Roger Waters’ new album features track inspired by Palestinian poet
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Roger Waters’ new album features track inspired by Palestinian poet

Song on first record in 25 years by anti-Israel campaigner and former Pink Floyd star based on Mahmoud Darwish poem

Former Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters, known for his strident anti-Israel stance, will release his first rock album in a quarter of a century in June, his record company said Thursday.

“Is This the Life We Really Want?” features 12 new tracks from the highly political singer-songwriter, including one track based on a poem by Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish.

Columbia Records said the album was a “forthright commentary on the modern world and on uncertain times” and a “natural successor” to Pink Floyd’s “Animals” and “The Wall” albums.

Waters told Rolling Stone Magazine that the song “Wait for Her” was inspired by an English translation of “Lesson from the Kama Sutra (Wait for Her)” by Darwish.

The English-born star is about to embark on a North American tour called “Us + Them” at the end of May before taking in Asia and Europe next year.

Waters became leader of the progressive and psychedelic band Pink Floyd after original guitarist and vocalist Syd Barrett left the band in 1968. He remained at the helm until he left the band 1985. His lyrical talent was at the heart of Pink Floyd’s legendary albums, “The Wall” and “Dark Side of the Moon.”

Roger Waters, British rock legend and co-founder of the group Pink Floyd, performs during a concert in Neve Shalom, 30 kms from Jerusalem in June 22, 2006. (AFP PHOTO / DAVID FURST)
Roger Waters, British rock legend and co-founder of the group Pink Floyd, performs during a concert in Neve Shalom, 30 kms from Jerusalem in June 22, 2006. (AFP/David Furst)

Darwish, who died in 2008, is considered a Palestinian national symbol and was a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization. Born in a village that later became part of northern Israel and a resident of countries including Lebanon, France and Jordan, he spent part of the last years of his life in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

The poet was critical of Israel as well as of terror group Hamas, which currently rules the Gaza Strip.

The love poem that inspired Waters begins with the lines “Wait for her with an azure cup. Wait for her in the evening at the spring, among perfumed roses.” But it ends with the lines “There is no one alive but the two of you. So take her gently to the death you so desire, and wait.”

Waters has been widely condemned for his anti-Israel activities and accused of espousing anti-Semitic symbols, though he has denied doing so.

In a 2013 concert in Brussels, Waters performed on a stage featuring a giant pig balloon emblazoned with a Star of David, among other symbols.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center called Waters “an open hater of Jews.” And the Anti-Defamation League’s then leader, Abraham Foxman, in an open letter to Waters at the time, said his “views on Israel are in fact colored by offensive and dangerous undercurrents of anti-Jewish sentiment.”

Waters’ anti-Israel activism has cost the British rock star millions of dollars and an American Express sponsorship, the New York Post reported in October.

Recently he has also been a fierce critic of US President Donald Trump and delighted audiences in Mexico City last year with a rendition of the 1977 Pink Floyd song “Pigs (Three Different Ones)”, where he showed doctored images of Trump with a machine gun outside the White House and giving a Nazi salute.

He later likened the billionaire’s rise to that of Adolf Hitler.

On the day Trump was inaugurated in January, Waters, 73, declared on Facebook that “the resistance begins today”.

Columbia said the album, produced by Nigel Godrich, who has previously worked with Radiohead, Beck and U2, will be released on June 2.

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