Translated by Scott Humor
Roger Waters – about his upcoming concerts in Russia, his humanitarian activities and conflict with the “White helmets.”
At the end of August, Roger Waters, one of the founders of Pink Floyd, will visit Russia as part of his Us+Them World Tour, and the audience in Moscow and St. Petersburg will be able to see his new show. In the capital, the concert will be held at the Olympic stadium on August 31st. On the eve of the concerts, the legendary rock musician talked to the portal iz.ru about things that are common for Russians and Americans, why he opposes demonization of Russia, and reveals some plans on jogging in Moscow.
Q: First, I want to ask you about the upcoming concert. Your show, including its special effects, got a very positive feedback. Some even suggest that you should get an Oscar for it. How did you prepare for this project and how much time it took for you to get it all together?
A: It all started a couple of years ago when a music company Goldenvoice from California asked me to perform in Palm Springs at the Desert Trip music festival. Paul Tollet, the head of the company, had an idea to organize a festival like Coachella, which is held in spring and where I performed back in 2008. But this time he wanted the event to take place in autumn with a small number of performers.
As a result, he planned the performance of six bands, three of which were headliners. I think his idea was to collect The Beatles, the Rolling Stones and Pink Floyd, and on the sidelines to put Bob Dylan, Neil Young and the band The Who. It was just a crazy idea! Paul (McCartney) contacted me and asked me to represent Pink Floyd, and I agreed. McCartney said, “you’ll be the Beatles, that’s all right.”
At the end we had a performance. I think it was a great opportunity to do something extraordinary. The Desert Trip was the starting point of what we are doing now. It was then I first proposed an idea of having a scenery in the form of the recreated Battersea Power Station at concerts — it became a kind of symbol of the military-industrial complex, which I do not approve of because of its destructive power.
Then the model of the power plant went with us to concerts in Mexico City, and now we are thinking how to get the power plant decorations to appear on stage of indoor venues. I think that in Russia, in Moscow and in St. Petersburg, this part of the performance will be presented.
Q: Have you prepared something special for concerts in Russia? Will they be any different from the other concerts of your tour?
A: We try to do something special for each country. For example, during the show a flying pig appears, circling over the Battersea power station, with a sign saying: “Stay human or die.” We want to translate this inscription into the Russian language.
Also, throughout the concert and during intermissions we will show what difficulties people face in the current conditions, and the careless attitude to human lives that is so prevailing now. We are trying to remind that the world is teetering on the verge of complete disappearance, which can happen, among other things, because of the current struggle against the Russians.
We have stood on the brink of an Apocalypse so many times since 1945. It is simply insane that ordinary people from all over the world cannot come together and demand the destruction of all nuclear weapons, including weapons possessed by Israel. Israel refuses to admit, but it is obvious that they also have it. This is a very dangerous and strange game played by the leaders of the superpowers. We, ordinary citizens, must say: “No, we don’t want this game.” The same is true of climate change. And this once again shows that we are heading towards disappearance of all living creatures. It’s all people’s fault. Is this the life we really want?
By the way, this (Is this the life we really want. ed.) is one of my songs from my last album, from which we will play a few songs at the concert.
Q: A huge number of people listen carefully to your every word. When you called organization the “White helmets” fake, media around the world wrote about this. How did you come to this conclusion?
A: This is a very important question. It happened at a concert in Barcelona last April. Two important events took place then: first, in the evening of April 7th the “White helmets” released a video shot in the Syrian city of Duma. It was a footage of a hospital with many masked children who were being soaked with water all over, and the authors of the video claimed that it was the consequences of a chemical attack.
Based on this video, Donald Trump with his characteristic infantile stupidity, as well as Theresa May and Macron decided to launch a joint bombing attack on Syria. The US, UK and France made this decision based on this one video. And it was obvious that it was a fake, that there was no chemical attack, now we know it for sure. All this happened on April 7, the news came on the 8th, and it so happened that my concert was just that evening.
Then I was approached by a guy, a Frenchman, to support the “White Helmets”. He asked whether it is possible for them to go on stage and to speak in support of the “children of Syria.” I said, ” No, you can’t.” There are too many serious questions about this organization.
Many of their materials were found to be obvious lies. As for Duma, the militants, the jihadists were already leaving the city. With the Syrian army attacks it was obvious that they wouldn’t be able to hold the city, for more than two days. A day later, two journalists arrived at the scene: Robert Fisk from the Independent newspaper and Pearson Sharp from a very conservative Christian television company in Texas. There were no other journalists at that time in Duma.
