An Open Letter to Carlos Santana


Date: 22 January 2010 17:38:47 GMT
To: tourinfo[at], fanmail[at]
Subject: Santana’s proposed gig In Israel

Dear Carlos,

We understand that you are scheduled to perform in Israel this coming summer. This is news that will make definite political and entertainment headlines. We are interested in the former.

We are writing to you to add our name to those Latino and human rights organisations to ask you not to perform in Israel for the following reasons:

1. We say it openly: Israel is an Apartheid State which has illegally occupied and abused more than 4 million Palestinians in The West Bank and East Jerusalem. Whether or not one believes that this is where it all stops, it is very clear that this occupation and abuse started not only in the West bank and East Jerusalem, but also in 1948 when Israel ethnically cleansed a whole nation before it was even declared a State. Over 750,000 Palestinians were kicked out, their homes demolished, their properties stolen and their land occupied. These Palestinians were not a fighting bunch (although, a few of them took up primitive arms to defend themselves and their families against the zionist underground – not unlike many Latin American countries did throughout their histories), but they are people made up mainly of innocent fathers, mothers and children, not unlike any simple people around the world. This illegal Israeli occupation of a whole Palestinian nation continues to this day as we write you this appeal.

2. Since we became aware of your work in the 1960’s we got hooked not only to your music but also to your beliefs in issues related to justice for the underdogs. They were one and the same. Your admirable stance not only Latino issues but also on social, humanitarian and political issues throughout the world has been unequalled. These issues, as you well know, are intertwined and inter-connected. We love your music because it is a product of all your feelings which reflect those of millions of people around the world. For the last 60 odd years, we have followed you everywhere and bought every album you produced (in vinyl, cassettes, CDs and DVDs).

3. We are not writing to lecture you on such issues because you are aware of them. It will take a whole dossier to outline Israel’s abuse of human rights and its contravention of UN Resolution since its inception. We trust that you and your advisors are fully aware of them.

4. It has been just over a year since Israel launched the most criminal attack on Gaza, a blockaded piece of land less than half the size of Cuba, killing over 1400 innocent people a third of them children. The weapons they used and the chemicals they sprayed on schools, houses, factories, mosques and farm land, can only be equalled by the ferocity of WW2 machines of destruction. The Gazans were blockaded from all sides with nowhere to escape.

With all this in our minds (and yours), we cannot see how anyone can perform, let alone sit and listen, to a humane, talented and universal group like Carlos Santana in a State like Israel. How can you do that while Gaza is starving only a few kilometers away. Would you have performed in Apartheid South Africa even under the banner of ‘Bridges of Music’? How can you accept to sing and play in Israel, when Gaza children are starving and dying.

We are confident that you will not lend your support, through performing in Israel, to a State that violates the most basic rights of Palestinians, whether they are children or adults.

If you do, then you will disappoint a whole generation of us, who looked up to you and to your music as a source of inspiration for everything that is human, universal and spiritual.

If you do, then there will be no reason for us to continue to own your music.

Antoine Raffoul

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