nonsense to claim that ‘humanitarian principles do not exist in the muslem world’, that is what a generalization means, and that is what relates such pronouncements to Trumpism and aptly describes not a fact, as you claim, but one of those ‘alternative facts’. Also, such sentiments – because it is nothng more than that – are welcome material in the hands of muslem extremists who cultivate the nonsensical myth that ‘the West’ is at war with ‘Islam’: it helps them to recrute Western local terrorists.

      • Dan P. says:

        Before we get too self-congratulatory I don’t think we should forget that tolerance for minorities is very recent in the West. In the US, discrimination against Catholics and Jews was embedded in our culture from the beginning of our history. So does violence against Blacks, which was openly celebrated in the south in my lifetime. I could watch it on TV as a kid. In Catholic Europe, Jews were singled out. We shouldn’t forget Ferdinand and Isabella. They may have sponsored Columbus, but they also found a special place for Jews and it was in some other country or die. And, except for Holland, Jews were hardly welcome any place. Then, of course, there’s the 20th century and it’s starring characters. And still there’s the hatred of gay people that EVERY RELIGION has participated in until very recently. And, I don’t think anybody could claim that any of these bits and pieces of evil are gone. Or am I misremembering?

        • John Borstlap says:

          No, you are quite right. And current polls in Holland, which show increasing support for the extreme right which thrives on lies, fake news and slander – demonstrate the same mentality which led to the concentration camps.

          “……………. they also found a special place for Jews and it was in some other country or die.” That is not quite true: at the ‘reconquista’ of Spain for Christianity, Jews were given the choice: convert to catholicism or leave the country, and the stake if they refused both. Also evil has its nuances.

          • Dan P. says:

            Yes, John, you’re absolutely right about Spanish Jews being given conversion as a middle option. I took a short cut in that sentence because I thought it was going on too long to make my point – but you’re right.

            The ironic thing is that religious tolerance in medieval Europe was more part of Arab political culture than it was among Christian countries. And while Christians were wrapped up in religious philosophy, the Arabs were translating the Greeks and keeping that knowledge alive, while also inventing things like Algebra.

          • Lorna says:

            The “tolerance” of Muslims towards Jews has been overblown and oversimplified. In any case, they have completely eliminated that tolerance today…with no option to convert or become a dhimmi (inferior class) if you are not Muslim. They have also eliminated any interest in foreign culture that they had in ancient times. They have reinvented science by denying evolution and supporting creationism. They censor western books, music, art and films as being decadent and immoral. It is amusing to see those who are blind to Islamism be forced to recount Arab culture of literally centuries ago, while ignoring what it has become and what it is doing today. I wonder what their motive is: to draw our attention away from present Arab/Muslim crimes and authoritarianism?

  • S Turner says:

    He tries to use the Nazis killing of his relatives as his moral authority. Apparently he does not see the irony. Does this man not realize that the very people Trump is trying to keep out, are the same people who would execute him, his friends and all his relatives, point blank, if they ever have the chance?

    • John Borstlap says:

      Another of those ignorant generalizations. Most of the terrorist attacks were home-grown. Stopping fugitives who flee the very same violence, is nonsensical.

  • Jackson1961 says:

    Poor guy, too indoctrinated into his atheistic socialism to see that these terrorists the President is seeking to screen from entry into the United States of America are the same ones that killed many many many of his religious Jewish ancestors and nearly as many Christian religion adherents. Radical Islamic Jihad and pan-Arabism in its violent form find a common root in Amin Al Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem. He is the vector of European fascism into the modern Islamic world, both religious and secular. One cannot understand today’s turbulent world without this information. Again, poor guy.

    • norman lebrecht says:

      Your ignorance is staggering. Dohnanyi is neither atheist, not socialist, nor Jewish. Go take your trolling elsewhere.
      (This same person has been spouting nonsense under the name ‘John New’).

  • a Berliner says:

    Christoph von Dohnanyi asks “…do we live in a world that puts human dignity, humanity, fearlessness and compassion above everything else? In it’s great days our much-loved USA was such a country.”

    “Our much-loved country” is the same one which has struggled through camps for Japanese Americans during World War II, Jim Crow laws and the KKK and segregation by such as George Wallace and Bull Connor, “human dignity” as shown through the Black Panthers, inner city riots across decades, and more. “Our much-loved country” is the same which an earlier (and in my estimation greater) conductor Pierre Montreux was told not to use “colored only” bathrooms during orchestra tours. “Our much-loved country” is the only to have used nuclear weapons in war. “Our much-loved country” was led to war several times recently, with Bush’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (both ongoing) and Obama’s adding war zones in Libya, Syria, Yemen in alliance with Saudi Arabia, Somalia and cross-border drone attacks in Pakistan. “Our much-loved country” as von Dohnanyi imagines it was is not, was not, and shows little sign of becoming much-loved.

