I did an interview about a year ago with Aviva Sieradski, Jerusalem Post about a year ago. The background was a comment toss-up on Myspace. She said things about people of a different religious persuasion etc and I called her a fascist pig. She then asked me to do this interview, and I thought it would be a great opportunity to answer at length. Wether this is what Jerusalem Post published I have no idea, but I fail to to it's content as nothing but basically humanist. So read it and make up your own mind:
Hello Peter, Have you heard any Israeli metal or anything about the metal scene here?
Actually no. I'm almost ashamed that I'm so ignorant when it comes to bands. I've checked out Orphaned Land a couple of times at festivals we've played cause
they're a really good live band. But except from them I'm completely uninformed.
I wish I had more time, but being a dad when I'm not on tour takes most of my time.
Are you aware that you have a strong fan base here?
I wasn't aware, and I'm very flattered. We'll stay three days when we get to Israel at the end of this summer and I'm looking forward to meeting people, talking and listening.
You have some pretty strong opinions regarding a lot of issues. You're anti-war, anti-fascist, anti-religion, etc. What are your thoughts about coming to Israel,
a country always at war in some form or another, the cradle of world religion, and who many leftist people (would you call yourself leftist?) deem fascist?
Well to be honest, I feel priviliged to be given the opportunity to come to Israel. It's a country that has been with me in legend and news reports since childhood
and I used to completely idolize Golda Meir and David Ben-Gurion as a young man. I think mostly this was identification; Growing up in different families that weren't
my own filled me with a deep hunger for justice and identity. I knew my real family(as in mom and dad...)was out there, but out of reach for me somehow.
As far as what some people say or don't say about Israel, I think it extremly important to separate state policy and the actual individuals of any country.
So yes; I am really looking forward to coming to Israel.
You mention in your May 8 blog about sex in the Bible that you find "...there's not a whole lot of references to sex at all..." in the Bible. I quote your blog where you say "Obviously. I can understand how lifting the ideal of procreation is important to a group of people who at the time where so persecuted as the bible-writers of the old testament must have percieved themselves." I find that humorous considering it's a straight commandment written in the text, not to mention the fact that they talk about sex all the time in the Bible (but they don't translate it into your Christian version) but you wouldn't know that.
My Jiddish is painfully lacking, so far I don't know or speak any except from words I pick up in Woody Allen films. Learning my own language, english, german and
spanish has been what I've managed so far. But I am a curious person, and I welcome all the help I can get. As far my general view of Bible and sexuality, I still
stand by it. Considering how focussed it is on war, conquering and the fierce might and vengefulness with which it portraits the deity that some call god I find
what I read rather appalling. Personally I believe no so-called holy texts hold much good for anyone, but for the authorities who claim it is the law of a
righteous path; Clergymen, Mullahs or Rabbis. To me they are controllers, authoritarians. I do not find it productive to any society.
Why are you trying to read and understand the Bible when you have such an antipathy towards it and those who actually sit and learn it? I quote again.
"Apparently bible thumpers dig death and killing, not fucking, hmm, what does that tell us?" And you even admit you don't know if you're right, but you still make
such a statement. That's hate. Why?
Hate? I can't agree with your statement. To me hate is a deep conviction of personal righteousness aimed at a chosen defined target, mostly created from a
retaliatory need for redemption and confirmation of belief. I don't hate. I spent way too much of my youth hating, and it did nothing but harm. I do however,
doubt the rightfulness of religion itself. I percieve it as bigotted and superstitious. This is my point of view, I do not hate. This is also the reason I choose to devote some of my time towards further deeper understanding.
You seem to have a really ambivalent thing about religion - on one hand you disparage it any chance you get but on the other, you seem to be obsessed with it.
Why is that?
