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Legendary musicians Roger Waters, Yusuf Islam, headline concert for Palestine in London

Waters reinterprets 'Wish You Were Here' as anthem for Palestine

17:16 - 22/06/2024 Saturday
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File photo
File photo

Legendary musicians Roger Waters and Yusuf Islam, formerly Cat Stevens, performed alongside rapper Lowkey at St. Pancras Church in London at a concert Friday that was dedicated to raising awareness and solidarity for Palestine.

It featured impassioned performances and speeches, highlighting the struggles in Gaza and occupied territories.

Waters, known for his activism and poignant musical commentary, delivered a stirring rendition of "Wish You Were Here," reinterpreting the song as an anthem for Palestine.

"I'm sure many of you, like me, live on the brink of tears," Waters told the crowd. "We live on that uncomfortable edge, on the brink of tears because we feel empathy for our brothers and sisters in Gaza and the other occupied territories in Palestine. People sometimes think: 'Wish You Were Here' is a lament for a dead childhood friend of mine. Guess what? Sometimes it is, but not tonight. Tonight is for Palestine. Tonight, my song, 'Wish You Were Here' is about choices. If you think you can tell heaven from hell, you can choose one or the other on polling day, the fourth of July."

Waters used the platform to address the political climate in the UK, endorsing Andrew Feinstein as an independent candidate in Holborn and St. Pancras. He characterized Labour leader Keir Starmer as a "genocide enabler" and demanded a new moral compass in Westminster.

"To prevent the genocide enabler Keir Starmer from becoming prime minister would be a huge gift to the people of England and, in fact, to the whole of mankind," said Waters. "We are in desperate need of a new moral compass in Westminster to help guide a new Labour movement that truly represents the people through the corridors of power."


- 'It's not all dark'

For his part, Islam said he was there to add another voice for the children in Gaza.

"Because they are the ones. They are the most innocent, the most pure and they are the ones who do not deserve this," he said.

He emphasized the moral imperative to protect innocent lives. "There is a saying: Whoever murders an innocent soul, it is as if they have killed all humanity. And who is more innocent than babies and children?" he asked rhetorically.

Islam celebrated the collective efforts of those gathered at the concert. "It's not all dark, because I love. I love what's happening here tonight. It's beautiful and it's bright and there's a light," he said, praising the unity and compassion displayed by concert-goers.

He did not, however, shy away from critiquing political leaders, condemning their roles in perpetuating violence.

"We can see the smart-suited politicians lining up and ordering their men in uniform to go out and destroy our world. That's the reality, and that's what we're fighting," he said as he demanded an end to the destruction wrought by wars.


- 'Our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinian people'

Former South African politician and pro-Palestine activist Andrew Feinstein said: "Let us remember we are together, not just on the fourth of July, but for years and years after the fourth of July.

“We're going to change our politics, and we're going to change our world, and we're not going to do it by looking to any leaders. We are going to do it by looking in the mirror at ourselves, and we are going to do it by joining arms with our neighbors. We are going to do this together,” he said.

Feinstein, who served as an African National Congress Member of Parliament, drew inspiration from Nelson Mandela.

He reflected on Mandela's legacy and his unwavering commitment to equality and justice in South Africa and globally.

“We are going to create a just and equal world in which we all strive for a better life for all of us, just as my former boss, Nelson Mandela, did in South Africa and the world,” he said. “And we will never forget that after 27 years in an apartheid prison, Nelson Mandela emerged to say: ‘Our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinian people.'”

#Kareem Dennis
#Roger Waters
#Yusuf Islam
1 month ago