Roger Waters, founder and bassist for the legendary band Pink Floyd, reprimanded the world’s governments for failing to stand up for the human rights of Palestinians Friday in Montevideo, Uruguay, ahead of Saturday's concert.
"Do human rights extend to the indigenous people of Palestine?" Waters asked rhetorically. "Apparently not. They have no rights and the rest of the world is doing nothing to redress that appalling travesty and miscarriage of international justice," he responded.
Waters also urged people “the only ones who can persuade their governments” to organize in defense of Palestinians’ human rights.
A talk titled “Palestine and Human Rights Today,” organized by Coordinacion por Palestina (Coordination for Palestine), brought together artists, politicians, activists, students, and union members.
During the talk Waters explained his path to become an international solidarity activist, particularly engaged in the struggle to end the Israeli occupation of Palestine.
"Very soon we will upload all the photos and videos of the historic day. Thanks for so much comrade Roger!"
Water told the crowd that his first encounter with the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement was in 2005 or 2006 when he performed in Israel. “They told me they preferred if I didn’t play there because it served to whitewash the occupation,” so he canceled his show in Tel Aviv, playing instead in an ecumenical farming community.
After the concert, he visited the occupation’s refugee camps and witnessed the suffering of the Palestinian people. Since then, “I work to give the people a different narrative of what is happening in Palestine.”
Rogers also condemned the use of accusations of anti-semitism as tools to criminalize those who boycott Israel.
In Uruguay, Coordinacion por Palestina denounced pressure from the Israeli lobby to cancel the event with Waters. The Galpon theater, which had initially offered the space for the event later backtracked. Director Hector Guido argued the theater would not be used to “promote confrontation.” Despite the cancellation, organizers were able to move the event to the headquarters of the Workers’ Inter-Union Plenary (PIT-CNT).
Water also spoke of the need to defend water and warned against corporate attempts to privatize the vital resource and called on social movements, activists, and citizens to organize in order to stop the rise of far-right candidates. “To keep discontent from becoming a vote for Bolsonaro or Trump, we must organize,” Water concluded.