Religion seems to me, being part motivation, part tool for different levels of power in global and local society. The amount of damage religion itself is accountable
for is so immense and inescapable looking back at the last 5000 years. I find it sad and disturbing that so many of us, feverishly defend the right to act with
religion as ulterior or prime motivation on a planet where we've learnt how to splice the atom and travel at the speed of sound. We have the choice to evolve
and lay god behind us - since the purpose of religion is no longer one that benefits the good of our planet.
Why do you lump Judaism in with Christianity? It's a completely different religion.
It is still a religion, no?
I quote your April 10th, 2007 blog regarding your opinion about the Holocaust -"People in Germany man. The whole thing with what happened back in the days
of Hitler and all his crazy-ass macho control freak buddies. Sometimes when I talk to people in Germany it's as if they think I'm about to blame them for what
happened back then. Who cares anymore, unless you're a total nutter. Yes, it was horrendous, but think about it - back in those days people believed the size
of your head determined your basic characteristics, intelligence and personality... Hello? It's that whole guilt trip thing." We in Israel have an entire day (day by us, starts at nightfall, so by you, you'd call it a night and a day) in honor of remembering the Holocaust. Do you think we're all total nutters, as you so quaintly put it?
Personally I refer to myself as an anarchist, not leftist nor rightwing; AN-archist. I believe that humans are as a whole; Intelligent and creative creatures,
and that we have great capacities to change, to interact and to adapt. I believe it is part of our genetic base construction. In-group fighting, xenophobia
and war, which is mostly the result of ie. religion or socially/financially related construction and has previously served the species(Homo Sapien Sapien)
well in making us the dominating species. It has passed its time, and is no longer something that will serve us. I believe it is time we accept that we are
one species, sharing DNA. Religion, and holding on to past wrongful doings are obstacles in the way acceptance. What was, is not. Supporting myself on
generally accepted theories of psychology and psychiatry; For anyone who has been traumatized, remaining in the emotion of helpless rage does very little
but deepen the effects of the trauma. Of course we are all taught different levels of shame and guilt in the process of becoming adults, however sometimes
it backfires. In order to remove the sense of helplessness/confusion/rage that comes about in being the child or grandchild of a traumatized person or family
we uplift the trauma and turn it into a kind of symbol or celebration that separates rather than heals us. Nutters? No, not more any other nation, but I fail
to see the general progressive tendency in holding onto the past, and keeping at emotional bay - as opposed to accepting it for what it was and moving
on with the knowledge as further aid to evolve.
You've also said in the past that the Nazis were victims too. Would you like to clarify that?
Indeed, I do believe anyone foolish/uneducated enough to accept such an undefined and inconsequent ideology as nationalsocialism is a victim.
In the case of the soldiers and capos of the horrendous crimes of WWII, they were most certainly victims as much as the millions of people who were murdered in the camps. Imagine the emotional damage done to any person who believes there is no other way than participating in the slaughter of children and women. Imagine yourself killing another human being with no other real argument than that you have been told that it is the right thing to do. Imagine the amount of damage you will do to yourself in shutting off all emotion of remorse, care, empathy and trust. Yes, I believe they where victims, cruel victims indeed, but still victims. Victims of the times, victims of faith, and of a general view of human value that seems beyond
understanding to most. However it not much different than a young soldier beating a suspect next to a roadside in Gaza, or a police officer in Compton or Philadelphia shooting a potential perpetrator. We are all capable of cruelty, it is(or seems to be) part of genetic coding to survive.
In cases of fear, perceived threat and lacking knowledge we are all capable of immense cruelty. Separation of emotion is a human gift/curse.
What is your opinion about free choice? Do you think it exists?
I believe it exists only in correlation to the amount of general knowledge of the individual. Possession, will and access. The less knowledge, the less free choice. It seems to me that depency grows from lack of autonomy, and lacking knowledge leads to a dependency of information.
Nothing revolutionary in this really, though I concur with many of the writers who speak of the power of media and propaganda as a means to controlling society. Aiming political executive actions to structure ie. school systems to match a certain religion or political agenda is as I see it, morally abhorrent.
And that was that for now / Peter