    When Clinton, Bush, Obama and Trump all used the same legal strategies and precedents as regards immigration, one wonders where the good maestro’s voice was earlier. Mute until now?

    My wife and I stood at Bonhoeffer’s and others’ graves in the Dorotheenstädtisch-Friedrichwerderscher Friedhof in Berlin only in the last month, remembering that he and so many others were murdered in by the National Socialists, who were allied with Muslims in the Balkans and Middle East. In that same holiday period I visited the memorial at Breitscheidplatz, after the migrant terrorist killed with gun and truck. Berliners would have been lucky had that murderous immigrant not been granted asylum status only to use the privilege to kill.

    The maestro, quick to associate himself with heroes and victims of real evil, has chosen to swim in meager partisan politics while wrapping himself in the memory of true heroism and ignoring history. Schande!

    • Nick says:


      BRAVO, BERLINER!! Cannot put it better!

    • John Borstlap says:

      A comment, swimming in cheap generalizations and clichées, easy short-cuts, and ignorance. Not worth the trouble to refute any of these moralistic statements. But one insinuation should not be uncountered: fugitives from areas where people like the killer of the Breidscheidplatz have their way, are as frightened and shocked as the Berlin locals to find such massacres in what they hoped would be a safe place and should not be related to such crimes. People with similar ignorant opinions as represented in this comment, will vote for AfD and create the opposite of what it promises. If Germany sinks back to nationalist extremism, with their Wutbürger, neo-nazis, ‘Identitären’ and morone ‘Burschenschaften’, and thus create the best possible breeding ground for terrorists, it is because too many people never read history, never understood anything of ethics, never listened when at school, and took their small window on the backyard as the panorama of the world.

    • Daniel F. says:

      “Quick to ASSOCIATE himself with…”????? One doesn’t “associate oneself with” one’s father and one’s uncle. But then ideology invariably takes the use of language merely as collateral damage as Orwell knew 70 years ago.

  • Doug Sterling says:

    In my opinion performing artists would be wise to eschew politics. It is hard enough to draw paying customers even without alienating half the potential audience. It may be emotionally satisfying to proclaim controversial views, but it is bad for business.

  • Scott in PA says:

    So much nonsense from Dohnanyi. A moratorium on travelers from seven countries designated sponsors of terrorism should not in any way be mentioned in the same breath with the Nazi death camps. Only a moral imbecile would make a moral equivalence.

    There is not a single Muslim-majority nation that enjoys the same level of artistic freedom of expression as any Western country. What makes Europeans and Americans think it will be different if Muslims start to populate Western countries? We are already seeing so many capitulations by Western governments to Islamic demands, even when they are a small minority.

  • Kathy Pisaro says:

    Lately it seems like very few of the people commenting on the articles in Slipped Disc are interested in music at all and many seem to know very little about it. Many commenters seem to be a group more interested in just letting political opinions fly in a very biased and insulting way. You can tell right away who the musicians are – they are aware of the amazing talent of the person writing this document and clearly have respect for him. If you aren’t into music, that’s fine, but then don’t comment on a music blog!

    • Lorna Salzman says:

      Dohnanyi, a conductor, started the thread by talking politics so he opened the door.In fact all creative artists understand full well the connection of artistic freedom to totalitarianism. Muslims of course, not having any artistic heritage, reject all western art and music. The Regressive Left (Jerry Coyne’s term) wants to ban Israeli scientists and academics from western European conferences as well as public lectures by anyone who supports Israel. American Jews forced cancellation of the high definition showing of John Adams’ The Death of Klinghoffer. And Asians forced the NY Gilbert and Sullivan Players’ production of The Mikado, charging that the makeup and costumes ridiculed Asian culture. American leftists shout down all speakers that don’t agree with their agenda. Etc, etc, etc.

    • Petros Linardos says:

      Point well taken. Let’s take a break from all those rude responses and listen to some Bach, exquisitely played by Iranian born Mahan Esfahani.

      • John Borstlap says:

        Beautiful! Showing that classical music is universal, because the human mind and ehart has universal needs, under the surface of cultural appearances.

        Sally’s aunt, who is visiting us these days, has looked over my shoulder while listening to Esfahani and protested that a muslem, and a shiite at that, touched her beloved Bach who was such a good and thorough protestant. ‘Where will it end?’ she proclaimed theatrically, taking her tea from the salver as presented by our Syrian butler. She has to go.

