A couple of years ago I wrote one of my favourite articles exploring Pink Floyd’s song “Wish You Were Here”. In it I tried to turn music into description. “Who hasn’t “rocked or hummed along?” I asked. Who were its “lost souls swimming in a fishbowl”?
But I erased it this year.
I’ve no problem with poetic vitriol; music is political. But there’s no room for absolutism, misogyny, bigotry, homophobia, incitement to crime, racism or anti-Semitism. And for that reason Pink Floyd founder, Roger Waters, forfeit his artistic licence.
In 2004, Waters performed a TV fundraiser for the sodden survivors of the Indonesian tsunami, a disaster that devastated the Islamic enclave at Banda Aceh, Sumatra.
And while Waters strummed, Israel sent over a hundred doctors, rescuers and police, power generators and 82 tonnes of medicine, water, food, baby formula, blankets and tents to help restore a Muslim quality of life.
But Waters now not only calls for the destruction of Israel through “boycott, divestment and sanction”, he floats pigs emblazoned with the Star of David above his stage.
There’s a small 19th Century Jewish cemetery in Banda Aceh. If there are any living Jews, they’re covert. No cinemas for that matter either. Yet, Waters wants Israel not Indonesia, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Yemen, Saudi Arabia—or any of the host of other anti-gay, gender biased countries gone. To him there’s no issue with civil liberties over there, though yesterday Saudi Arabia arrested a woman for wearing a dress.
No, just Israel a country that Hamas to its chagrin today, admitted has protected religious freedoms across all faiths—including Islam—in Jerusalem for the past 50 years. You’ve got to laugh.
So I just bought my first Radiohead album. They sang “Creep” in Tel Aviv last night telling Waters, despite his plea to pull out, where to go.
I went with 1995’s “The Bends”.
© 2017 Adam Parker. You’ve just read a Parkerpinion.
Main picture: Holocaust Memorial, Boston, USA. Author’s photo.