rabble blogs are the personal pages of some of Canada's most insightful progressive activists and commentators. All opinions belong to the writer; however, writers are expected to adhere to our guidelines. We welcome new bloggers -- contact us for details.

Roger Waters lifts the curtain

Roger Waters. Photo: Erik F. Brandsborg, Aktiv I Oslo.no/Flickr

So, every time the curtain falls
Every time the curtain falls on some forgotten life
It is because we all stood by, silent and indifferent­

A few mindful lyrics from Roger Waters’ latest album, Is This the Life We Really Want?, draws us to be present and not absent from what happens around us. 

That's what October 26 was like in a filled-to-capacity church in downtown Vancouver as Waters spoke about his music and passion for justice. At times dismissive, charged, and fervent, he laid out loud and clear his support for Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) in solidarity to end the illegal occupation of Palestinian lands by Israel.

Legendary music man and original front man for Pink Floyd, Waters shared his time and energy prior to his Saturday, Oct. 28, concert in Vancouver, the final night of the North American leg of his Us + Them World Tour, to talk tough about human rights, Palestine, activism and challenges we face. 

Looking a tad tired (“I gotta cold,” he said), with his grey white hair plastered forward, Waters sat in the middle of his two interviewers Itrath Syed and Martha Roth and jumped right into BDS — "let's get to it."

He proceeded to explain his planned concert 11 years ago in Tel Aviv until he cancelled it in response to those who urged him not to play in order to show support for the plight of Palestinians. He changed the concert venue to an integrated Israeli/Palestinian community and then later immersed himself in visiting occupied communities and people in order to understand the political and human rights environment for those under occupation. 

Waters has remained an outspoken critic of Israeli policies and occupation ever since, earning him both accolades and respect, as well as the seemingly requisite disinformation and smear campaigns. The latest incarnation of this is in celebrity chasing director Ian Halperin’s documentary Wish You Weren’t Here. But Waters carries on with his music and his speaking truth to power to wake up a distracted and disengaged public.

I know from my own experience in Ottawa how toxic the political environment is when it comes to BDS and criticism of Israeli policies. I was glad to see Syed in her questions to Waters shedding light on current PM Justin Trudeau’s tweet that BDS has no place in Canada: “The BDS movement, like Israeli Apartheid Week, has no place on Canadian campuses. As a @McGillU alum, I’m disappointed. #EnoughIsEnough.”

If the Vancouver audience is any measure, there are growing numbers of people who want to hear Waters’ message and support the movement for BDS. 

In addition to his concert and talk, the film Occupation of the American Mind, narrated by Waters, is showing on November 8 in Vancouver. 

Libby Davies is the former NDP Deputy Leader and represented Vancouver East as an NDP MP for 18 years.

Photo: Erik F. Brandsborg, Aktiv I Oslo.no/Flickr

Like this article? Please chip in to keep stories like these coming.

Thank you for reading this story...

More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all. But media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our only supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help.

If everyone who visits rabble and likes it chipped in a couple of dollars per month, our future would be much more secure and we could do much more: like the things our readers tell us they want to see more of: more staff reporters and more work to complete the upgrade of our website.

We’re asking if you could make a donation, right now, to set rabble on solid footing in 2017.

Make a donation.Become a monthly supporter.

Comments

We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:

Do

  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.

Don't

  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.