    • Bruce says:

      Kathy, this isn’t a music blog any more (if it ever was). Nothing wrong with that, although I miss the relatively politics-free atmosphere. I still like to come here because many of the articles are about music, although any thread can be hijacked by politics at any time, if someone like Holly decides to contribute.

  • Ruth says:

    Thank you, maestro! Your experience and perspective are highly valued. We Americans need to hear more from the families of holocaust survivors about what happened before the atrocities of WWII. The political fervor that gripped Germany before the election of Hitler is quite similar to the recent elections here. We also have the unfettered dissemination of yellow journalism through the social media fueling the xenophobia. Many of the trolls here spout the lies, thinking they got the truth from Breitbart and various other Limbaugh inspired sources. I prefer to hear it from the horse’s mouth than the donkey’s behind. Muslims have settled peacefully in America for hundreds of years, and will continue to do so, because they want freedom and diversity and hope. The radical fringe should be weeded out, and Obama put a plan in place just last year to address the influx, which is where Trump got the names of the countries he put in the ban. The Obama plan already addressed the issue without imposing any ban by strengthening the vetting review for immigrants from those specific countries. Trump’s ban was poorly researched and hastily executed which caused unnecessary pain and hardships. It’s disgraceful and reeks of religious fanaticism.

    • Daniel F. says:

      And thank YOU, Ruth, for your temperate comment. I confess I’m not entirely in agreement with it, but that makes no difference. The hatred that has been spewed out in the comments on this posting is both very surprising and disheartening.

  • Alton says:

    Thank you, Maestro. Rest assured your warning is taken to heart by many here, despite a few ugly efforts to defend the indefensible.

    Now as ever, freedom-loving people must stand up for our own best ideas.

  • Lorna Salzman says:

    ArtNews published this on censorship. This is why artists need to take the free speech issue seriously with regard to not just Trump but the Regressive Left and its smothering of criticism of Islam, sharia law and the abuse of Muslim women.

    Report Shows Arts Censorship Reached Unprecedented Levels in 2015
    By Henri Neuendorf, Mar 24, 2016

    The non-profit divides its findings into categories, including “serious violations,” for killings, attacks, abductions, imprisonments, and threats; and “acts of censorship.” In 2016 the organization counted 840 incidents of censorship and 188 serious violations.

    Categorized amongst the serious violations are three killings, two abductions, 16 attacks, 84 imprisonments and detentions, 43 prosecutions, and 40 persecutions and threats.

    Musicians were targeted most frequently, accounting for 86 cases of serious violations, followed by theatre with 32 serious violations, and visual arts with 27 serious violations. Meanwhile film was the most censored art form, amounting to 79 percent of censorship cases.
    (LS: Iran and Ukraine were top offemders).Other offenders making up the top 10 for recorded cases of censorship were Kuwait, China, Egypt, India, Russia, Turkey, USA, Pakistan, and Iran. Together these countries accounted for 88 percent of global censorship cases.

  • Lorna Salzman says:

    Let’s be brutally honest instead of Politically Correct. At the moment the European right wing does not pose a threat to democracy but to the established paleoliberal elites defending their power and refusing to acknowledge THIS fact: it is radical Islam that is the modern equivalent of the Nazis. They demand full compliance with their intolerant violent doctrine. They persecute and kill apostates and gays. They relegate women to inferior status (church, kitchen, children…remember that?). They preach hate and violence against Jews and Christians. They prohibit and violently punish dissent and criticism. Their ultimate objective is to establish a global caliphate (Hitler’s was merely to take control of Europe).They ban all speech and written material that does not conform to their doctrine or sharia law, including art, literature and theater. They prohibit the practice of Christianity or construction of churches. Does anyone really REALLY think that radical Islam and the Authoritarian left stand for ANYTHING but FASCISM?
    Well, people like Salman Rushdie, don’t think so. And Ayaan HIrsi Ali. And Zuhdi Jasser. And Iban Warraq. And Tarek Fatah. And Muhammad Shawaz. And Maryam Namazie. And Nonie Darwish. And Bernard Henri-Levy, Pascal Bruckner, Nick Cohen, Douglas Murray. I assume of course that you all read and follow these courageous
    critics of Islam? Or do you prefer to believe Huffington Post?

