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Roger Waters to Caetano Veloso: ‘I implore you not to proceed with your engagement in Tel Aviv’

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Legendary Brazilian artists and political activists Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil are scheduled to perform to an already sold out crowd in Tel Aviv on July 28.  Brazilian and international BDS activists have implored the artists to cancel their performance. Roger Waters wrote Veloso with such a request and Veloso wrote Rogers back, explaining “my heart is strongly against the arrogant right position of the Israeli government. I hate the occupation policy, the inhuman decisions that Israel took in what Netanyahu tells us is self-defense. And I think most Israelis who are interested in our music tends to react in a similar way to the politics of his country”, yet refusing to cancel the show.

The following is Waters response. 

Dear Caetano,

Thank you for taking the time to reply to my letter. Dialogue is truly important. I will respond to the points you have raised. I fear you may be viewing Israeli politics through rose tinted spectacles. The fact is that for the many decades, since the Nakba, (catastrophe, dispossession of the Palestinian people) in 1948, Israel’s colonialist and racist policies have devastated the lives of millions of Palestinians.

 Caetano Veloso

Caetano Veloso

The BDS movement, which I am asking you to join, is a global movement that demands Palestinian freedom, justice, and equality. It is growing rapidly because of increased international awareness of the oppression the Palestinians have had to endure these last 67 years. Netanyahu’s current extreme right­wing regime is just the latest government perpetrating cruel acts of injustice and colonization. But this is not just a right wing problem.

It was, in fact, the left­wing Labor party that founded the illegal settlement program and also failed to end the occupation of Palestinian land and make peace.

In your letter you say that Jean­Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir believed in Israel before they died. That maybe so, but that was then and, maybe then, they didn’t know about or understand the brutality of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands and subjugation of its people. But, I do know this, the wine and coffee splattered floorboards of the Café Flores and Les Deux Magots would today reverberate with the sound of Jean­Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir turning in their graves to hear their names taken in vain and nailed to the mast of the occupation and oppression of the Palestinian people.

You mention Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, he is among those embracing BDS, as he has observed Israel’s actions and has deep empathy for The Palestinian People. There is, as he noted to you, apartheid in the occupied territories that is just as definite and dehumanizing as it was in apartheid South Africa when the infamous and racist pass laws were in place. As in South Africa, Palestinians and their legal rights are defined by their racial and religious background. Can you imagine such a thing in Brazil or England or the USA or Holland or Chile, or? No. Why not?
Because it is unacceptable, that’s why not.

Caetano, if I may pose a question, why would you not reject complicity with such injustice now, just as surely as you would have rejected white racism against South Africa’s black population back in the eighties? Your letter suggests you believe your upcoming gig in Tel Aviv can help change Israeli policy. I would suggest this is a naïve proposition. Sadly, it is not just the Israeli government that needs a change of heart. Polls indicate that a staggering 95% of the Jewish Israeli public supported the 2014 bombing of Gaza,(561 dead children), 75% do not support a Palestinian state based on the long­ negotiated ’67 borders, and 47% believe Palestinians citizens of Israel should be stripped of their citizenship.

No, Caetano, playing a gig in Tel Aviv will not move the Israeli government or the majority of the Israeli people one jot, but it will be seen as you giving tacit approval to the status quo. Your presence there will be used as propaganda by the right and will provide cover and moral support for the Israeli government’s outrageously racist and illegal policies.

It is a dilemma I know, but, if you really wish to influence the Israeli government, you will join us on the BDS picket line. We are having a powerful effect, as we can see from their reaction, the bullies coming out in full force to try to crush the voices of dissent and silence us.

We will not be silenced, we are strong, and together we can help free not just the Palestinian people from the yoke of Israeli oppression, but also the Israeli people from the oppression of their own exceptionalism and dogma, which is deadly to both peoples.

I implore you not to proceed with your engagement in Tel Aviv, instead take the opportunity to visit Gaza and the West Bank and see for yourself what Sartre and de Beauvoir never lived to see. I believe your resolve to perform in Tel Aviv will dissolve in a sea of tears and regret.

