FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Palestinian Rock vs Euro Thrash: Roger Waters vs Bono 

Photo Source wonker | CC BY 2.0

“Pigs rule the world”

– The key message in Roger Waters’ 2018 European Tour. 

“I love [the EU elite]”

– The key part of a 2014 sycophantic speech Bono gave to Europe’s Center Right establishment (the folks who gave Europe war and austerity).

Listening to the politics of Roger Waters is rock and roll. The Pink Floyd genius is now the most prominent voice of the BDS movement that is defending Palestinian rights. At the moment, it feels like Waters is the only white man taking on the state of Israel (not forgetting the brilliance of Finkelstein). Indeed, considering the fact that Israel is the heart of Western geopolitics–the true target of Waters’ activism is the Western Empire itself. And he knows it.

In contrast, when listening to Bono pontificate, we hear bombers flying overhead. While Waters was in St. Petersburg this September, on tour, Bono was to be found in Paris, also on tour, but meeting up with the French President, Emmanuel Macron, as well. The U2 mediocrity claimed afterwards that he and “the bomber of Syria” were talking about Africa. It was the continuation of a discussion Bono began years ago with “the bombers of Iraq”–Bill Clinton, Tony Blair and George W. Bush.

Waters and Bono come from two different cultures: Waters from the 1960s and Bono from the 1980s. Pink Floyd’s debut album was released in 1967, while U2’s debut album saw the light in 1980. This is significant, because the bandleaders of both groups appear to have absorbed the politics of their formative years. Revolution in the case of Waters, and counterrevolution in the case of Bono. And the words of both today, respectively, continue to give expression to progress on the one hand, and regress on the other.

The culture wars between the 1960s and 1980s, between the culture of Che Guevara and the culture of Ronald Reagan, never went away. Beneath the current battle between populism and its elite critics, the undercurrents of class, imperialism and anti-imperialism are as strong as ever. And even millionaire musicians are pulled one way or the other.

In an interview with RT, in St. Petersburg, Roger Waters summed up in one word the culture of Che Guevara (the anti-imperialist culture) which he is perpetuating. That word is “empathy”. The ability to connect with another’s pain or suffering. And the will to fight to end this pain or suffering, basically sums up the attitude of Che and the “1960s”.

This attempt to understand the weak or vulnerable “other” motivates Waters’ support of the Palestinians today. In fact, “empathy” forces him to open up to Russia. In his RT interview, he tells us that during his concerts–in response to the anti-Russian psy-ops which distorts the West today–he asks his audience: “do you know that Russia sacrificed twenty million of its people, so that you can be free of Nazism?”

Bono doesn’t ask this question. Instead, during his current live shows, he wraps himself up in the flag of power. And shamelessly declares his love of the Empire that’s attacking Russia, with sanctions and up close coups, and war games. The flag is that of the European Union. And the Empire is the iron fist that hides behind that flag: NATO.

Unlike Waters–who wants to connect with the biggest open prison in the world: Gaza–Bono goes out of his way to connect with the corporatist project that is the EU. Forget the weak and vulnerable, within the EU, being bombed by austerity, and being dragged into war after war – Bono’s main concern is defending the flag of the super state.

In a Europe dominated by corporations and their lobbyists: Bono’s words and actions are those of an ultra elitist. Listen to his EU-speak: ‘Well, U2 is kicking off its tour in Berlin this week, and we’ve just had one of our more provocative ideas: during the show we’re going to wave a big, bright, blue EU flag…..to some of us it has become a radical act.’

Bono ends this piece in a German newspaper with the usual delusion: ‘I feel privileged to have witnessed the longest stretch of peace and prosperity ever on the European continent.’

The fact that the EU itself has ended whatever “peace and prosperity” there was in Europe, completely undermines Bono’s sinister “blindness”. By imposing neoliberalism, bailouts, austerity and NATO’s wars (Libya, Syria, Ukraine and Russia) upon Europe, the EU has delegitimized itself. Is it therefore right for Bono to defend this state of affairs, or is it radically right wing?

In his interview with RT, Roger Waters says that there’s always a right and a wrong thing to do. In the context of Palestine, the boycott of Israel is the right thing to do. It is so because the boycott stands on the shoulders of history. Waters points to the 1948 declaration of universal human rights–which itself rests on every slave revolt in the past. Anything which aids this trajectory of humanity is righteousness for itself.

There’s no greater slave revolt today, than that of the Palestinian resistance to Israeli occupation. In fact it’s the lynchpin to the struggle for global justice. Today’s great crime against humanity is Western warmongering in the Middle East (Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen). And the basis for this is the Western war against Palestine, which began in 1917. In short, the Western Empire today revolves around the repression of Palestine.

This, of course, means that Israel is not alone. Without the support of the USA and EU, Israel wouldn’t last a day. Israel works for the West. Therefore, to boycott Israel is to boycott the West and its reign of terror. This is were Bono comes in. His concern is not Africa but Western weakness. And his job is to prop it up.