    • John Borstlap says:

      “….. it is radical Islam that is the modern equivalent of the Nazis.” Of course, and nobody is denying this, not even ‘the radical left’. But some reading and digesting of relevant information would reveal that this is a fraction of a fraction of the number of people identifying themselves as ‘muslem’, millions of them are as anti craziness as any normal person, and the majority of victims of ‘radical islam’ are muslems. So, it is not ‘islam’ that is a threat, but the cranks who misuse religion to justify their psychopathy. Therefore a ban on muslems in general is nonsensical and only playing into the hands of the terrorists who want to get the myth into the world that ‘Islam’ is at war with ‘The West’. This comment is demonstrating the mentality which is unintentionally helping jihadists, so a bit of thinking is wholeheartedly recommended. Also: to equal this violent sickness with ‘radical left’ is almost as crazy as the jihadist’s pathology.

      • Lorna Salzman says:

        Your explanation of terrorism mirrors that of the apologists: “they aren’t REAL Muslims because Islam is a religion of peace and they misunderstand Islam”. Sorry, but when the terrorist scream Allah akbar and now have a “caliphate”, who is to say that they don’t represent Islam? Islam has no central authority like a pope, and there are only five requirements to become a Muslim. Beyond that there are many (mostly contradictory) interpretations of Islam and the qu-ran. Those who declare terrorists to be insane, not religious fanatics, have no authority or special standing. It is just their way of denying that the religion of Islam inspires and encourages terrorism. But no one is buying this argument. It suits religious leaders of all religions because it gets them off the hook from criticizing Islamist terrorism, and thus gets religion in general off the hook. This is why religious leaders, many Jewish, have shut their mouths about Islamism and its
        rabid anti Semitism, in favor of “interfaith dialogue”. Religious fanaticism and violence embarrasses them and reduces their credibility and in general respect for religious leaders and doctrine. As for the number of terrorists compared to the total population of Muslims, given that there are a couple of billion of them, a tiny percentage of a percentage would still add up to hundreds of thousands of terrorist, potential or actual.
        But while the number of terrorists is small, the impact is now GLOBAL, with huge numbers of victims from any individual bombing. The fact that a small fraction of a small faction can wreak societal havoc should be enough to regard Muslim countries and the Muslim society as the predominant threat today to peace and to civilization. We are not at war with Muslims; it is ISLAM that is at war with us. Somehow liberals are missing the point. I dont understand the denial of the facts and evidence. To me there is severe mental and moral deficiency in the liberal community, even as bodies fall from skyscrapers and heads roll in the dust and women get their throats slit by their family and gays dangle from the gallows and girls get kidnapped for sex. When will the paleoliberals learn?

        • Dan P. says:

          Lorna, as perhaps the only person in this conversation that lives in an area with a large Muslim population, I can only see in your contributions is hysteria driven by fear and ignorance. I think you need to step back, take a breath, and calm down. You’re really starting to fly off the handle. Are there people doing bad things? Yes. Do we have to do everything reasonable to stop it? Yes. And, do some Muslims hold beliefs and cultural practice we don’t care for? Yes. But indicting a worldwide population with a very wide range of beliefs and cultural practices for the behavior of the fringe, is a very dangerous road to take that will not end well for anyone. We have seen this before and your spew is just as hateful now as it was just over a century ago when people were citing the Protocols of the Elders of Zion as reasons to attack Jews.

          • Lorna Salzman says:

            Besides attacking my “fear and ignorance” and hysteria, I want to respond and then end this debate at least on my part. I could just as well accuse you of ignorance and lack of a moral compass. But I don’t. So I think you owe me an apology. Ad hominem attacks are cheap. Anyone can make them and anyone can be the victim. My m.o. is to stick to issues, and demand evidence for the opinions of others. You have the same right but you are abusing it. It’s like accusations of “racism”: intended to shut down argument or dissenting views. Sorry, I don’t buy into this poor excuse for a serious debate.

            Let me correct your misapprehension: I was not indicting the world’s Muslim population.
            I was indicting its religion. And I will continue to do so. It is not hysteria but realism and measures of the influence of religion. If we decide to discuss Christianity I will apply the same standards. Religion has a death grip on most of the world except the west,and even there (and the US in particular) it is nefarious and destructive. But our dedication to freedom, democracy and Enlightenment values have held it in check for the most part. Now those values are being lost because Africa and Asia never adopted them. This is why it is quite valid to say, as Ibn Warraq and others have said, that “the west is best”. Not all religions are equal; some have managed to adapt or compromise or change their stripes though not always satisfactorily (Catholicism, orthodox Judaism). The left’s denial of the religious underpinning and inspiration of Muslim terrorism serves its own ideology; if they accepted it, it would undercut their anti American anti “imperialism”argument, as well as their hope (seriously!) that in that rosy future after capitalism collapses, the Muslims will join the socialists in creating that new free society.
            The only positive aspect of Islamism is that it has opened peoples’ eyes and ears, and more important has enabled secularists, agnostics and atheists to present their arguments more forcefully.

