Roger Waters Pens Open Letter to Putin After His Poland Concerts Are Canceled

The musician's shows in Krakow were scrapped after he blamed Ukraine for the war with Russia

Roger Waters performs during the This is Not a Drill tour at the Chase Center in San Francisco, Calif., on Friday, Sept. 23, 2022.
Roger Waters performs during the "This Is Not a Drill" tour at the Chase Center in San Francisco on Sept. 23, 2022.
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Earlier this week, venues in Krakow, Poland canceled planned Roger Waters concerts after the former Pink Floyd member made some controversial comments blaming the Ukrainian government for Russia’s invasion of their country.

In response to the scrapped shows, the musician penned a message on social media claiming a councilor in Krakow had “threatened to hold a meeting asking the council to declare me ‘Persona non grata’ because 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.”

Now, however, it seems he’s doing damage control. On Monday, Waters shared an open letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin, urging him to end the war with Ukraine, perhaps in an attempt to clarify his position on the situation.

“Firstly, would you like to see an end to this war? If you were to reply and say, ‘Yes please.’ That would immediately make things a lot easier,” he wrote on Facebook. “If you were to come out and say, ‘Also the Russian Federation has no further territorial interest beyond the security of the Russian speaking populations of The Crimea, Donetsk and Lubansk.’ That would help too. I say this because, I know some people who think you want to overrun the whole of Europe, starting with Poland and the rest of the Baltic states. If you do, fuck you, and we might as well all stop playing the desperately dangerous game of nuclear chicken that the hawks on both sides of the Atlantic seem so comfortable with, and have at it. Yup, just blow each other and the world to smithereens. The problem is, I have kids and grandkids, and so do most of my brothers and sisters all over the world and none of us would relish that outcome. So, please Mr Putin indulge me, and make us that assurance.”

“Alright back to the table, if I’ve read your previous speeches correctly, you would like to negotiate a state of neutrality for a sovereign neighboring Ukraine? Is that correct?” Waters continued. “Assuming such a peace could be negotiated it would have to include an absolutely binding agreement not to invade anyone ever again. I know, I know, the USA and NATO invade other sovereign countries at the drop of a hat, or for a few barrels of oil, but that doesn’t mean you should, your invasion of Ukraine took me completely by surprise, it was a heinous war of aggression, provoked or not.”

First of all, the idea that Putin’s invasion of Ukraine was somehow “provoked” is outrageous, and so is the idea that a dictator will read a note from an aging rock star who fancies himself some sort of geopolitical mastermind and have a change of heart. Do we really think someone who would rather draft farmers to fight — threatening his own country’s crops and thus its economy and its citizens’ access to food — than admit he made a huge mistake invading Ukraine is going to suddenly decide to stop committing war crimes simply because the guy who wrote “Another Brick in the Wall” asked him to?

Waters has to know that there’s no way Putin will be moved by his letter. It’s mostly likely just an attempt to salvage the remainder of his tour dates.

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