Roger Waters releases song citing Palestinian poet in embassy move protest
Leon Neal (AFP/File)
Pink Floyd former front man and long-time Israel critic, Roger Waters released a debut track on Tuesday entitled “Supremacy” as a vocal protest to US President Donald Trump’s controversial decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
In the song, Water recites lyrics from the poem “The Penultimate Speech of the Red Indian to the White Man”, written by Mahmoud Darwish, who is widely regarded as the Palestinian national poet. Darwish’s poetry, according to some, has come to characterize what many refer to as the “Israeli occupation” and as a figure, he is perceived as a prominent symbol of the resistance movement.
“A long time must go before our present becomes history, just like us, we will face the long march,” the song begins.
“But first, we will defend the trees we wear, we will defend the bell of the night and the hanging moon over our huts, we will defend the leaping deer and the clay of our pots,” it continues in what appears to be an apparent reference to Palestinian claims over disputed land.
On December 6th, Trump’s Jerusalem embassy move triggered diplomatic upheaval. Lauded by many in the Israeli government as a long-awaited decision and “the right thing to do,” it provoked vocal outrage amongst the Palestinian factions prompting months of ongoing backlash.
The song continues, “but soon you will erect your world on our remains, you will pave over the sacred places…”
Whilst the poem itself does not make reference to Jerusalem directly, the timing of its release and the underlying meaning behind the words of the poem imply support by Waters for the Palestinians amid recent tumultuous events.
In a decision that fanned the Palestinians flames further, Trump announced that his move will take place on May 14 to coincide with Israel’s celebration of its 70th anniversary. This day simultaneously marks what the Palestinians mourn as Nakba Day or “Day of Catastrophe.”
The status of Jerusalem is one of the thorniest issues in a peace deal between Israelis and Palestinians as it is home to the holiest site in Judaism, the Western Wall as well as the third holiest sites for Muslim, the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock. Israel claims all of Jerusalem as its capital, while the Palestinians see the eastern sector of it as their future state.
In a statement about the song Waters says, "it tells the Indian's last speech to the white man, but also talks about Darwish's beloved Palestine and its people." The song, he added, refers to "all the victims of colonialism, everywhere, always."
Waters is self-appointed spokesman of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which criticizes Israel for its policies towards the Palestinians. For years, he has discouraged musicians and artists from performing in the Jewish state, accusing Israel of “ethnic cleansing” and calling it an “apartheid regime.”
In 2016, Waters came to head with Radiohead following his calls urging the band to scrap its show in Israel however they refused to bow to pressure. New Zealand pop star Lorde however caved and cancelled her Israel tour, amid criticism from the Ministry of Culture.
The by Waters song is his latest public condemnation of Israel.
The song is performed and composed by Le Trio Joubran, a trio of Palestinian Nazareth-based brothers who play the oud, a traditional stringed instrument used in Arab music.
“After the relics are gone, where oh white master are you taking my people...and yours?” the track ends.
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Roger you are on the wrong side of History