Pink Floyd co-founder, principle composer and exclusive lyricist Roger Waters has never been one to shy away from the towering political, philosophical and ethical questions of the day. A long time opponent of fascism, aggressive war and inhumane social conditions across the world, Waters has for over a decade devoted himself specifically to the cause of Palestinian justice.
But beyond the issue of Palestine which is central to Waters’s activism both off stage and on stage, in a new interview with the Russian publication Izvestiya, the man behind The Dark Side of The Moon, Wish You Were Here, Animals and The Wall discussed a wide range of issues from Syria to contemporary western hostility to Russia.
When asked about the most pressing issues facing the world, Waters pointed to the proliferation of nuclear weapons. He specifically illustrated the importance of disarmament before discussing Israel’s covert and illegal nuclear weapons program that is rarely discussed in the context of non-proliferation in most international debating chambers. According to Waters:
“We have stood on the verge of the apocalypse so many times since 1945. It’s just crazy that ordinary people from all over the world can not come together and demand the destruction of all nuclear weapons, including in Israel. Israel does not admit, but they too have nuclear weapons. This is all a very dangerous and strange game, played by the ultra powerful. But we, ordinary citizens, should say: ‘No, we do not want such a game.’ The same thing happens with climate change. And this again shows that we are headed towards the disappearance of all life…..Is this the life we really want?”
Recently, Roger Waters has also been highly critical of the US and European attacks on Syria. Furthermore he has slammed the dubious western backed orgaisation White Helmets for their role in staging provocations in Syria:
“This is a very important issue. It was a concert in Barcelona, in April. And there were two important moments: first of all, on the evening of April the 7th, the White Helmets released a video shot in the Syrian city of Duma. In the video there was a hospital, many children in masks, which were sprayed watered all the time, and the authors of the video claimed that this was the consequences of a chemical attack.
Based on this video, Donald Trump, with his inherent infantile stupidity, and also Teresa May and Macron decided to join a missile strike against Syria. The United States, Britain and France made this decision based on the White Helmets’ video alone. And it was obvious that this was a fake, that there was no chemical attack and now we know for sure. All this happened on April the 7th – the news then appeared on the 8th, and I believe that my concert was on that evening
Before my concert a certain guy approached me, a Frenchman, he supported the White Helmets. And now he asks if it is possible to climb the stage and speak with words in support of the children of Syria. And I say: ‘No, you can not.’ Too many serious questions have accumulated surrounding this organization [White Helmets].
Many of their materials were exposed as an obvious lie. As for Duma, the militants, jihadists, were already leaving the city. The Syrian army inflicted enough blows on them to make it clear that they would not be able to hold the city, and they left about two days later. Two days later, two journalists came to the scene: Robert Fisk of the Independent newspaper and Pearson Sharpe from a very conservative Christian television company in Texas. There were no other journalists at that time in the Duma
They both went to the hospital, both spoke with doctors, with local residents, they were not associated with Assad and the government of Syria. But they both reported the same thing. According to them, all the doctors said that there was no chemical attack. No one died in the Duma on the day when it was supposed to happen, not a single person. After all, initially it was about 50, or 60 dead, and the doctors said that there were people with breathing problems in the hospital, but these problems arose because of the dust – simply because the city is at war. That’s why I said on the stage that this is all falsification, and we, citizens of the United States, France and Great Britain, must demand that our governments do not bomb a foreign state because of something they have not even figured out….
The whole thing was just an episode of a propaganda war that tries to demonise Putin, Assad, Iran and so on. Therefore, we need to be extremely cautious and attentive. I said something similar at my concert in Oslo. If there were any evidence in favour of the fact that the White Helmets is an organization in which simple Syrians are composed who want to help their fellow citizens, I would support them completely and I would deeply apologise to them. And I very much would like to be mistaken on their account”.
Waters was then asked about the incident in England involving the Skripals whom the UK government still claims were poisoned by agents of the Russian government. Regarding this Waters stated,
“The attack on the Skripals is nonsense, this much is clear even to a person with even half a brain. But many do not even have half a brain and therefore they believe in this absurdity! I would like to tell the whole world: ‘Do you want to start a war with the Russians? Are you crazy? Do you even know who you’re dealing with? The Russians have freed you from the fascists at the cost of the lives of 20 million [26 million by more contemporary accounts] of their citizens! And you want to fight them? What wrong have they done to you? What are you talking about? “
Waters continued offering his views on the Ukrainian crisis:
“The same can be said about Ukraine. Victoria Nuland (The US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs during Barack Obama’s second term) is to blame for everything, she organized all this, and now the country is divided into two parts. I do not know how Ukraine will get out of this whole situation, but blaming Russia for this is ridiculous. However, Americans pull such things of well, and people believe them, because they control the press and can twist the situation in the way that is beneficial for them”.
Waters then discussed the Crimean peninsula and acknowledged Russia’s historic city of Sevastopol being of great importance to the Russian nation. He then stated that while in Palestine an occupied people have called on the world to boycott their Israeli occupier, as a sovereign state, Russia must choose its own destiny free from interference. Regarding this Waters addressed his Russian interviewer and said,
“This is your country, and you must decide what to do. If you love Putin, then please, it’s none of my business! If you do not like him, it’s also not my business! Choosing the government you want is your business.”
Roger Waters was then asked if like others, his views of Russia might changed based on the positive atmosphere surrounding the World Cup which the nation hosted in June and July of this year. Waters indicated that such things don’t make a difference to him, saying:
“No, because I’ve already been to Russia, read your literature and I have an understanding of your culture. The demonization of Russia, the Russian people and Putin is sad. After all, all of this is done not to fight against Russia. This is done [by western powers] to control their own citizens in order to earn more money”.
In an age when music stars tend to either remain apolitical for life or otherwise associate themselves with trendy or “safe” activism, Roger Waters stands alone as someone using his stage to go against the grain of both the pro-war consensus and anti-war consensus among American and European elites. Waters may have changed bands since dramatically walking away from Pink Floyd in 1984, but he continues to sign the same important tune.
Roger Waters will perform in St. Petersburg on the 29th of August and in Moscow on the 31st of August. In October he will then commence a tour of South America and then play throughout Mexico in November as part of his Us + Them world tour.