Caetano, I do not know you, we have never met, but, I believe you mean well and I bear you no ill will. If you go to Tel Aviv in spite of our heartfelt entreaties, and if you visit Gaza or the occupied territories, you may well experience an epiphany. If you do, please reach out to us, all of us, not just in the Palestinian and Jewish communities, but all of us in solidarity in Brazil and elsewhere, all of us in BDS all over the world working for justice and equal rights in the Holy Land We will embrace you.

I thank you again for joining this conversation. Please go and see things for yourself, but without performing there, without crossing the Palestinian boycott picket line. Maybe UNWRA can help, they certainly helped me when I was looking for the reality. Go and see for yourself, you will not have to use your imagination. The reality is devastating beyond anything you could possibly imagine.

Obrigado,

Your colleague,

Roger Waters

Thanks to Ofer Neiman

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Roger Waters
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15 Responses

  1. WH
    WH
    July 3, 2015, 11:50 am

    Waters really has a rare combination of eloquence and sincerity.

  2. JLewisDickerson
    JLewisDickerson
    July 3, 2015, 3:27 pm

    RE: Veloso wrote Rogers back, explaining “my heart is strongly against the arrogant right position of the Israeli government. I hate the occupation policy, the inhuman decisions that Israel took in what Netanyahu tells us is self-defense. And I think most Israelis who are interested in our music tends to react in a similar way to the politics of his country”, yet refusing to cancel the show.

    A MIDSUMMER EVENING’S MUSICAL INTERLUDE, proudly brought to you by the purveyors of new Über-Xtreme Ziocaine™ Ultra CR (Controlled Release) Transdermal Patch: Let The Good Times Roll!

    :

    If I had a mind to
    I wouldn’t want to think like you
    And if I had time to
    I wouldn’t want to talk to you

    I don’t care
    What you do
    I wouldn’t want to be like you

    If I was high class
    I wouldn’t need a buck to pass
    And if I was a fall guy
    I wouldn’t need no alibi

    I don’t care
    What you do
    I wouldn’t want to be like you

    Back on the bottom line
    Diggin’ for a lousy dime
    If I hit a mother lode
    I’d cover anything that showed

    I don’t care
    What you do
    I wouldn’t want to be like you

    ■ VIDEO: The Alan Parson Project – I Wouldn’t Want To Be Like You

    • JLewisDickerson
      JLewisDickerson
      July 3, 2015, 3:42 pm

      P.S. Caetano Veloso apparently lacks the courage of his convictions!

      • IDIOM: To have the courage of your convictions

      Idiom Definitions for ‘To have the courage of your convictions’

      If you have the courage of your convictions, you are brave enough to do what you feel is right, despite any pressure for you to do something different.

      SOURCE – http://www.usingenglish.com/reference/idioms/to+have+the+courage+of+your+convictions.html

      • JLewisDickerson
        JLewisDickerson
        July 3, 2015, 3:47 pm

        P.P.S. “I Only Ask Of God”

        I only ask of God
        He won’t let me be indifferent to the suffering
        That the very dried up death doesn’t find me
        Empty and without having given my everything

        I only ask of God
        He won’t let me be indifferent to the wars
        It is a big monster which treads hard
        On the poor innocence of people
        It is a big monster which treads hard
        On the poor innocence of people . . .

        ■ VIDEO: I Only Ask Of God (Video Official) – Outlandish “Con Letra”

        LYRICS – http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/outlandish/ionlyaskofgod.html

        Outlandish
        From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

        [EXCERPT] Outlandish is a hip-hop music group based in Denmark. Formed in 1997, it consists of Isam Bachiri (born in Denmark and of Moroccan background), Waqas Ali Qadri (born in Denmark and of Pakistani background), and Lenny Martinez (born in Honduras and of Cuban and Honduran descent). All three members are religious, with Isam and Waqas being Muslims and Lenny being Catholic. . .

        SOURCE – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Outlandish

        P.P.P.S. VIDEO: ■ Solo le Pido a Dios (I Only Ask Of God) – Gabriel Meyer Halevy (an Argentine-Israeli musician) – The Human Project

        Gabriel Meyer Halevy – http://www.gabrielmeyerhalevy.com/en/home

        Gabriel Meyer Halevy | Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/gabrielmeyerhalevy

        The Human Project – http://www.thehumanproject.us/

        The Human Project | Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/thehumanprojectuk

  3. JLewisDickerson
    JLewisDickerson
    July 3, 2015, 3:37 pm
  4. Citizen
    Citizen
    July 3, 2015, 10:59 pm

    Roger Waters is an outstanding human. We will see if Mr. Veloso has any courage, yes?

