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Roger Waters Puts Palestinian Poem to Music to Protest Trump’s Embassy Move

Fans of virtue signaling, self-importance, and terrible music will rejoice

Liel Leibovitz
March 15, 2018
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Roger Waters in concertWikimedia Commons

In the intersection of Jew-hating and virtue signaling, it’s hard for Roger Waters to top himself. He’s already compared Israel’s behavior to the Nazis, championed the noxious BDS movement, harangued artists who chose to play in Tel Aviv, and adorned his pompous concerts with a giant balloon of a pig marked with the Star of David. What could he possibly do for an encore?

The answer, of course, is to go from politics to poetry. The verses he chose, by Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish, are painful and complex—the late Darwish, who grew up in Haifa, is considered to be the national Palestinian poet, and his work, though deeply critical of Israel, is frequently provocative and haunting. But, emotionally speaking, Waters knows but one note, and he reads Darwish’s lines as if they were just another of Waters’s own moronic lyrics (see under: “We don’t need no education”). In his stern and soulless delivery, the poem he chose, “The ‘Red Indian’s’ Penultimate Speech to the White Man,” loses all nuance; just in case some sprinkles of beauty remained, however, Waters titled his piece “Supremacy,” exterminating all subtlety for good. Not that Waters is satisfied: To make sure his intentions are lost on absolutely no one, he gave the song a subtitle more fitting on an adolescent blogger’s social media platform than a famous artist’s creation: “A response to Trump.” Oh, and the music video’s visuals? Nothing but an extreme close-up of Waters’s face against a black bacground.

You can watch it here, mainly as a cautionary tale that bigotry corrodes not only an artist’s mind but also his soul:

Liel Leibovitz is editor at large for Tablet Magazine and a host of its weekly culture podcast Unorthodox and daily Talmud podcast Take One.