Pink Floyd member Roger Waters reiterated this week his intent to take part in a concert in Apartheid Israel. Signalling a business as usual approach with the Occupation, Watersâ decision has sparked anger and outrage amongst Palestinians and their international supporters.
News of the upcoming concert in Tel Aviv catalyzed a protest campaign that has already reached UK newspapers and the mainstream music media. While it should be the moral and political responsibility of any artist not to lend his or her support to the Occupation, Watersâ agreement undermines the global movement to boycott Israel, and goes against his previous solidarity expressed for Palestinians struggling for freedom.
At the height of the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa, Pink Floyd produced one of their major success songs âThe Wallâ in support of the popular uprising in South Africa. Later, the same song was performed in the historic Pink Floyd concert in Berlin. More than a decade later, Roger Waters stood out against apartheid and walls, coming out publicly against the Apartheid Wall in Palestine.
Yet the financial lure of a high profit concert and the pressure of the music industry appear to have weighed heavier than the crimes of the Occupation and the ghettoization of an entire people. It is crucial that the people all over the world speak out against complicity and support for Apartheid Israel by artists, and hold them accountable for their actions.
The Palestinian artists and cultural institutions as well as the Campaign for Academic and Cultural Boycott have thus launched an appeal to people of conscience across the world to lobby Mr. Waters to cancel his concert. (See below.)
To endorse the appeal, send a mail to firstname.lastname@example.org (please, cc
Mr. Roger Waters
31 Ruvigny Gardens
London SW15 1JR, England
7 March 2006
Dear Mr. Waters,
The Palestinian arts community received in disbelief the news of your upcoming performance in Tel Aviv in June, at a time when Israel continues unabated with its colonial and apartheid designs to further dispossess, oppress and ultimately ethnically cleanse Palestinians from their homeland.
We strongly urge you to cancel your plans to perform in Israel until the time comes when it ends its illegal occupation of Palestinian territory and respects the relevant precepts of international law concerning Palestinian rights to freedom, self-determination and equality.
Upon learning of your planned tour, Palestinian as well as several international artists asked in shock: How can the artist whose name around the world was for many years associated with breaking walls of injustice be in any way complicit with the monstrosity of Israelâs Wall, declared illegal by the International Court of Justice at the Hague? Not too long ago, you lent your good name to the War on Wantâs effort to collect signatures of public figures against Israelâs Wall. At the time, you rightly stated, âThe poverty inflicted by the wall has been devastating for Palestinians. It has kept children from their schools, the sick from proper medical care and continues to destroy the Palestinian economy. I fully support War on Wantâs campaign, and hope that as many people as possible sign the wall â as a strong message to the UK government that immediate action is essential.â
This same Wall has grown substantially since. It now divides many more Palestinians from their livelihoods and vital health and educational services. The support it garners in Israeli society has also grown â close to 90% of all Israeli Jews support the Wall despite its devastating repercussions on Palestinians under occupation.
Furthermore, as you may know, Palestinian civil society has almost unanimously called upon international civil society to engage in acts and campaigns of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it fully complies with international law and recognizes the fundamental human rights of the people of Palestine. The Church of England, the US Presbyterian Church, a group of top British architects, among many other groups and institutions in the West, have all heeded the Palestinian distress call and considered applying effective pressure on Israel to promote peace and justice in our troubled land. Is it too much, then, to expect conscientious international artists to uphold the values of freedom, equality and justice for all?
Ironically, when you were invited last year to perform in the Palestine International Festival 2005, the theme of that festival was âAnother BREAK in the Wall!â The following lyrics for a song which was to be performed by school children were inspired by your timeless song:
We donât need no occupation
We donât need no racist wall
No more siege and no more curfews
Soldiers leave us kids alone
Hey! Soldiers! Leave us kids alone!
All in all youâre just another brick in the wall All in all weâve just made another BREAK in the wall
These words still express our collective view of the Wall, of our oppressors, and are still inspired by you. Do they still mean the same to you?
We appeal to your moral compass, your record of standing up for principles of human dignity and equality. And we sincerely hope that you shall be another brick in the bridge to liberty and justice, not another concrete slab in Israelâs Wall of shame.