They both visited this hospital, talked to the doctors and residents, who weren’t associated with Assad and the Syrian government. They all said the same thing. According to them, the medical personnel stated that there was no chemical attack. No one died in Duma the day it was supposed to happen, not a single person. Because the video claimed that there were about 50 or 60 dead, and the doctors said that the hospital had some people with breathing problems, but these problems were caused by the dust, because of the war activities. That’s why I said from the stage that this is all a falsification and we, the citizens of the United States, France and the UK, should demand from our governments to stop bombing a foreign state based on unproven claims.
This is just an episode of a propaganda war trying to demonize Putin, Assad, Iran and so on. Therefore, we need to be extremely careful and attentive. I said something similar at my concert in Oslo. If there was any evidence that the White Helmets were an organization of ordinary Syrians who wanted to help their fellow citizens, I would support them fully, I would apologize deeply to them. And I’d really like to be wrong about them (the WH).
But, it appears that all the messages that came from the occupied Aleppo pointed out that they were just militants. This is what witnesses say. Now it’s easy to find any information, if you do not follow the general propaganda line.
Q: Had they offered you money to support them?
A: They tried to attract me in London, a few years back. But I said “no.” Because there are people who are dealing in oil, and they would like to overthrow Assad, and to take everything over. I don’t care about people like that! The whole world policy is based on the protection of human rights, but at the same time — and that’s really pisses me off — they do not care about the people who live there, who were forced to flee, because it became impossible to live there.
Q: Now, that the conflict in Syria nears its end and the situation is stabilizing. But this war also was the war of fakes and disinformation. When the war in Syria is over, do you think we will be able to find out what was fake and what was true?
A: I don’t know. In general, the winners write history. It’s hard to come back and to revisit the past wars. The Allies rewrote the history of World War II. Some people do research, of course, if they are interested. It requires to study many documents and it’s hard to get to the truth, considering how much is kept secret.
Q: You will come to Russia at a difficult for us time, do you think there will be people who say that you are going to the enemy’s lair?
A: Why would you say that Russia goes through some difficult time, now?
Q: We have the sanctions, “the case of the Skripals”, provocations in Syria and so on…
A: But why does it have to complicate life in Russia? It’s all nonsense. The attack on the Skripals is nonsense. It’s obvious even for those with part of the brain. Many must have no brain at all if they believe this absurdity! I would like to say to the entire world: “Do you want to start a war with the Russians? What are you, crazy? Do you know who you’re dealing with? The Russians liberated you from the Nazis at the cost of 20 million lives of their countrymen! Do you want to fight them? What have they done to you? What are you talking about?”
The same should be said about Ukraine. Victoria Nuland, (official representative of the US state Department in 2011-2013. Ed. iz.ru) it’s all her fault, she organized it all, and now the country is divided into two parts. I don’t know how Ukraine will get out of this situation, but to blame Russia for this is ridiculous. However, the Americans are good at it, and people believe them, because they control the media and they can twist the situation to benefit themselves.
I myself believe that we won’t have a war with Russia. Russians are brave, persistent and resolute people. You have a really big and very powerful country.
Q: So, it wasn’t difficult for you to decide to come to Russia?
A: Of course not. People write to me saying that since I am always trying to dissuade artists from performing in Israel, how come I am going to Russia? The Russians have asked me by the thousands to pay attention to how things are going inside the country. The Palestinians also asked me to help to draw the world’s attention to their problems. And I answer those requests.
This concerns the rights and freedoms of citizens. You have a problem with that. But this is your country, and it’s up to you to decide what to do. If you love Putin, then please, it’s not my business! If you don’t love him, it’s none of my business, neither! It’s up to you to choose the government you want.
Q: In the Arab-Israeli conflict, you openly support Palestine. You, as far as we know, even had a conflict with musician Tom York about it. We have a similar situation in Russia with Crimea: some rock stars are still arguing about the status of the peninsula. What do you think about it?
A: I’m not very good at geopolitics. I know that Sevastopol is very important for Russia and Russians. There are many treaties and backed securities, according to which Russia has all rights for this city. The change of power in Ukraine, planned by Washington, just provoked Moscow to further action.
