February 26, 2008


New York Philharmonic to play in North Korea: The musicians hope their concert this week will present a positive image of Americans in a nation where the U.S. is vilified. (Barbara Demick, 2/24/08, Los Angeles Times)

Philharmonic music director Lorin Maazel caused more controversy with remarks suggesting that the United States shouldn't criticize North Korea's human rights record because of its own treatment of prisoners at the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

"People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw bricks, should they? Is our standing as a country -- the United States -- is our reputation all that clean when it comes to prisoners and the way they are treated?" the 77-year-old conductor said in an interview with the Associated Press the night before the orchestra's departure for Asia.

Chuck Downs, a former Pentagon official and board member of the Washington-based U.S. Committee for Human Rights in North Korea, said the orchestra's visit is a propaganda coup that gives Kim the appearance of legitimacy.

"It is really not helpful to have the New York Philharmonic as an institution making light of the North Korean regime's abuses of human rights," Downs said.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 26, 2008 2:31 PM

Why don't they care about Kim's image in America, and for that matter, the NY Philharmonic's?

Posted by: ic at February 26, 2008 3:38 PM

ic, the people who donate to the NY Philharmonic won't be offended. The people who would be offended wouldn't have donated in the first place.

Posted by: Mikey [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 26, 2008 3:51 PM

North Koreans would rather spend the rest of their lives in Gitmo where they have an air conditioned cell to themselves, a bed to lie down on, and three meals a day, and they don't have to toil under a slave master.

Posted by: ic at February 26, 2008 3:57 PM