To Miguel Poveda y Luz Casal.
We are writing you on behalf of the Solidarity Network against the Occupation of Palestine (RESCOP). A network formed up by more than 40 NGOs, associations and committees of solidarity with the Palestinian people, to kindly ask you not to perform in Israel.
We want to convey our dismay and disappointment when we learnt that you were going to sing in the Méditérranée Festival of Ashdod. This city and military base is very close to Gaza, a small strip of territory in which 2 million people, including thousands of children traumatized by the Israel’s continuous aggressions, survive an inhuman and illegal blockade. During the last 10 years Palestinian´s from the Gaza Strip have suffered six military attacks, the last in July 2014, in which more than 500 Palestinian children were killed by Israel during 52 days of bombing all over the Gaza Strip, considered the largest concentration camp world.
We struggle to understand how someone who can not stand injustice and demonstrates empathy and support for multiple causes, such as asking for helping for children in Ecuador after the earthquake or denounced the situation of the refugees, has agreed to act in Israel.
Perhaps it is because, as Roger Waters told Caetano Veloso when he asked him to cancel his concert in Tel Aviv, you’re also seeing Israeli policies with rose-colored glasses. Maybe your sources of information support Israel and consider the Palestinian population as terrorists. Perhaps you may not know that nearly 5 million Palestinian refugees, from 67 years ago, barely survive in refugee camps because Israel denied the right to return to their land, from which they were expelled from. Or that Gaza has also been devastated, not by an earthquake, but by the army of Israel, which also maintained the blockade and prevents reconstruction.
While many blockade and bombing of Gaza supporters will enjoy your show in a Mediterranean festival, in where Palestinians cannot go and neither Palestinian music will be played, meanwhile, Palestinians in Gaza will be trying to survive in the rubble, sewage water and pollution, with no shelter or even electricity, without the minimum necessary. You can easily check this information by visiting Gaza before your performance in Ashdod. As Roger Waters told in his letter to Caetano, “go and see for yourself, you don´t need to use your imagination. The reality in Gaza is devastating beyond anything you can imagine”.
Despite Roger Waters´ letter, Caetano did act in Tel Aviv. However, on his return he published a long letter stating: “I think will never ever return to Israel. When I returned to Brazil I received a video in which Nasser, a Palestinian with whom I had conversed in Susiya, was beaten with sticks by young Israeli settlers. It was a brutal image. The Israeli army soldiers attended the scene impassively.”
Knowing the daily reality of occupation, personalities from around the world dedicated to art and culture, have publicly stated their refusal to perform in Israel. Some of the most- known names include Elvis Costello, Emma Thompson, Roger Waters, Eduardo Galeano, Santana, Pixies, Mike Leigh, Ken Loach, Snoop Dogg, Damon Albarn, Klaxons, Jean-Luc Godard, or Devendra Banhart.
The Algerian singer Souad Massi canceled his concert at a festival in Tel Aviv: “I have a duty not to act in a country that kills children”.
In August 2014, Brian Eno said in an open letter “Today I saw a picture of a weeping Palestinian man holding a plastic carrier bag of meat. It was his son. He’d been shredded (the hospital’s word) by an Israeli missile attack – apparently using their fab new weapon, fléchette bombs. You probably know what those are – hundreds of small steel darts packed around explosive which tear the flesh off humans. The boy was Mohammed Khalaf al-Nawasra. He was four years old”.
Roger Waters stated “The occupation upsets this rock legend. The killing of children horrifies him. The airstrikes in Gaza make him lose sleep”. Concluding that the Israelis must pay for their crimes and that boycotts are a fair and effective instrument.
Marinah declined participation in the previous edition of the Festival of Ashdod Méditérranée: “Family, I want to tell you that after much reflection and gathering a lot of information, I decided not to perform in Israel. I had planned a couple of concerts that I will not do, because of the humanitarian cause proposed by the BDS, for the respect to human rights, and because I want to sleep in peace with myself at night.”