'It's beyond our capacity to imagine such evil': Roger Waters on Israeli war on Gaza

Ahram Online , Wednesday 6 Dec 2023

Speaking to a Turkish national public broadcaster, Roger Waters, an English musician and co-founder of the famed rock band Pink Floyd, expressed his anger towards the ongoing Israeli “genocide” in Gaza.

Roger Waters


In an exclusive interview held during his Latin America tour “This is Not a Drill” in Santiago, Chile's capital, Waters spoke on TRT World about the years of his realization about the situation in Palestine and Israel and the attitude of the latter towards the Palestinian people and territories.

His awareness and anger towards Israel's actions were triggered in the early 2000s when Pink Floyd was invited to perform in Israel followed by concerts in the West Bank.

Speaking about one of the extended tours in the mid-2000s, he said, "It was chilling beyond anything that I could have ever imagined, to see what was going on, and the absolute disdain and disgust with which we, I with a British passport in an UNWRA vehicle was treated by all the young Israeli border guards and people. I remember thinking at the time, if they are like that to me, what must they be like to the Palestinians? And of course, we know. And now to bring it entirely up to date, we know exactly what they are like to the Palestinians because they are as we speak committing genocide in Gaza."

Sharing his thoughts with a Canadian interviewer, Waters became emotional when asked about his feelings for the war on Gaza that began on 7 October. While expressing his empathy with the Palestinian people, he underscored how "you can't possibly put yourself in that [the Palestinian people] position, in their position, those mothers and fathers, those children, those 2.3 million - well, a bit less now - people living in Gaza, being bombarded by F-16s day and night, week after week, after week. One cannot even begin to imagine what it must be like, and that it's being cheered on...." He referenced the international leaders, adding "What is wrong with these people? … How can they still be trying to cast the Israelis as victims? ... It's beyond capacity to imagine such evil."

His stances about Israel are based on profound research and reading. He credits his mother for encouraging him to always have well-informed opinions. He quoted her saying: "I'm going to give you some advice. All through your life, Roger, you're going to come up against knotty problems, things that you have to think through, or work out and decide what to do about, make decisions. So here is my advice: When that happens to you, read, read, read, and then read some more. Find out everything that there is to know about whatever it is that is troubling you. Study the history and don’t just read the opinions of people who agree with you ... [Then] you do the right thing."

Interview with Waters came by the end of his Latin America tour, which faced a censorship campaign and hotel ban due to his pro-Palestine stance.

"They just tried to cancel my show … here in Santiago, in Chile, where I know I'm enormously popular, not just because the shows are sold out ... They [the Israeli lobbies] were in Buenos Aires as well … tried to get my shows in Buenos Aires canceled on the grounds that I'm an anti-Semite, which I'm not, obviously! It's such outright nonsense," Waters expressed in the interview.

Speaking about the "people in power" and media, he said: "They still make up stories and then amplify and then print them again and again and again and again and again and again."

The British musician and songwriter is known for his strong pro-Palestinian stances, often openly condemning Israel for its decades-long occupation of Palestine and wars on its people. 

Often accused of anti-Semitism and misogynism, his opinions often lead him to conflicts with a variety of authorities, with some voices calling for the cancellation of his concerts.

Shortly before Waters' concerts in Argentina and Uruguay, many hotels have reportedly refused to accommodate the musician, accusing him of anti-Semitism.

Last month, Waters expressed his stance in Pagina 12, an Argentinian paper, saying "I have not had a single anti-Semitic thought in my entire life" and underscoring that his criticism was "of the Israeli government's actions."

The health ministry in Gaza says 16,248 Palestinians have been killed and more than 42,000 wounded since the Israeli war on Gaza broke out two months ago.

The ministry said also that the death toll includes more than 6,000 children and more than 4,000 women. 

The figures show a sharp rise in deaths since a weeklong truce between Israel and Hamas collapsed on 1 December. Since the resumption of fighting Friday, more than 1,000 Palestinians have been killed, according to the health ministry.

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