Politics Analysis

Roger Waters campaigns for UK pro-Palestine candidate Craig Murray

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Roger Waters and Craig Murray together at a speech in Blackburn (Screenshot via YouTube)

Pink Floyd's Roger Waters travelled to a Lancashire town to give his endorsement to former ambassador Craig Murray, running in the UK Election with a strong anti-genocide stance, Sara Chessa reports.

ON THE EVE of the UK election, the local community of Blackburn, Lancashire, saw rockstar Roger Waters pop up by helicopter to endorse Craig Murray — a candidate for Parliament who has focused his entire campaign on the necessity of stopping genocide.

After a spectacular helicopter arrival in the town's surroundings, the former Pink Floyd member was seen meeting Blackburn residents, taking photos with them, cheerfully dialoguing with fans at a local pub and speaking at the closing event of Craig Murray's campaign.

The surprising aspect for one listening to the conference was that in an epoch in which political figures and parties look, most of the times, intent on exploiting human fears to create the kind of social division that serves their affirmation, Roger Waters and Craig Murray have reintroduced – into a political event – words that we are no longer used to hearing in the contexts in which politics takes place.

Expressions like "brothers", "sisters" and "love for the human being" moved both the supporters and those who attended the event driven by curiosity, immersing everyone in a way of doing politics that has been unfortunately alien to the major parties in the last decades.

The rockstar said:

"Like Craig – and like many of you – I wake up every morning on the verge of tears. And when I've got through that moment, which is not easy, I think to myself, what can I do today to be part of this movement to stop the genocide of my brothers and sisters in Gaza?"

Craig Murray, a candidate for the Workers Party GB for the Blackburn with Darwen constituency, is a former British ambassador and now a human rights activist. Many of the choices that Murray made in his life can help the public understand the former Pink Floyd's support for this candidate.

Two of them are already enough to explain his character. First, he renounced a brilliant diplomatic career to become a whistleblower on cases of torture. As the British ambassador to Uzbekistan between 2002 and 2004, he revealed human rights abuses committed by the Karimov administration.

In his written reports to his superiors, he argued that acquiring information through torture was both morally and legally unacceptable.

In other words, in a historical moment in which the war on terror seemed to justify or create the necessity to hide the most inhuman acts, Murray told his superiors that intelligence provided by the Uzbekistan Government to the UK MI5 and the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) was unreliable due to its extraction under torture.

This disagreement with his superiors in the Foreign Office ultimately ended his diplomatic career.

The second event from Murray's life that can illuminate the reasons for Roger Waters' endorsement is very recent. It is strictly related to empathy for the Palestinian people and Murray himself evoked it for the audience.

The story started when Murray met journalist Sam Husseini at an Assange event in Washington.

Talking about the atrocities committed by Israel against Gaza and its children, Hosseini asked "Why is no one activating the Genocide Convention?".

The question triggered a reflection and one of the critical points of it was also highlighted during the event with Roger Waters:

Two things came to me as most important. The obvious one is that any state party can take any other state party to the International Court of Justice under the Genocide Convention. However, the second and most important point is that it is a preventative convention. It's not there to punish genocide. It's there to prevent genocide. And it says there is a duty on every state to take another state to court in order to prevent an incipient genocide.


So, I wrote a couple of articles and published them on how to activate the Genocide Convention. Then, a group of activists started lobbying around the world to try to get the Genocide Convention brought into play because it's not just the International Court of Justice eventually finding genocide. The International Court of Justice could force the International Criminal Court to act.

Murray referred to the ICC as a "horribly corrupt institution" and "a tool of Western power that wouldn't act against Israel unless it was forced to". The one thing that would force it to do this would be the International Court of Justice finding genocide.

The former ambassador highlighted that Roger Waters was a part of this effort. "He called on two South American presidents and asked them to get involved in activating the genocide convention," Murray said.

And he revealed something so far wholly unknown — Julian Assange himself, from prison, participated in the effort.

I haven't been able to say it till now because until he was in prison, it was not good to say it since it would have caused problems, but Julian Assange, from his prison cell, sent messages around the world and it was actually through Julian and Stella that Andrew Feinstein, who was standing against Keir Starmer in Holborn and St. Pancras, got my papers on how to activate the Genocide Convention into the hands of a South African Foreign Minister. And with the agreement of other governments around the world involved, South Africa came to take Israel to the International Court of Justice.

The public at the Blackburn event was then aware that – while the UK supplies weapons and intelligence support to Israel, making itself complicit in the genocide – resistance against all this exists and the two speakers were indeed part of it, not just horrified, but doing all they could to stop it.

Roger Waters stated:

"Maybe the tide may be turning and that we, the people of this small, precious, vulnerable planet that we call home may be starting to figure out that we have to be able to express our love for all our brothers and sisters all over the world, including Palestine, obviously, irrespective of their ethnicity or religion or nationality. That is fundamental."

Craig Murray also highlighted why we can define the one carried out in Gaza as genocide.

"In war, in a conflict between armed forces, the percentage of casualties who are children is generally about 8% across almost all wars in the modern era. In Ukraine at the moment, the percentage of casualties who are children is about 6%. In Gaza, the percentage of casualties of children is 42%. And that is the difference between a war between armed forces and the genocide of a civilian population. And what Israel is doing is genocide."

So much information was shared during Roger Waters's appearance in Blackburn. He endorsed other candidates dedicated to the Palestinian cause during the last weeks. Among them is Andrew Feinstein, who stands against Keir Starmer in the Holborn and St. Pancras constituency.

There, the rockstar made a gig singing the extremely famous Pink Floyd's success Wish You Were Here. In Blackburn, Roger Waters recalled the song's lyrics and made his support for those opposing genocide even more evident.

"So, so you think you can tell heaven from hell, blue skies from pain? Yeah, I think I can tell, heaven from hell. A vote for Craig Murray in Blackburn or for Andrew Feinstein in Holborn is a vote for heaven and a vote for Keir Starmer is a vote for hell."

The reference is to the support that the leader of Labour has so far shown for the genocide by saying that it was legal for Israel to cut off the electricity and water supply to the civilian population of Gaza and refusing to call for a ceasefire, talking about the atrocities as "Israeli self-defence right".

The fight of all the anti-genocide candidates is against two big parties – Labour and Tories – dominated by forces that are missing their chance to stop a genocide, not less than it happened to those British politicians who, in front of Nazism, chose to make concessions to it.

And, in today's Britain, it looks even worse than in those years.

Those were appeasement policies, but the one carried out today by Conservative leader Rishi Sunak and Labour leader Keir Starmer is explicit support.

Sara Chessa is a UK-based independent journalist. You can follow Sara on Twitter @sarachessa1.

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