Roger Waters Reacts to Cancellation of His Poland Shows Over Ukraine War Comments
Over the weekend, it was revealed that Roger Waters' shows in Poland scheduled for next year had been cancelled, but Waters himself has taken to social media to assure fans that it was not of his doing.
Waters has never shied from voicing his political views, and an open letter he posted to his website in early September appears to have played a role in the cancellation. In it, he addressed Ukraine's First Lady Olena Zelenska and put blame on what he called Ukraine's “extreme nationalists [that] have set your country on the path to this disastrous war."
As well, Waters admonished the West, particularly the U.S., of supplying Ukraine with military weapons and hit back at an interview Zelenska did with the BBC in which she's quoted as saying, “If support for Ukraine is strong, the crisis will be shorter.”
Waters responded in his open letter, stating, "If by 'support for Ukraine' you mean the West continuing to supply arms to the Kiev government’s armies, I fear you may be tragically mistaken. Throwing fuel, in the form of armaments, into a fire fight, has never worked to shorten a war in the past, and it won’t work now."
Zelenska responded to Waters' posting in a tweet on Sept. 6, advising the musician to ask the Russian Federation for peace.
The letter also set off Krakow city councillor Łukasz Wantuch who had instructed his constituents to boycott Waters' shows in Poland next year and had been behind a motion to declare Waters a "persona non grata." It was set to be voted on by the council on September 28, according to the BBC.
No explanation was initially given for the cancellation, and two papers had stated that Waters had called off the dates. Seeking to clarify that this was not the case, Waters shared a message to both papers online. In it, he declared that neither he or his management had cancelled the shows, though he acknowledged Wantuch's attempt to get the public to boycott that shows and declare him "persona non grata" in the country.
"It is true that a town councillor in Krakow, a Mr Łukasz Wantuch has threatened to hold a meeting asking the council to declare me 'Persona non grata' because of my public efforts to encourage all involved in the disastrous war in Ukraine, especially the governments of the USA and Russia, to work towards a negotiated peace, rather than escalate matters towards a bitter end that could be nuclear war and the end of all life on this planet," stated Waters.
"Not withstanding that this chap Łukasz Wantuch seems to know nothing of my history of working, all my life, at some personal cost, in the service of human rights, he, in an article in a local newspaper urged the good people of Krakow not to buy tickets to my show. Not very democratic sir?," added the singer.
He concluded, "If Mr Łukasz Wantuch achieves his aim, and my forthcoming concerts in Krakow are cancelled, it will be a sad loss for me, because I have been looking forward to sharing my message of love with the people of Poland, something I have been doing on many tours over a career that has lasted in excess of fifty years. And also, regrettably, it will deny the people of Krakow the opportunity to see my current show, “This Is Not A Drill,” which is an important addition to a lifetime's body of work. His draconian censoring of my work will deny them the opportunity to make up their own minds."