THE SPINE SEPTEMBER 29, 2006
Will the new production of Mozart's opera, Idomeneo, play in Berlin or not? Mark Landler has been following up his New York Times story--originally discussed in my post "Artistic License"--about the cancellation of the performances due to the decapitated head of Mohammed on stage having offended local Muslims. (This is an equal opportunity decapitation: The severed sconces of Jesus, Buddha, and Poseidon--yes, Poseidon, the god of sea, earthquakes and horses--are also featured in the staging.) In any case, Landler reports in this morning's New York Times that the show may go on, after all. So what's the catch? The Deutsche Oper Berlin, the police, and the civil authorities need to be convinced that a security deterrent can be put together that will deflect or defeat any outburst of Muslim rage. Chancellor Angela Merkel had been furious that the opera company had capitulated to terror.
Now you have a new paradigm in many Western countries. Muslim immigrants arrive--some because they are needed to make up population deficits among the indigenous people caused by "planned parenthood;" some because they want to abandon the stifling controls of the Islamic world. In the end, they add to the numbers of unemployed, causing an enormous drain on the social budget and exacerbating the strains on strapped societies. In the end, too, they don't want to abandon the suppressive habits of their old homes. They desire instead to have these quaint and lovable customs--like arranged marriages, suppressed women, disdain for the other--survive and flourish. They certainly don't intend to adapt to the habits of the West, in which offense to religions-Catholic, Protestant, Evangelical, Fundamentalist, Jewish--is just another aspect of the First Amendment that also guarantees freedom to these faiths.
In Europe, at least, if you want to see Idomeneo (or print a cartoon offensive to Muslims, or listen to a lecture also offensive to Muslims), you will need the protection of the police. Such are the glories of multiculturalism. This experiment has not worked.