          • Nick says:

            @ Lorna Salzman cc: asshole Dan P.

            Dear Lorna, please do not pay any attention to a fascist asshole Dan P. This guy is an imbecile if he does not understand your writings and your ideas. Your knowledge and clarity of expression is nothing short of astounding!
            I never resort to expletives, but in this case I really cannot resist.
            And I clearly state once again: DAN P. is a certified fascist asshole!!! A dangerous individual, who I hope leaves the U.S. under the new administration for any of his favorite Muslim country, preferably Afghanistan or Pakistan. There he hopefully will learn the reality before they chop his head off!
            I understand my words are rough, but that is what Dan.P deserves fully for his incredible arrogance, disrespect and total lack of tolerant argumentation.

            Thank you for your wonderfully intelligent and comprehensive writing. Everybody on this blog, including myself, should learn from YOU!
            And Dan P. owes the apology not only to you, but to the whole blog community for his insulting comments and baseless accusations so typical of the fascist Left.

            Best wishes, many happy and healthy returns and many years of your wonderful writing to benefit all of us.

          • Dan P. says:

            Talk about overreaction. I simply suggested that Lorna’s words appeared to stem from a hyper-emotional state and the two of you are lashing out at me, accusing me of launching an ad hominem attack and calling me a fascist asshole, arrogant, disrespectful, etc. Talk about ad hominem attacks! I take it, Nick, that you have no sense of irony. And just for stating my opinion. I think both of you need to take a breath, listen to yourselves, and get over your tantrums.

            You’re reading far too much into what little I’ve said. The odd thing here is that I also agree that ISIS represents a serious threat to everyone – including other Muslims – and that in certain places, some Muslims practice customs and attitudes that we find unacceptable and even abhorrent. When have I said anything to the contrary?

            What I don’t maintain is that there is evidence to suggest that most of those who believe in Islam are terrorists or that they wish to chop everyone’s heads off – although I get the sense that Nick would like them to chop mine off. The burden of proof is on those who maintain this in any case.

            I would try to counter your comments – and I don’t mind discussing things with people who hold different opinions, I do that all the time with friends – but I just can’t take either of your childish rants and generalizations seriously as argumentation or your attitudes toward people who disagree. After a while, the only thing to do is to ignore such people and move on. What I might suggest, however, is that each of you try to get out more often, see people, maybe read a little more, and perhaps spend less time ranting and raving on the internet. It’s really not healthy, you know.

        • Dan P. says:

          Let’s see – because I simply object to hateful rhetoric toward all of those who believe in Islam I am launching an ad hominem attack, I’m a “certified” fascist asshole, I’m arrogant, dangerous, and am exhorted to leave the country with the hope I’ll be killed by beheading. With that being said, I’m curious, Lorna and Nick, what would you suggest we do to Muslims? Would you, perhaps, take the same approach of Slobodan Milosevic? I’m curious. If I deserve death for merely objecting to your point of view, you must have something much nastier in mind for Muslims. Let’s hear it. I want to know.

          • Lorna Salzman says:

            You made the adhominem attacks against me. No one challenged your right to your opinions and no one called for your exile and beheading. Your hyperbole is actually lies.
            You are intolerant of others’ views. You refuse to provide evidence rebutting the opinions of others about Islam and Islamism. You are just blowing off steam.

            It is, one supposes, comforting for liberals to show off their compassion for those who suffered in the past such as Dohnanyi. But what about compassion for the Muslim women suffering today? Why do American liberal women march to demand their right to higher pay, abortion, equal treatment and against patriarchy and sexism in general but
            not mention the millions of women who live enslaved and abused in the Muslim world?

            Dohnanyi has no special right, as an artist, but he has equal rights as a human being like the rest of us. The opinions of great artists have merit and deserve attention, but
            not because they personally are more “privileged”. What happened to the Jews and Europe is well known. Most of us have learned the lessons. More’s the pity that few people take the trouble to compare the context of Nazism and communism to the
            culture wars and Identity Politics that are poisoning democracy and personal freedom today. Remember the warning that those who ignore history are condemned to repeat it? History didn’t start in 2001; it continued with the same evil trends that caused Nazism, WW2, the gulag, Pol Pot, Castro and Chavez. And part of the evil trend that empowered Stalin was a mandate for ideological conformity and a purging of dissenters, including creative artists and intellectuals. This is what George Orwell wrote about in his book 1984. But it does not apply only to Donald Trump; it also applies to the narrowly focused feminists, the Authoritarian Left, BLM, Social Justice Warriors, Identity Politics and the cultural marxist post modernists in the university. These present a far greater threat to democracy today than is acknowledged so far. The real tragedy is that the left has chosen to ignore the parallel threat of Islamism and has thus left the field wide open for a take-over by the free market neo-cons and right wing. In this sense the left is responsible for the right wing resurgence. But they do not escape scrutiny themselves and it is imperative to keep exposing their own authoritarian character and objectives.

  • Lorna Salzman says:

    Taking a breather..actually I am a musician (pianist though I no longer perform), married to a composer and former music critic (Eric Salzman), and besides bird watching music is my whole life. I met my husband through friends and music, and thanks to him I was privileged to be part of the American music community starting in 1958 after we returned from Rome. Eric composed, taught, reviewed records and was critic for the NYT and Herald Tribune. In Rome, where Eric studied with Goffredo Petrassim we became friendly with Peter Maxwell Davies as well as Berio, Stockhausen, and many others we met at Darmstadt the summer of 1957. Later on Boulez conducted a piece of Eric’s in London and we hosted him and all the other leading American composers and performers at our home: Friedlind Wagner (at whose Bayreuth master classes Eric lectured in the midsixties); Elliott Carter, Milton Babbitt, Bill Bolcom, Joshua Rifkin, Paul Jacobs, Charles Rosen, Edgard Varese (we dined at his house once with Marcel Duchamp), John Cage, Stefan Wolpe, Earle Brown, Ralph Shapey, etc. The fifties and sixties were the most exciting years for contemporary American music. And if any one cares, I amThe Perfect Wagnerite (that is the title of a book by George Bernard Shaw). I am the only person who hates intermissions during Wagner operas.

    Let me start another thread (or argument): I HATE modern dress/modern setting operas.

  • William Safford says:

    It is sad to read all the hatred, bigotry, misinformation, and ignorance being displayed by a number of the posters: in this thread, on Slipped Disc, and increasingly in general in our society.

    Christoph von Dohnanyi’s family has walked the walk in a way that few if any of these posters have or ever will. Several of his family members were active in the anti-Nazi resistance movement, and were executed by the Nazis.

    He and his family have experience with totalitarianism, and can recognize the signs.

    What is both sad and scary, is that Christoph felt compelled to issue such a statement.

    He deserves our approbation, not our scorn.

    • Nick says:

      @ Safford,

      Maestro von Dohnanyi is not the only one who lived under totalitarianism. I lived under it for 28 years!!! And members of my family were also executed by the Nazis, parished in the Holocaust. Yet, this does NOT make me an “authority”, and gives me the right to “warn” people. I can also see the signs that von Dohnanyi talks about.

      For most of the comments against Mr. Trump Administration posted on this blog, all “anti-Trumpers” would have been in jail if lucky, if not, they would have been much further away, somewhere where even the wild wolves would not be able to find them. It is called concentration camp or GULAG!! I am sure you are familiar with the word. This is what the Left totalitarians generally do. Maestro von Dohnanyi “warns”, but he is “von Dohnanyi” – a nobility-indication for German names. This name would cause no problems in the Third Reich, the Reich liked these particularly, unless they denounces the Power.

      It was the Nazi Party (Socialist party of German workers) or the Bolsheviks Party (Socialist–Democratic party of Russian workers) that organized riots, Jewish pogroms, destroyed public property, prohibited all dissent, administered disproportionate punishments, murdering innocent people, and this is partially similar to what we see now in the U.S.: Berkeley and other university campuses, “Women’s march”, other protests, that bring violence to the American cities, subhuman behavior of so called “stars” like Madonna, Miley Cyrus, a despicable porno-rant-hate-speech by Ashley Judd and numerous other “geniuses” of the righteous Left. These are all “great deeds” perpetrated by the Left in a very short time after the Left lost the election being unable to accept the will of The People.
      Trump administration however does not react with sending in police, national guard or other totalitarian means, which, by the way, Reagan adopted and successfully in the 60s.Trump tweets…mostly childish tweets, that however, spark an outrage from the Left. Tweeting is not exactly a reaction of a totalitarian government and I know very well what a totalitarian government’s reaction would have been.

      It looks exactly what Maestro von Dohnanyi “warns” about, albeit – ‘genau das Gegenteil’- exactly the opposite – on the side of the Left.