Bono correctly discerns the weakness of the EU today. The European people are actually boycotting it. Their votes are saying no to the idea of ‘the EU über alles’. They don’t want another Roman Empire, another Charlemagne, another Holy Roman Empire, another Pax Romana in the Mediterranean Sea. Indeed, they don’t want another Third Reich. They don’t want to make Europe Great Again. But Bono does.

And Roger Waters doesn’t. He places humanity before the West. And is willing to abandon the West in order to achieve a better world. His music, therefore, is a universal act of resistance, whereas Bono’s is a provincial act of imperialism. By holding up the flag of the EU, Bono is flying the flag of Israel and burning the flag of Palestine. In the language of Waters then: Bono is a Pig.

We, on the other hand, who boycott Israel and the EU are human. We’re children of the 60s. We’re sticks of dynamite in the Wall.

 

More articles by:

Aidan O’Brien lives in Dublin, Ireland.

August 13, 2020
David Correia, Justin Bendell, and Ernesto Longa
Nine Mile Ride: Why Police Reform Always Results in More Police Violence, Not Less
Vijay Prashad
Why a Growing Force in Brazil Is Charging That President Jair Bolsonaro Has Committed Crimes Against Humanity
Brett Wilkins
Teaching Torture: The Death and Legacy of Dan Mitrione
Joseph Scalia III
Yellowstone Imperiled by Compromise
Binoy Kampmark
Don’t Stigmatise the Nuke! Opponents of the Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty
Margot Rathke
The Stimulus Deal Should Include Free College
Thomas Knapp
America Doesn’t Have Real Presidential Debates, But It Should
George Ochenski
Time to Face – and Plan for – Our Very Different Future
Ted Rall
Joe Biden’s Vice Presidential Pick is … ZZZZZ
Purusottam Thakur
‘If We Don’t Work, Who’ll Produce the Harvest?’
Robert Dreyfuss
October Surprise: Will War with Iran Be Trump’s Election Eve Shocker?
Gary Leupp
The RCP, Fascism, and Chairman Bob’s Endorsement of Biden for President
James Haught
The Pandemic Disproves God
Robert Koehler
Election Theft and the Reluctant Democracy
August 12, 2020
Melvin Goodman
Trump’s War On Arms Control and Disarmament
P. Sainath
“We Didn’t Bleed Him Enough”: When Normal is the Problem
Riva Enteen
Kamala Harris? Really? Desperate Times, Desperate Measures
Kenneth Surin
The Decrepit UK Political System
Robert Hunziker
Freakish Arctic Fires Alarmingly Intensify
Ramzy Baroud
The Likud Conspiracy: Israel in the Throes of a Major Political Crisis
Sam Pizzigati
Within Health Care USA, Risk and Reward Have Never Been More Out of Kilter
John Perry
The US Contracts Out Its Regime Change Operation in Nicaragua
Binoy Kampmark
Selective Maritime Rules: The United States, Diego Garcia and International Law
Manuel García, Jr.
The Improbability of CO2 Removal From the Atmosphere
Khury Petersen-Smith
The Road to Portland: The Two Decades of ‘Homeland Security’
Raouf Halaby
Teaching Palestinian Children to Love Beethoven, Bizet, and Mozart is a Threat to a Depraved Israeli Society
Jeff Mackler
Which Way for Today’s Mass Radicalization? Capitalism’s Impending Catastrophe…or a Socialist Future
Tom Engelhardt
It Could Have Been Different
Stephen Cooper
Santa Davis and the “Stalag 17” Riddim
August 11, 2020
Richard D. Wolff
Why Capitalism is in Constant Conflict With Democracy
Paul Street
Defund Fascism, Blue and Orange
Richard C. Gross
Americans Scorned
Andrew Levine
Trump and Biden, Two Ignoble Minds Here O’erthrown
Patrick Cockburn
The Rise of Nationalism Has Led to the Increased Repression of Minorities
Sonali Kolhatkar
Trump’s Presidency is a Death Cult
Colin Todhunter
Pushing GMO Crops into India: Experts Debunk High-Level Claims of Bt Cotton Success
Valerie Croft
How Indigenous Peoples are Using Ancestral Organizing Practices to Fight Mining Corporations and Covid-19
David Rovics
Tear Gas Ted Has a Tantrum in Portland
Dean Baker
There is No Evidence That Generous Unemployment Benefits are Making It Difficult to Find Workers
Robert Fantina
War on Truth: How Kashmir Struggles for Freedom of Press
Dave Lindorff
Trump Launches Attack on Social Security and Medicare
Elizabeth Schmidt
COVID-19 Poses a Huge Threat to Stability in Africa
Parth M.N.
Coping With a Deadly Virus, a Social One, Too
Thomas Knapp
The “Election Interference” Fearmongers Think You’re Stupid
Binoy Kampmark
Mealy-Mouthed Universities: Academic Freedom and the Pavlou Problem Down Under
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail