Friday, September 18, 2015

Look who is collecting the Benjamins from Abu Dhabi

Prompted by my post about the rise of champagne activism in classical music, a reader points out that the "the ever ultra chic Kronos Quartet, allegedly founded by a dissenter form the Vietnam war, has no problem with collecting the Benjamins from Abu Dhabi" - see above. To which I would add that Ivan Fischer, who is in the news for appealing to the EU for generosity towards refugees, has also been collecting the Benjamins from Abu Dhabi - see below. Presumably the hectic schedules of Maestro Fischer and the Kronos did not allow them to read this section of the Human Rights Watch 2015 Report on the United Arab Emirates:
Nearly five years after Human Rights Watch first revealed systematic human rights violations of migrant workers on Abu Dhabi’s Saadiyat Island, a development project which will host branches of the Louvre and Guggenheim museums and New York University, some employers continued to withhold wages and benefits from workers, failed to reimburse recruiting fees, confiscated worker passports, and housed workers in substandard accommodation. The government summarily deported Saadiyat workers who went on strike to protest low pay after their employers contacted the police.
I accept the argument that to survive, classical music must form uncomfortable alliances with rich but despotic regimes and ethically compromised corporations. However I would also argue that we need at least one commentator to point out who is collecting the tainted Benjamins from Abu Dhabi and elsewhere.

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Hank Drake said...

If by "Benjamin" you mean $50 bill, that would be "Ulysses". Ben Franklin is on the $100.

Pliable said...

Please could an American reader decode that comment for me.

Lyle Sanford, RMT said...

maybe the previous commenter saw the "50" in the "50 for the future" illustration and thought you were talking about that?

JMW said...

"Benjamins" is simply American vernacular for currency in plural. If one is "all about the Benjamins", or "clocking Benjamins", it just means you're making lots of money. It applies to the cases at hand, because in going to Abu Dhabi Kronos and Fischer are clearly all about those Benjamins.