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Mounting controversy over Roger Waters’ Polish concerts

21.09.2022 22:45
Members of the City Council of Kraków representing Poland's conservative Law and Justice party have drafted a resolution aimed at declaring former Pink Floyd star Roger Waters persona non grata in the southern Polish city because of his statements about Russia's aggression against Ukraine.
The historic Wawel Castle in Kraków, southern Poland. Pixabay License
The historic Wawel Castle in Kraków, southern Poland. Pixabay License Image by Peter Tóth from Pixabay

The British musician is due to give two concerts in Poland on April 21 and 22 next year at Kraków’s Tauron Arena.

The draft resolution, which is set to be put to a vote on September 28, says: “Mindful of Russia’s criminal attack on Ukraine and of the successive war crimes committed by Russian soldiers that come to light, Kraków councillors express their indignation concerning the statements by Mr. Roger Waters on the Russian invasion.”

It further says that “Mr. Roger Waters, as well as any other person who publicly praises or in any way supports the Kremlin regime, will be treated in Kraków as a persona non grata.”

Justifying their view, the Law and Justice councillors wrote that Kraków, which has twin-city partnerships with the Ukrainian cities of Lviv and Kyiv, “has a special duty to voice its stand in the face of promoting disinformation that slanders the Ukrainian nation.”

In a recent open letter to Ukrainian First Lady Olena Zelenska, Waters urged her and her husband to “seek a different route” in order to “stop the slaughter” in their country.

He also criticised the role of the West in providing weapons for Ukraine.

Meanwhile, representatives of Tauron Arena, the venue of the planned gigs, have issued a statement in which they said that the concerts were being organized by the Live Nation Agency, adding that the dates for the concerts were agreed upon in April 2021.

“Roger Waters’ remarks relating to the war in Ukraine have provoked a discussion and many questions also in Tauron Arena in view of the fact that the artist is going to perform in a town whose residents and authorities have done a great deal to help refugees,” the statement goes on to say.

It stresses that a decision on whether the event would go ahead will be taken by its organizer, “taking into account various factors, including fans’ readiness to book the tickets.”