      I see the strong signs of totalitarianism from the American Left. And having lived under totalitarianism myself, I RECOGNIZE the signs! Unpleasant? – yes, dangerous? – I hope not. These actions involve mostly immature young people and I hope that the present White House will have the collective wisdom to stop them by peaceful means, without resorting to police/military force, and protect the decent and peace loving people from the ugly démarches, hateful speeches, destruction of private property, beatings of innocent students and intolerance to everything that does not agree with Left agenda.

      • Daniel F. says:

        Neither Christoph von Dohnanyi’s uncle, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, nor Christoph von Dohnanyi’s father were Jewish. They were killed because of their principled actions in trying to SAVE Jewish people from being killed. You say the von Dohnanyi name, because it connotes nobility, “would cause no problems for the Third Reich” and that the Reich “liked these [names] particularly unless they denounces [sic] the Power.” Well I guess the Third Reich did not “like” these names so much, because, as you do NOT say, Pastor Beinhoffer and Hans von Dohnanyi, had the courage to speak truth to power, to try to save Jewish lives, at great risk to their own skin and, of course, suffered the consequences. It is not unfair to say, then, that the man, who lost both his father and his uncle as a result, has some moral authority in speaking as he does. He conclusions may be disagreed with and his fears may prove groundless (pray that they are), but to DENOUNCE him and his family as you and others have done, is outrageous and reprehensible.

      • Dan P. says:

        Lorna – just to rebut a few comments:

        “You made the ad hominem attacks against me”

        No. You’re mistaken. I said what you were saying was driven by fear and ignorance. I may be right or wrong, but I was attacking what you said, but not you (which is what an ad hominem attack is). I have no reason to attack you personally. I don’t even know you.- although I did spend an evening at a Boulez concert with your husband (and Milton Babbitt) in 1977 although I doubt he would remember me. Very nice fellow – and his book on 20th century music opened up a path for me when I was a kid in the 1960s. I was always grateful for that.

        You said “No one challenged your right to your opinions and no one called for your exile and beheading. Your hyperbole is actually lies.”

        Well, Nick said the following after my last comment: “And I clearly state once again: DAN P. is a certified fascist asshole!!! A dangerous individual, who I hope leaves the U.S. under the new administration for any of his favorite Muslim country, preferably Afghanistan or Pakistan. There he hopefully will learn the reality before they chop his head off! I understand my words are rough, but that is what Dan.P deserves fully for his incredible arrogance, disrespect and total lack of tolerant argumentation”

        I don’t recall wishing anything bad on anyone here – or anywhere else, for that matter. I just wouldn’t. Why does Nick wish this on me – someone who he’s never met?

        As for when you say “You are intolerant of others’ views. You refuse to provide evidence rebutting the opinions of others about Islam and Islamism,” I don’t see in anything I said as being intolerant of anyone’s views. I don’t believe I’m suppressing anyone’s views here. To be honest, I just see lots of confused ranting and raving with lots of generalizations. One really doesn’t know where to start without writing an essay.

        In any case, I don’t think you have any idea about my thoughts on the matter since except for an observation or two, I’ve never expressed any, which is what I find so odd about of this craziness. Calling me a fascist is really silly, since I’m really about as moderate politically as it gets.

        Just so there is no confusion let me just say this: I believe that ISIS is evil and dangerous and needs to be stopped. I also find the treatment of women in some Arab countries abhorrent – honor killings, forced child marriages, and the lack of rights horrible. This is hardly the entire list, but let’s leave it at that. But I have to add that I don’t see any evidence that believing in Islam makes one any more horrible person than believing in any other religion. Lots of the worst behavior in that part of the world belongs to particular political cultures and traditions, like Saudi Arabia, parts of Pakistan, ISIS. That doesn’t make them any less abhorrent, but I don’t believe painting Islam with a broad brush accomplishes anything. Groups of people have been using religion to excuse hateful behavior for centuries. It’s not new. It’s just the current technology has made the consequences more widespread and insidious. We DO need to do something about it, but getting hysterical about it does not help.

        This is starting to get tedious so I’m going to sign off from this particular topic. So if you want to bash me – have at it. I’m just not interested any longer and I have a feeling, no one else is either.

      • William Safford says:

        Almost everything you posted, other than your personal history, is false, misdirected, or irrelevant.

        You confuse resistance to threats of authoritarianism, with incipient authoritarianism itself.

        I cannot speak to other countries, but in the U.S. there is no significant radical left at this time in our history. The typical moderate American politician would be center-right wing in western Europe. One of the most left-wing politicians in the U.S., Bernie Sanders, would be center-left in Europe. Too many of our right wing politicians are barely distinguishable from Jean-Marie Le Pen.

        However, we have a radical reactionary right. They are angry, and they are armed. The worst of them are also white supremacist and worse. The only good news is that they are inchoate — but that may be changing.

