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PACBI-Open Letter to Roger Waters


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March 7, 2006

Open Letter to Roger Waters

Mr. Roger Waters
31 Ruvigny Gardens
London SW15 1JR, England

7 March 2006

Dear Mr. Waters,

The Palestinian arts community received in disbelief the news of your upcoming performance in Tel Aviv in June, at a time when Israel continues unabated with its colonial and apartheid designs to further dispossess, oppress and ultimately ethnically cleanse Palestinians from their homeland. We strongly urge you to cancel your plans to perform in Israel until the time comes when it ends its illegal occupation of Palestinian territory and respects the relevant precepts of international law concerning Palestinian rights to freedom, self-determination and equality.

Upon learning of your planned tour, Palestinian as well as several international artists asked in shock: How can the artist whose name around the world was for many years associated with breaking walls of injustice be in any way complicit with the monstrosity of Israels Wall, declared illegal by the International Court of Justice at the Hague? Not too long ago, you lent your good name to the War on Wants effort to collect signatures of public figures against Israels Wall. At the time, you rightly [url=http://www.waronwant.org/?lid=8424]stated[/url] The poverty inflicted by the wall has been devastating for Palestinians. It has kept children from their schools, the sick from proper medical care and continues to destroy the Palestinian economy. I fully support War on Wants campaign, and hope that as many people as possible sign the wall as a strong message to the UK government that immediate action is essential.

This same Wall has grown substantially since. It now divides many more Palestinians from their livelihoods and vital health and educational services. The support it garners in Israeli society has also grown close to 90% of all Israeli Jews support the Wall despite its devastating repercussions on Palestinians under occupation.

Furthermore, as you may know, Palestinian civil society has almost unanimously called upon international civil society to engage in acts and campaigns of boycott, divestment and sanctions [url=http://www.pacbi.org/boycott_news_more.php?id=66_0_1_10_M11](BDS)[/url] against Israel until it fully complies with international law and recognizes the fundamental human rights of the people of Palestine. The Church of England, the US Presbyterian Church, a group of top British architects, among many other groups and institutions in the West, have all heeded the Palestinian distress call and considered applying effective pressure on Israel to promote peace and justice in our troubled land. Is it too much, then, to expect conscientious international artists to uphold the values of freedom, equality and justice for all?

Ironically, when you were invited last year to perform in the Palestine International Festival 2005, the theme of that festival was Another BREAK in the Wall! The following lyrics for a song which was to be performed by school children were inspired by your timeless song:

We dont need no occupation
We dont need no racist wall
No more siege and no more curfews
Soldiers leave us kids alone
Hey! Soldiers! Leave us kids alone!
All in all youre just another brick in the wall
All in all weve just made another BREAK in the wall

These words still express our collective view of the Wall, of our oppressors, and are still inspired by you. Do they still mean the same to you?

We appeal to your moral compass, your record of standing up for principles of human dignity and equality. And we sincerely hope that you shall be another brick in the bridge to liberty and justice, not another concrete slab in Israels Wall of shame.


Truly,

The Undersigned:



Arts, Cultural and Civil Society Organizations:

Edward Said National Conservatory of Music (ESNCM) Jerusalem, Palestine
Forum of Music Conservatories in the Arab World (Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, Tunis, Morocco and Palestine)
Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO) umbrella coalition of approx. 100 Palestinian NGOs in the Occupied Palestinian Territory Ramallah, Palestine
Yabous Productions Jerusalem, Palestine
Popular Art Centre Al-Bireh, Palestine
El-Funoun dance group Al-Bireh, Palestine
League of Palestinian Artists Ramallah, Palestine
Palestinian Association for Contemporary Art (PACA) Ramallah, Palestine
Theatre Day Productions Palestine
Al-Rowwad Cultural and Theatre Training Center Aida Refugee Camp, Palestine
Al Urmawi Center for Mashreq Music Jerusalem, Palestine
Oriental Music Ensemble Palestine
Sakakini Cultural Center Ramallah, Palestine
Yafa Cultural Centre Balata Refugee Camp, Palestine
Tyre Festival Tyre, Lebanon
Ittijah Union of Arab Community-based Organizations Haifa, Israel
BADIL Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights Bethlehem, Palestine
Palestine Right of Return Coalition (Palestine, Europe, North America, Arab host countries)
The Committee for Defence of the Palestinian Refugee Rights
Alternative Tourism Group Bethlehem, Palestine
Golan for Development Golan Heights, Syria
The East Jerusalem YMCA-YWCA Joint Advocacy Initiative Beit Sahour, Palestine
Defense for Children International-Palestine Palestine
Women's Center for Legal Aid and Counseling (WCLAC) Jerusalem, Palestine
Palestinian Counseling Center (PCC) Jerusalem, Palestine
Project Care Jerusalem, Palestine
Women's Coalition for Palestine London, UK
Arab Media Watch London, UK
Palestinian Council for Justice and Peace Jerusalem, Palestine
Nidal center for Community development Jerusalem, Palestine
Ashtar Theatre Ramallah, Palestine

Artists and Intellectuals: (partial list tens more on record)

The Rt. Rev. Riah Abu El-Assal (Anglican Bishop of Jerusalem) Jerusalem, Palestine
Marcel Khalife (Composer) Lebanon/France
Hanan Ashrawi (Member of the Palestinian Legislative Council) Jerusalem, Palestine
Peter Herbert (Contrabassist) Vienna, Austria
Suhail Khoury (Musician, General Director of ESNCM) Jerusalem, Palestine
Khaled Jubran (Musician) Jerusalem, Palestine
Don Bustany (Radio Host, Co-creator of American Top 40) USA
Salwa Tabri (Director, Jerusalem Choir) Jerusalem, Palestine
Gabi Baramki (President, Palestinian Council for Justice and Peace) Jerusalem, Palestine
Rania Elias-Khoury (Director, Yabous Productions) Jerusalem, Palestine
Iman Hammouri (Director, Popular Art Centre) Al-Bireh, Palestine
Adila Laidi-Hanieh (Lecturer, Birzeit University) Birzeit, Palestine
Sliman Mansour (Visual Artist) Jerusalem, Palestine
Rania El Yousef (Cultural Programs Coordinator, Yabous Productions) Jerusalem, Palestine
Jan Willems (Artistic Director Theatre Day Productions) Palestine
Juliette S. Touma (Human Rights Advocate) Jerusalem, Palestine
Fadya Salfiti (Educational Development Expert) Jerusalem, Palestine
Mohammad Yacoub (Administrator, ESNCM) Ramallah, Palestine
Ragheda Andoni Isaac (Cultural Development Expert) Jerusalem, Palestine
Adah Kay (Professor) Palestine
Annemarie Jacir (Filmmaker) Ramallah, Palestine
Suzy Salamy (Filmmaker) New York, USA
Jeff Sacks (Professor, Columbia University) New York, USA
Tariq Shadid (Director, The Musical Intifadah [url=http://www.docjazz.com)]www.docjazz.com)[/url]

Faten Farhat (Director, Sakakini Cultural Center) Ramallah, Palestine
Lina Jarad (Advising Assistant, AMIDEAST) Ramallah, Palestine
Siham Rashid (Director of Public Relations, Palestinian Counseling Center-PCC) Jerusalem, Palestine
Nancy Harb Almendras (Blogger) Wiesbaden, Germany
Greta Berlin (Human Rights Activist) Los Angeles, USA
Anne Selden Annab (Poet) Pennsylvania, USA
Rana Bishara (Development Expert) Jerusalem, Palestine

MOROCCAN ARTS UNIONS IN SOLIDARITY:

Moroccan Writers Union Morocco
National Union of Theater Professionals Morocco
Moroccan Syndicate for Music Professions Morocco
National Union for Production and Arts Distribution Morocco
Moroccan Chamber of Film Producers Morocco
Chamber of Video Film Producers and Distributors Morocco
Moroccan Union of Television Directors Morocco
Union of Film Writers, Directors and Producers Morocco
Moroccan Association for Visual Arts Morocco
Association of Cinema Critics Morocco
Association of Radio and TV Professionals Morocco
Moroccan Association for Photographic Art Morocco

Posted on 15-03-2006


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