by craig on February 21, 2010 10:18 am in Uzbekistan
Sting and the Glamorous Dictator’s Daughter Gulnara Karimova
Sting has come out with a spirited defence of his visit to Tashkent as the guest of Karimov’s daughter:
‘I supported wholeheartedly the cultural boycott of South Africa under the apartheid regime because it was a special case and specifically targeted the younger demographic of the ruling white middle class.
‘I am well aware of the Uzbek president’s appalling reputation in the field of human rights as well as the environment. I made the decision to play there in spite of that.
‘I have come to believe that cultural boycotts are not only pointless gestures, they are counter-productive, where proscribed states are further robbed of the open commerce of ideas and art and as a result become even more closed, paranoid and insular.
‘I seriously doubt whether the President of Uzbekistan cares in the slightest whether artists like myself come to play in his
But this really is transparent bollocks. He did not take a guitar and jam around the parks of Tashkent. He got paid over a million pounds to play an event specifically designed to glorify a barbarous regime. Is the man completely mad?
Why does he think it was worth over a million quid to the regime to hear him warble a few notes?
I agree with him that cultural isolation does not help. I am often asked about the morality of going to Uzbekistan, and I always answer – go, mix with ordinary people, tell them about other ways of life, avoid state owned establishments and official tours. What Sting did was the opposite. To invoke Unicef as a cover, sat next to a woman who has made hundreds of millions from state forced child labour in the cotton fields, is pretty sick.
Next time you see Sumner on television warbling on about his love for the rain forest, switch him off.
A commenter suggested a boycott of Sting’s music. I was going to agree, but on reflection it would take an enormous effort to track down someone who listens to it, before we could ask them to stop.
Evidently Sting could do with listening to David Tennant in Murder in Samarkand: