Roger Waters Upcoming Shows in Poland Canceled After Remarks About Ukraine War
Pink Floyd co-founder Roger Waters has never been one to hide his political thoughts. In his current "This Is Not a Drill" solo tour, a message appears on the screens before the show even begins, declaring, “If you’re one of those ‘I love Pink Floyd, but I can’t stand Roger’s politics’ people, you might do well to fuck off to the bar right now. Thank you, and please enjoy the show.”
But now, the Brit rock legend's controversial remarks about the ongoing conflict in Ukraine waged by Russia have had tangible consequences, resulting in the cancelation of his upcoming shows in Poland in April 2023.
It all stems from an open letter Waters published to his website in early September, addressed to Ukraine's First Lady Olena Zelenska, in which he 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' letter in a post on Twitter on September 6, advising Waters 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.
CNN reports that Live Nation Poland confirms the show cancelations but the promoter has so far given no explanation. However, Waters responded in a Facebook statement on Sunday to dispel rumors he canceled the shows himself.
In a post directed at The Guardian and the Gazeta Krakowska newspaper in Poland who had both printed that Waters nixed the shows, the musician stated, "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."
Waters continued, "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."