Roger Waters To German Fans: ‘Have You Lost Your Minds?’

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On a brisk Tuesday, January 16, Roger Waters took to the internet, releasing an open letter addressing the people of Germany, sparking a conversation about the tension between Israel and Palestine.

Accompanying his video message, Roger Waters invoked a poignant lyric, questioning the trade-off between a minor role in conflict for a major one in confinement.

He reminisced about a collective vow of “never again,” referencing a letter he penned to the German populace back in May 2019. This was in response to the German parliament’s controversial stance, labeling the pro-Palestinian ‘Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions’ (BDS) movement as anti-Semitic.

Waters, a vocal advocate of the BDS movement and a critic of the Israeli government’s policies, expressed his stark disapproval of this characterization on social media:

“Dear Citizens of Germany: Have you lost your senses? Your lawmakers in the Bundestag recently codified a law that essentially curbs the rights of a certain group of people.

Isn’t this a cause for concern, loud enough for everyone to hear, akin to the deafening sound that might drive the masses into the streets, their hands clasped over their ears as if reenacting Edvard Munch’s ‘The Scream’?

Are you oblivious to the dark chapters of your own history, the 1930s and 40s, when legal norms were twisted to prop up a regime that thrived on racist and supremacist ideologies, masked as law and order under Nazi rule?”

Waters recounted his visit to the resting places of Hans and Sophie Scholl, alongside Christoph Probst—members of the White Rose, a group that courageously opposed the Nazi regime. He drew parallels between their peaceful resistance and the plight faced by another community in today’s times:

“In the present day, in the so-called Holy Land, a similar tale of persecution unfolds, stripping a people of their basic human rights, including life and freedom.

This narrative is led by a government that mirrors the same racist, supremacist, and apartheid principles. Across the globe, a non-violent initiative akin to the White Rose movement stands in solidarity with this oppressed group.

This movement, known as BDS, champions the rights of the Palestinian people, aiming to restore their fundamental human rights, as laid out in international agreements like the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Geneva Conventions, and the Treaty of Rome. Yet, this noble cause faces unjust criminalization by the Bundestag.”

The artist shared the backlash he faced, particularly in Germany, where his support for Palestinian rights was met with accusations of anti-Semitism, a tactic he attributed to the Israeli government and its supporters to silence dissent.

Waters recalled his struggle to find a platform in the German media to address these accusations, expressing gratitude to journalist Alexander Gorkov for offering an opportunity, though noting it as an exception in an otherwise unresponsive media landscape. He critiqued the pervasive silence and fear in German society, a silence that he attributed to a deep-seated psychological trauma rooted in the nation’s past atrocities.

He reflected on the decision by German lawmakers to deem BDS’s methods anti-Semitic, urging the German public to stand against what he perceives as a dangerous path towards tyranny. Invoking the spirit of Sophie Scholl, Waters implored the people to reject this oppressive legislation, warning of a descent into the bleak vision portrayed by Munch’s ‘The Scream.’

Drawing from a poignant conversation between Sophie Scholl and her father, Waters called upon his audience to make a choice, a choice underscored by the principles enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. He emphasized the simplicity of this decision when grounded in the commitment to uphold human rights for all, regardless of ethnicity, religion, or nationality.

In the wake of his outspoken views, Roger Waters has faced allegations of anti-Semitism, leading to the cancellation of his concerts in Germany and attracting widespread critique. Yet, his message remains a clarion call for introspection and action in the face of injustice.

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