Roger Waters, renowned for his political activism, recently ignited a firestorm of controversy with a concert in Berlin. The show featured provocative imagery, including Nazi-inspired visuals and references to Anne Frank. Waters’ intention to make political statements through his performance sparked outrage, leading to condemnation from various quarters, including the Israeli Foreign Ministry and the Simon Wiesenthal Center. This editorial delves into the incident, dissecting the symbolism, the implications, and the resulting backlash.
As reported by Mediate, Waters’ concert employed a range of political imagery designed to elicit strong emotions and bring attention to the issues he sought to highlight. The presence of red banners resembling those used by the Nazi regime, but with crossed hammers replacing the swastika, undoubtedly stirred controversy and raised eyebrows. Waters likely intended to provoke thought and initiate dialogue by drawing parallels between past authoritarianism and contemporary concerns. However, the utilization of such potent symbolism carries inherent risks, including misinterpretation and insensitivity towards historical atrocities.
Waters displayed Anne Frank’s name on the big screen as well, which was accompanied by the names of George Floyd, Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh and others. Fox News noted that display seemed to be a condemnation of people who were infamously murdered at the hands of the state. This, led to a lot of widespread calls for cancelation of Pink Floyd and Roger Waters.
Between Akleh’s juxtaposition with Frank and Watter’s Nazi costume in Berlin, the show was condemned by Israeli Foreign Ministry and the Simon Wiesenthal Center. It’s unsure how this will continue to go if Roger Waters does face some kind of cancelation backlash, but one thing is for sure and that’s that no one is happy with how any of this was displayed or how this took place even if Roger Waters meant for it to be in a much different direction.
Great news! Berlin police have launched a criminal investigation into Roger Waters following his concert in which he dressed like a Nazi SS officer holding a gun and denigrated the murder of Anne Frank.
— StopAntisemitism (@StopAntisemites) May 25, 2023