  5. catporn
    catporn
    July 4, 2015, 7:04 am

    Roger Waters lyrics and music have been an inspiration to me for close to 40 years, I am so proud that the sentiment and courage of his thought provoking words have transcended his music into real world action.
    Mr Veloso take a look, take the final cut.

    • just
      just
      July 4, 2015, 7:47 am

      +1, catporn.

      Caetano Emanuel Viana Telles Veloso and Gilberto Passos Gil Moreira should know better.

      Don’t go to TA, don’t play for the 95%, Caetano and Gil. Don’t do this PEP thing. If you don’t want to waste your tickets, go to Gaza and the West Bank and give Israel a miss. As Roger said:

      “I implore you not to proceed with your engagement in Tel Aviv, instead take the opportunity to visit Gaza and the West Bank and see for yourself what Sartre and de Beauvoir never lived to see. I believe your resolve to perform in Tel Aviv will dissolve in a sea of tears and regret.”

      Sing a song there. Give these people a sense of solidarity. Deny Israel the undeserved gift.

  6. eusebio
    eusebio
    July 4, 2015, 9:50 am

    Human rights belong to all human peace and stability in World

  7. Ana
    Ana
    July 4, 2015, 11:24 am

    Dear Roger Waters

    Thank you very much for all you’re doing. People like you keep the flame alive.
    I’m Brazilian and I want you to know that Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil are being constantly receiving comments on their Facebook accounts trying to refrain him to perform.

    I have a blog I did publish your explanation when you joined BDS: http://hellaheaven-ana.blogspot.com.br/search?q=roger+waters
    It was when I did read that Rolling Stones were going to perform in Israel that I found it.

    I don’t believe Caetano or Gil will cancel.
    It is disappointing but the two musicians are not and never have been committed with human rights or anything related to justice.
    It seems they do but… no. They don’t. Caetano Veloso’s behavior as far as this gig is concerned is showing who he really is and every time he makes a statement about it the worst of his character appears.

    I’ll give up going to Caetano Veloso’s FB page – my Facebook account was blocked in his page because during the last Brazilian elections I wrote some comments about his demeanor so I have toI use another account.

    It’s pretty clear for me that he’ll not cancel. It’s useless and he is showing a side that is new for me: hypocrisy. But maybe it is just me and some others.

    Just be sure that he neither Gil don’t represent the vast majority of Brazilians.
    Most Brazilians are against Israel.
    We are all Palestinians!
    Thank you very much for this letter. Using Sartre’s name in this context is totally absurd. They didn’t answer Desmond Tutu.
    What else can we think of people like this?
    Well, I asked him to say before the show in Tel-Aviv that there are numerous Brazilians who said:
    NOT IN MY NAME!

  8. DaBakr
    DaBakr
    July 5, 2015, 10:39 pm

    Poor Roger. Like a desperate preacher man beseeching the sinner to repent before he is cast off into the fires of hell. how many times have peopled to endure that crap before they cease being pestered and hectored. he stated what he said was his true feelings and ideas on the matter [i/p] and beds can’t except it.

    • eljay
      eljay
      July 21, 2015, 9:26 am

      || DaBakr: Poor Roger. Like a desperate preacher man beseeching the sinner to repent before he is cast off into the fires of hell. how many times have peopled to endure that crap before they cease being pestered and hectored. ||

      It’s interesting – but not surprising – that a Zio-supremacist like you would view the pursuit of justice, accountability and equality as something ugly and offensive rather than as something just and moral.

      If Roger Waters were beseeching frat boys not to enter a house and join in the gang rape of the young women held captive within, Zio-supremacists would be the guys shouting him down while encouraging the jocks to hurry on it because it’s their gawd-given right to have a good time.

      Zio-supremacists are truly hateful and immoral people.

  9. druid
    druid
    July 7, 2015, 4:20 pm

    At least he strives to do what’s right!

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