Jesse Valencia

Daesh Has Declared War on Rock and Roll and Must Be Destroyed

Image: Eagles of Death Metal 2004 Album Cover

With the recent events in Paris, and specifically the Bataclan, musician Jesse Valencia proclaims that Daesh must be destroyed, in the name of rock and roll.


The academic and intellectual in me whispers, “We must strive for peace,” while the soldier and veteran in me screams, “We must burn the village to save it!” I can’t decide which voice to follow, but I’m leaning toward the complete destruction of Daesh (formerly known as ‘ISIS,’ pronounced ‘Da’ish’) and everyone who believes their twisted, medieval ideas.

These guys want to run an apocalyptic Caliphate to wipe out Israel and the West. We should take them seriously. Like Nazi Germany seriously. Isn’t that why we formed the UN in the first place? To prevent such regimes from gaining enough footing in the world to carry out the kind of genocides Daesh is trying to carry out? We need to work together to save people in the Middle East and help them wipe their slate clean. I’d rather it be the U.S. propping up McDonald’s on every block in Baghdad than a bunch of Shariah freaks raping women and children and cutting people’s limbs off.

The region must be stabilized and rebuilt. I am aware that we have problems at home. I am aware that our own civilization needs fixing, but we can’t move forward as an international community until we address the cancer that is Daesh and cut it out of the world. If we do not, absolutely everything is going to get worse, including our problems at home, with everything from wealth inequality, to racism, to mass incarceration, to sexism, to LGBT discrimination, and so on, forever. It is inevitable, unless we act.

The musician in me feels the same. From this point of view, this is a direct attack on the artistic expression of personal freedom and emotion that is rock and roll music. Ever the spokesman, U2’s Bono made the same assessment and got a lot of shit for it, and though I’m no U2 fan, I feel he’s made a very valid point here.

“If you think about it, the majority of victims were music fans,” Bono said, “This is the first direct hit on music that we’ve had in this so-called War on Terror …. This, and the cold-blooded aspect of the attacks, are what are really upsetting. It could have been any of us.”

Immediately, people expressed criticism towards Bono, saying his statement downplayed the suffering of the victims, but he’s right. Daesh hates music. And anyways, his statements aren’t nearly as offensive as those by an Arizona preacher recently, who partially blamed the victims for their own murders due to the fact that they were attending a “satanic” rock and roll concert. I guess modern Christian and Muslim extremists at least agree that rock and roll is still the “Devil’s Music” needing to be destroyed.

Earlier in the year, photographs emerged of members of Hesbah (a.k.a., the Daesh Islamic Police, or “DIPshits,” as I like to call them) burning a drum set in the Libyan city of Derna. These kinds of musical instruments used to create rock and roll, or any other kind of secular, non-Daesh-approved Devil Music, are illegal under the DIPshits’ twisted interpretation of Islamic Law.

The bombing of the Eagles of Death Metal concert at the Bataclan, then, is a symbolic fulfillment of Daesh’s threat. Ba-ta-clan, named for an operetta by 19th Century Jewish composer Jacques Offenbach, a satire on the imperialistic ambitions of Napoleon III involving, among other things, a plot to dethrone the French emperor, was Offenbach’s breakthrough hit. 129 dead and 433 wounded later, the word “Bataclan” will forever be associated with tragedy, fear, and hatred.

We cannot tolerate attacks upon our culture any more than we can tolerate attacks on our bodies. In fact, we must defend both with equal vigor, and in this case I feel we must act on our fear and lamentations with swift and merciless aggression towards Daesh, for the preservation of our culture and our people, and by “our people” I mean everyone who wants to make the world a better place, one of music and love and life, and not one crawling beneath the archaic, fascistic ideology enforced by twisted movements like the Daesh. We must not allow ourselves to be afraid to go to a concert. If we do, we dishonor the memories of the grieving and the fallen, who died living their lives to the fullest.

This is what rock and roll is all about. Freedom. Expression. Life. Like hip-hop, it’s a conduit that spreads East to West. It connects the world and is worth defending, just as we must defend our lives and livelihoods. Daesh must be destroyed. Don’t let them make “Bataclan” a word for tragedy and fear. Let’s instead make it our battle cry.

Rappeler le bataclan!


Jesse Valencia

Jesse Valencia is an actor, musician, writer, and filmmaker from Northern Arizona whose writing has appeared in Phoenix New Times, Flagstaff Live!, and The Big Smoke. He first appeared onscreen opposite Tom Sizemore in the indie crime drama Durant’s Never Closes, and is currently studying screenwriting at the David Lynch Graduate School for Cinematic Arts at the Maharishi University of Management. He plays music with the band, Gorky, who've put out the records The Gork…And How To Get It!, More Electric Music, and Mathemagician. He holds an MFA in Creative Writing and an MA in Literature from Northern Arizona University, is a veteran of the U.S. Army, and is currently at work on his first feature film.

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