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Many names in international music have already signed and continue to sign a petition to lift the ban on performing with regard to the Roger Waters concert in Frankfurt, Germany. From Eric Clapton to Tom Morello of Rage Against The Machine up to Nick Mason (the drummer of Pink Floyd), many have mobilized in favor of Waters and have supported a petition on Change.org with the aim of overturning the decision.
“[Noi] we must not succumb to the pressure of those individuals and groups who would prefer to see Waters’ music removed rather than engage with the issues that his music highlights,” reads the petition launched today on the famous website dedicated to requests by furor of people.
But let’s take a dutiful step back, for the record: Roger Waters, former historic member of Pink Floyd (he is the co-founder) should have performed in the German city of Frankfurt on May 28 as part of his “This Is Not A Drill” tour but the show was canceled at the behest of Frankfurt city council officials following numerous allegations of anti-Semitism.
As a reaction to this petition to allow Waters to perform, a second petition was also launched, in opposition to the first.
Currently, the decision to cancel the Frankfurt show remains in force. All the other dates of the “This Is Not A Drill” tour are confirmed for now.
Brian Eno and Peter Gabriel are also co-signers of the petition
Much of the music world is mobilizing to offer its support to his colleague, who is risking being ousted from the stage and banned from the world of seven notes because of his opinions.
Brian Eno, Peter Gabriel and Soft Machine founder Robert Wyatt also showed their solidarity, as did actors Susan Sarandon and Julie Christie and director Ken Loach. The petition currently has more than 16,000 signatures (almost 17,000), a number that is rapidly increasing. The signatures must reach a minimum number of 25,000 to arouse the interest of the media, as stated on the Change website.
However, media interest is already very high, as this article attests.
“Waters has always defended human rights around the world”
“Waters’ criticisms of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians are part of his long-term advocacy for human rights around the world,” reads the description accompanying the petition. “Officials who vilify Waters are engaging in a dangerous campaign that purposely blends criticism of Israel’s illegal and unjust policies with anti-Semitism.”
And the petition continues with the following words: “Officials in Germany, concert organizers and music platforms must not succumb to pressure from those individuals and groups who would rather see Waters’ music removed than engage with the issues that his music highlights”.
A second and opposing petition was launched online
Following the petition launched in these hours on the Change website, a second and opposite petition has been launched in order not to allow Roger Waters to perform.
The decision to cancel the upcoming concert was made last month, with the Frankfurt city council citing Waters’ “persistent anti-Israel behaviour” as the reasoning. A similar motion was also raised against his Munich show, set for May 21st.
Waters is willing to take legal action
Roger Waters’ rep last week said he was willing to take legal action against the decision to cancel his show, branding the ban as “unconstitutional”, “without justification” and an attempt to “shut him up”. “. In the statement of the English musician’s spokespersons, it was underlined that for Waters it is important to ensure that he and everyone has the sacrosanct right to freedom of speech. However, the Jewish community of Frankfurt underlined that there is a limit to freedom of speech: it cannot go beyond the dignity of a people.
The allegations of former bandmate David Gilmour
Former bandmate David Gilmour and his wife Polly Samson took to social media last month to criticize Waters as both “anti-Semitic” and “misogynist”. “[È] a Putin apologist and a liar, thief, hypocrite, tax evader, lip-syncher, misogynist, envy-sick, megalomaniac,” Samson tweeted. Her tweet was echoed by her husband, Gilmour, who retweeted it and wrote that all that his wife claims is absolutely true and provable.
These comments were later rebutted by Waters, who released a statement describing the allegations as “inflammatory and wildly inaccurate”.
The petition to play Roger Waters
Katie Halper launched the petition to allow Roger Waters to perform, as Change.org reports.
Below you can read the full text of the petition currently open on the aforementioned site.
“We artists, musicians, writers and other public figures and organizations are deeply disturbed by the recent efforts of German officials to discredit and silence the musician Roger Waters. On 24 February 2023, the Frankfurt city council and the state government of Hesse announced the cancellation of a Waters concert scheduled for 28 May at the Festhalle. Frankfurt’s city council says the cancellation of Waters’ concert ‘has given a clear signal against anti-Semitism’, describing the musician as ‘one of the most notorious anti-Semites in the world’. As evidence, the Council says Waters “repeatedly called for a cultural boycott of Israel and drew comparisons to the apartheid regime in South Africa and pressured artists to cancel events in Israel.” There is no evidence other than these two claims: that Waters supported the Palestinian-led campaign for a cultural boycott of Israel and that he compared contemporary Israeli rule to the apartheid regime in South Africa. None of these claims are unique to Waters or outside the bounds of mainstream public opinion. Human rights organizations such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Israel’s B’Tselem, United Nations agencies, and South African officials have labeled Israel an apartheid state, and therefore, many of these organizations and individuals have drawn comparisons between Israel and the era of apartheid in South Africa. The extremists are the Israeli government, not its critics. Recently, Israeli citizens have taken to the streets to protest their government’s violent treatment of Palestinians and sweeping undemocratic judicial changes. Waters’ criticisms of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians are part of his long-term advocacy for human rights around the world. Waters believes “all of our brothers and sisters, around the world, regardless of the color of their skin or the depth of their pockets, deserve equal human rights under the law.” Regarding Israel and Palestine, he says: ‘My basis is simple: it is the implementation of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights for all our brothers and sisters between the Jordan River and the sea. Anti-Semitism is hateful and racist and I condemn it, along with all forms of racism, unreservedly.’ Officials who vilify Waters are engaging in a dangerous campaign that purposely blends criticism of Israel’s illegal and unjust policies with anti-Semitism. This amalgamation perpetuates the anti-Semitic trope that presents Jews as a monolith blindly supporting Israel. Some of Israel’s loudest critics are Jews. But those who arm anti-Semitism are contributing to it well. Officials in Germany, concert organizers and music platforms must not succumb to pressure from those individuals and groups who would rather see Waters’ music removed than engage with the issues his music highlights. We call on those who canceled Waters concerts to reverse their decisions and consider their own history of anti-Semitism, racism and genocide and how instances of these can be stopped today in other parts of the world, including occupied Palestine.”