But what I want to say is that now the political elite of the United States does not understand the true meaning of the agreements. They constantly break them and declare that they can do whatever they want. This position scares me because someday it will just kill us all.
Q: Last time you visited Russia seven years ago. After the World Cup, many positive things were said about our country. Even the British fans have noted surprising to them Russian hospitality. Do you expect any surprises from this visit?
A: No, because I have already been to Russia, read your literature and understand your culture. The demonization of Russia, the Russian people and Putin is sad. After all, this isn’t done to fight Russia. This is done to control their own citizens and to earn more money.
Q: A rather philosophical question about your song called The Wall. What kind of walls are being erected in the world now, and what walls are crumbling down?
A: I don’t really understand what you mean by crumbling walls. In fact, now there are now two obvious walls. The first is the wall in Israel, where people’s land, Palestinian land, is being stolen from poor people. And the second is a ridiculous wall on the border with Mexico, which Trump is going to build. It’s absurd, you can’t just stop people who want to cross the border.
We must always remember that no matter what we look like and how we live, we are all brothers and sisters, we are all of the same blood. We are not made to fight against each other. We must help each other in difficult times. This is especially true now, when crowds of refugees are leaving Syria, Libya and West Africa. No matter where they run from, the main thing is that we are to blame. We broke the system down.
And I’m not just talking about Pro-Western forces, I’m talking about all the empires that have ruined everything. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to find a force that can help us to organize ourselves and to teach us how to respond to humanitarian crises in a human way. After all, any pressure provokes reciprocal aggression.
It’s like being in a bar when you’re standing and someone’s staring at you and coming closer and closer, raising his fist, and then you’re like, “Hey, you, take it easy. Do you really want a fight?” And all this can really end in a big conflict, and it will be a tragedy. A tragedy for no reason. The only reason for all wars is money.
People who benefit from wars are psychos and sociopaths with no sense of empathy. They do not understand that the pleasure in life lies in the ability to love each other, not in the ability to kill each other. This is something I pay attention to during my show.
Q: You always address the problems of humanity. Which is important. These things are easy to understand, but you keep talking about those issues throughout your life, but it just gets worse… How do you feel about it?
A: A few years ago, in Washington I was interviewed by your colleagues from the Russia Today. I told them: “Imagine, we are sitting here, and suddenly all the light go off and electromagnetic waves come. That would mean a hydrogen weapon was used a few hundred miles from here. And in this moment, we might understand that this is it, the end of everything. Who will be interested in all these political disputes, then?
Q: Last question. How do you manage to stay in such good shape?
A: I go to the gym. I have to stay in shape, otherwise, I won’t be able to do what I’m doing right now. I go with my friend: yesterday we ran in the park and today I worked out.
Q: Are you going to run in Moscow parks too?
A: It is a good idea. Running at my age is hard, but necessary, to recharge my batteries, to get myself a boost. I would advise everyone to do some sport activities. The main goal for majority of people is work. We are ready to die at work. But the rich enjoy sports using our money! It’s absolutely great to run in the park and look at birds, instead of sitting in front of the TV at home on the couch. Go to the gym, exercise, or just take a walk!
Comment by the Saker: first, I want to say that it is a big joy for me to see one of my favorite composers, musicians and singers speak up on behalf or Russia and, even more so, on behalf of common sense. Especially at a time when Russian singers like Boris Grebenshchikov and Iuri Sevchuk display a total lack of moral compass or care and spend all their time either bashing Putin (Sevchuk) or partying with the worst russophobic scum like Saakashvili (Grebenshchikov). I wrote about this disgraceful behavior here. As for western singers, let’s not even go there. They are more concerned with transgender toilets or banning firearms then about an openly Nazi regime in the Ukraine (or in Israel, for that matter). Generally, I think that artists should stay out of politics because being a good artist does not necessarily qualify you to comment on issues where you have no expertise in whatsoever. Roger Waters, however, is unique in that 1) he does have the courage to go against the hyper-politically-correct fad of the day and that 2) he has always looked at social, civilizational and political issues, which brings him very close the the Russian tradition of poets and authors being the “conscience of the nation”.
The Ukronazis are, of course, absolutely furious and they have immediately declared that Waters is a “criminal”. See here for more details on the latest Ukronazi hysterics. The original Ukie page is here: https://myrotvorets.center/criminal/uoters-rodzher/ (with some Ukropop music with Nazi slogans to boot!).
It is good to see that honest men still exit.