Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Roger Waters Seriously Considering Performing 'The Wall' at U.S.-Mexico Border

Roger Waters, the legendary front man of Pink Floyd who went on to have a successful solo career, is giving some serious thought to the possibility of performing his former band's legendary album, "The Wall" near the Mexican border with the United States.

This concert would have some things in common with "The Wall" performance that he gave in Berlin shortly after the Berlin Wall fell, although perhaps this concert, should it happen, would be more important for the differences, as well.

After all, that Berlin concert came during more hopeful times, following a series of mostly (but not exclusively) peaceful revolutions in eastern Europe that essentially ended the Cold War and seemed to bring new stability and freedom to lands where these things had been suppressed for a very long time. 

Now, however, Waters might wind up performing this concert as the actual construction of another wall, this one much bigger and arguably more symbolic, could be erected at the U.S.-Mexican border. This proposed wall has been the center of controversy ever since then candidate Donald Trump first proposed it. It has increased in controversy as Trump came closer and closer to the White House, first taking the lead and then outright beating out his Republican challengers, and then surprising millions with his election victory in November.

Some people had speculated that Trump would not even be able to build the wall, let alone make Mexico pay for it, which was another key component of this particular campaign promise. 

However, this is something that now President Trump apparently is insisting on, and it appears that indeed, plans are going through to go ahead and begin construction on the wall that would divide the two countries. 

Of course, Trump has encountered resistance - serious resistance. The price tag is staggeringly high, and it sure looks like those who mocked Trump for claiming that he would be able to make Mexico pay for the wall were right. Mexican presidents past and present have all definitively rejected any notion that their country would pay for any wall, no matter what. It is an expensive wall, and so Trump had to appease his supporters by trying to place a tariff on imported Mexican goods, except that he discovered he did not have the authority to do this. Also, this would be bad for the economy for both countries. And since construction was about to begin anyway, at American taxpayer expense, the additional costs that such a tariff would place still additional costs on American consumers. That means that, far from making Mexicans pay for it, Americans would pay for it - twice over!

Obviously, that's a campaign promise that Trump could not possible keep. But try telling his supporters that, and they'll find any excuse or out that they can, or will insist that the president will somehow get this done, and make Mexico pay for it.

Anyway. to say the proposed Mexican wall is a controversial issue would be an understatement. It is indeed reminiscent of the old Berlin Wall, before it was a cool reminder of the largely peaceful and positive 1989 revolution. But it is also reminiscent of what is often called the "Apartheid Wall" in Israel, dividing affluent Israeli communities from largely impoverished Palestinian ones. The Mexican wall is, after all, being built by a wealthy country (the United States) to keep out illegal immigration from a much poorer country (Mexico).

As such, it is bound to be a politically divisive, polarizing issue. And of course, Roger Waters never shies away from these kinds of controversies, having an extensive history of being quite vocal on such matters. In fact, despite the opinion of many that musicians should remain silent on social issues and just focus on their music, Waters believes that musicians have an obligation to speak out on social issues:

“Music is a legitimate place to express protest. Musicians have an absolute right, a duty, to open their mouths to speak out.”

There are concert dates for Waters later this year in southern California (specifically, the Staples Center in Los Angeles), and there is sufficient time in between the concerts to possibly make such a concert a reality. So, we need to stay tuned!

Roger Waters mulls performing Pink Floyd's 'The Wall' at U.S.-Mexico border by George Vargas, February 20, 2017:

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