        And their sympathizers are currently in the ascendancy. We see this in the racist, misogynist, xenophobic, anti-Semitic, white supremacists who have been brought into the highest levels of government by Trump — their puppet, who was elected President with help from the Russians.

        For example, Trump’s advisor, Steve Bannon, the former editor of Breitbart News and a leader and supporter of the “alt-right” — another name for right wing nationalism and white supremacy — is influenced by the fascist theoretician Julius Evola:


        We see the signs of potential authoritarianism with the current regime: the contempt for the separation of powers, the equation of lies and facts, the support of mob violence in his rallies, the use of his office for personal profit and the profit of his family, and many other indicators.

        In the U.S., someone is far more likely to be murdered *for being* Muslim, than *by* a Muslim. The number of people in the last forty years who have been murdered by terrorists from the seven countries that Trump extralegally attempted to ban, is zero; whereas well over a million Americans have been killed with guns in recent decades. Yet what is being done about gun violence and access to guns? Oh, yes, the Trump Administration is removing gun ownership restrictions against people with serious psychiatric disorders, wants to legalize silencers, and introduce firearms into schools, among other counterproductive steps.

        So, what again was that you were saying about the threat from the left and the virtues of the Trump Administration?

        This barely scratches the surface.

        And, to add insult to injury, they want to get rid of support for the arts, which includes classical music.

        With the ascent of Trump and his incompetent yet dangerous minions, we see the establishment of a kakistocracy.

        Talk about threats in the U.S. from the left is foolish and contrary to the facts, just like the Trump Administration.

    • Daniel F. says:

      A concise, cogent comment, sir. I have been, by turns, saddened and outraged by the vitriolic comment-writers who, in their reaction to von Dohnanyi’s statement, seem incapable of making even the grossest of distinctions. And I am also disappointed by there being only a single, short comment by the blog-keeper in response, at least thus far.

      • Nick says:


        you are right. None of Dohnanyi family were Jewish, and so he can speak his mind. Nobody objects. But, he is NOT THE ONLY ONE! Do you object? then we have nothing to discuss.
        I am not saying Dohnanyi has no right to a “warning”, I am saying, that I have NO RIGHT to a warning, although my own family perished in Holocaust. And I repeat the “von” names were 200% safe in the Third Reich. Unless they were against the Power.
        But this is irrelevant. What Maestro does not understand is: the threat of autocracy is on the Left, not on the Right. Not from Trump. The real threat is from people like yourself.
        Because, you seemingly approve of mass hooliganism, disrespect for Presidency. You advocate Left violence and whatever comes with it. And that IS a real danger, not terribly serious, because you are just a bunch of angry and frustrated losers. But even frustrated losers can damage society by criminal actions, violent protest, vulgar shows and such….
        So, I am not denouncing Maestro von Dohnanyi, I am denouncing YOU, the Left of America, because YOU ARE disgusting, not personally you and not Dohnanyi.
        I hope I made myself clear: the Left must be dealt with: fast, energetic and effective! And if need be with force, as Reagan very successfully did in the 60s. The democracy will NOT suffer, but the Left will learn its place under the Law. You ask me if I am for Reagan’s 1960s measures and if Trump should adopt these? YES, I AM, 200%!! if need be, YES, as unfortunate as it is. The reason is that the Left is not only out of touch with reality, but it is on the crusade against United States. And that includes the whole Left media. So, drastic measures should be on the table against these people because they are disrupting the normal life of the country due to their inability to accept the reality.

      • William Safford says:

        Thank you.

        Re the blog-keeper: if I were in his shoes — and I have been on other forums — I would also use a light hand. No moderation or commentary can lead to anarchy or worse, but too much can be stifling. One walks a fine line.

        • Daniel F. says:

          Yes, thank you, Mr.Safford. You are no doubt correct about the blog-keeper’s role. And to judge at least from his comment to me and his last two to you, one has to feel sorry for Nick. His grip on reality is fairly tenuous at the best.

  • Nick says:


    You are a very dangerous person, Sir.
    I am glad not to know you. And I hope not to ever meet you in my life.

    • William Safford says:

      If shining facts and informed opinion on darkness is dangerous, then the next question is: dangerous to whom, and in what way?

      If facts and informed opinion are dangerous to the forces on the right that spread lies and misinformation, that espouse anti-American values, that support bigots and incompetent people in positions of high power, that threaten the stability of the country and even the world, then they are virtuous and patriotic.

      If espousing facts and informed opinion becomes dangerous to me personally from the government, then our country will truly be in danger.

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