Red Hot Chili Peppers
75 Rockefeller Plaza
New York, NY 10019
30 May 2012
Salute RHCP, from Durban, South Africa, and with respect for taking the time to consider the following:
As both a fan of your work, and as a recipient of the benefits of South Africa's hard-won freedom and democracy, I respectfully request that you decline to perform in Israel in September.
I can only imagine what it must be like to step out onto a stage in front of thousands of fans, the intensity of that rush just before you rock them into euphoria, just before you deliver your gift and leave them all forever changed from one epic night of the music that makes you the legends that you are. Bands like you are the reason artists want to exist. Your music motivates beyond concert stages, into the intimate personal spaces of individual human lives, transforming them forever, the way only true art can.
I can only imagine, I have no real idea, what the view must be like from that platform, from that stage. I don't know what you must be able to see when you are up there, but in Tel Aviv in September, I know what you won't see.
You won't see the walls that separate you from some of your biggest fans. You won't see the barriers between your music and the men and women that it is meant for. You won't see the humiliation that is visited on those of your supporters who try against all odds to get to your show.
When your chords crash out of the system and cover the crowd, when your choruses are chanted back at you, you won't hear the voices of the ones who know every word to every song, but because of who they are and where they are from, they might die before they ever get the chance to sing along.
As South Africans, we have come to recognize the vital role that artists like you played in ending an oppression that was crushing our country. It is this recognition along with our belief in you and your craft, that has us collectively urging you not to perform in Tel Aviv.
The channels that have been opened to you to express yourselves and to reach out to people as you do, continue to be brutally closed to many who you will neither see nor hear from that stage. In the rush and ecstasy of your performance they will be easy to ignore, but when you leave on another sold-out high, they will be left in the dust of a dance that they were denied.
Everyone should hear you play. That won't happen in Tel Aviv. The music that you make that both inspires and promotes freedom will serve to further entrench an illegal act of oppression in which freedom continues to be crushed.
Please, don't serve this brutal system and its inhumanity.
Yours in Freedom and Solidarity against injustice,
Iain “EWOK” Robinson
South African Spoken Word and Hip Hop artist