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      Music Legend Roger Waters vs. CNN

      Transcribed by Tamara Hansen

      On August 4, 2022, in Philadelphia rock music legend, Roger Waters of Pink Floyd, sat down with CNN journalist, Michael Smerconish, to discuss the state of international politics and mainstream news. The interview was at times heated, but Roger Waters political insights were highly educational with a clear and independent outlook on issues surrounding Palestine, Russia, and China. Rogers also addressed his upcoming “This is not a drill” tour, which is travelling throughout North America August-October 2022.

      Fire This Time is printing excerpts of the interview that we believe our readers and supporters will find thoughtful and incisive. The full uncut interview is available on Smerconish’s YouTube Channel here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iZsRj3_iDfM


      MS: So, what’s it like to tour on, we hope, on the heels of a pandemic?

      Roger Waters: Well, it’s a huge relief. I mean, we were supposed to go out in July 2020, and now we’ve gone out in July 2022. So, it was a long wait, but it feels great now. The pandemic thing is an interesting question. […] The motivations of the people who made the decisions about how to deal with the pandemic, particularly in the United States of America, were based on the one thing that everything’s based on, which is bottom line and profit and all of that, and not based upon the needs of the people, which is why there’s a million dead here. And in China, there’s about half a dozen.

      MS: But we can never trust their numbers, right? I mean, we have no idea.

      Roger Waters: Oh, bollocks. Don’t give me the whole Russian-Chinese propaganda nonsense.

      MS: You believe whatever the Chinese would tell you in terms of the death count?

      Roger Waters: I believe whatever people who are neutral will tell me about what’s going on. Where can you find news? And don’t tell me you have proper news on CNN.


      Roger Waters: I’ve only got one message, “two strangers passing in the street, by chance two passing glances meet. I am you, and what I see is me”. That is my message. And that was on Meddle, which was in 1970. Basically, my message hasn’t changed.

      I recognize your humanity, but I recognize all the Russians, and the Chinese, and the Ukrainians, and the Yemenis, and the Palestinians, and the Germans, and the French, and the Spanish, and the Ecuadorians, and the Peruvians, and the Colombians. Well done, by the way, Colombia, you’ve finally got a president who isn’t in the pocket of the United States of America businessmen, and maybe your people will start getting a fair shake. I love that. I think it’s great.


      MS: Are you an equal opportunity offender on this tour? Here’s why I ask. I remember the last tour – of course, I came and watched – very much about Trump. In the current show you’ve got a montage of war criminals, according to you, and a picture apparently of President Biden on the screen and it says, ‘Just getting started’. What’s that all about?

      Roger Waters: President Joe Biden? Well, he’s fueling the fire in the Ukraine for a start. That is a huge crime. Why won’t the United States of America encourage Zelensky or whatever his name is, the president, to negotiate? And to explain why – when he stood on the platform of ratifying the Minsk agreements, which he did when he was elected by 73% of the Ukrainian population that were left able to vote, that somebody whispered in his ear or he completely changed his mind about making peace in the Donbass and about solidifying the Minsk agreements and making peace with their Russian neighbors and obviating the need for this horrific, horrendous war.

      MS: But you’re blaming the party that got invaded. Come on, you’ve got it reversed.

      Roger Waters: Well, you know, any war, when did it start? What you need to do is look at the history and you can say, well, it started on this day. You could say it started in 2008. This war is basically about the action and reaction of NATO pushing right up to the Russian border, which they promised they wouldn’t do. When Gorbachev negotiated the withdrawal of the USSR from the whole of Eastern Europe, he said, ‘We will do this on one condition, that you don’t come one inch closer to the Russian border than the eastern borders of Germany’. And you lot – if I may include you as an American – agreed to that and said, sure.

      […] Why doesn’t the USA sue for peace now? Don’t they care about Ukrainians? Why are they prolonging this war? It could be ended tomorrow if Joe Biden stood up on his hind legs and said, ‘Let’s put a stop to this’. It would end tomorrow.


      MS: Finally, from a review of your Boston show, this is from the Forward which bills itself as Jewish, independent and nonprofit. Quote, “So, can you fully enjoy Waters’ work if you do not agree with his positions? For me,” says the author, “the answer is yes. In the concert, there was a high percentage of content, musical, visual and political where we were all on the same page as were, I’m guessing, the nearly 20,000 in attendance”. I guess that’s what it’s all about, right?

      Roger Waters: I’m very glad that he says that because that shows that we’re making some progress. […] Because particularly with within the context of the whole Israel-Palestine thing, which some Jewish people have a problem with, and others don’t. But we all think about it whether we’re Jewish or not. We always come back – or I always come back – to this tiny, tiny platform – except it isn’t – which is Paris 1948 and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Either you subscribe to the 30 articles of that declaration, or you don’t. You cannot cherry pick. You can’t have it your own way. You have to say either this is about all of us, all our brothers and sisters, irrespective of ethnicity or religion or nationality, or it isn’t. But you can’t cherry pick. You can’t say, well, we deserve human rights, but they don’t. That is called being supremacist.

      […] Thank you, sir, […] the Forward for saying that about the show. And I’m really glad to hear that you feel that way. But I will stand on that platform until the day I die. And if I lived to be the age of Methuselah, I would still be standing on 1948, Paris. And I stand on that platform with all my brothers and sisters all over the world, irrespective of all the things that I’ve said. And there are billions of them in the South, in the poor world and the Third World, who have been trampled on for the last 500 years since we, Europeans, started spreading over the world and trying to steal everything from them, which is what we’ve been doing, including here in the United States. This is not told, not taught in your schools, obviously.

      MS: But when you say this, then I have to say, what about our role as liberators?

      Roger Waters: You have no role as liberators, what are you talking…

      MS: World War Two…

      Roger Waters: You go into World War Two […] it’s Pearl Harbor. You were completely isolationist until that sad, that devastating…

      MS: I would argue, we were always going to get in and that pushed us in. But thank God the United States got in, right? You lost your father in World War Two. Thank God the United States…

      Roger Waters: The Russians had already won the bloody war almost by then. Don’t forget, the 23 million Russians died protecting you and me from the Nazi menace…

      MS: And you would think the Russians would have learned their lesson from war and wouldn’t have invaded Ukraine.

      Roger Waters: Well, you with all your reading, I would suggest to you, Michael, that you go away and read a bit more and then try and figure out what the United States would do if the Chinese were putting nuclear armed missiles into Mexico and Canada…

      MS: The Chinese are too busy encircling Taiwan as we speak…

      Roger Waters: They’re not encircling Taiwan. Taiwan is part of China. And that’s been absolutely accepted by the whole of the international community since 1948. And if you don’t know that you’re not reading enough, go and read about it.

      MS: Okay. Did we solve anything here today?

      Roger Waters: I mean, no, we didn’t. I mean, you believe your side’s propaganda. […] You cannot have a conversation about human rights, and you can’t have a conversation about Taiwan without actually doing the reading.

      MS: Roger, if you’re having a conversation about human rights, at the top of the list of offenders are the Chinese. Why is it always the Western…

      Roger Waters: At the top of your list. […] The Chinese didn’t invade Iraq and kill a million people in 2003. In fact, as far as I can recall. Hang on a minute, who have the Chinese invaded and murdered?

      MS: Their own, their own…

      Roger Waters: Bollocks! That’s absolute nonsense. Complete nonsense. You should go away and read, but read some proper… […] Thanks for talking to me, it’s always a pleasure

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