Massive Attack has canceled a show in Georgia scheduled for July 28, saying the decision was made “in protest of the Georgian government’s attack on basic human rights.” The British band says that playing at the state-owned Black Sea Arena stage “could be seen as an endorsement of their violent crackdowns against peaceful protests and civil society.”

Hours before the band’s statement, the Black Sea Arena announced the cancellation of the show, but the management generally cited “unforeseen circumstances” as the reason.

However, against the backdrop of the current political crisis and the campaign of repression in recent months amid the infamous foreign agents law, the band says: “Beatings, arrests, threats, and violence against peaceful activists, and opponents, along with laws smearing civil society and denying LGBTI rights, go against everything we stand for.”

The band expresses solidarity with the peaceful protesters in Georgia, stressing “their struggle needs to be under the international spotlight.” “We will return and perform with you in freedom,” the statement concludes.

In late April, the Shame Movement, a local CSO, wrote to Massive Attack, expressing its excitement for the band’s upcoming show in Georgia, but urging them to acknowledge the “serious and alarming political context” in which their event would take place. In its letter, the Shame movement cited the Georgian government’s massive attack on civil society, independent media, socially vulnerable groups, the LGBTQIA+ community, women, ethnic, religious and other minorities, and informed the band of the domestic political situation, including various anti-democratic laws pushed by the GD government and repression against citizens.

“Your upcoming performance at the Black Sea Arena – a venue constructed by Ivanishvili and now funded by the state – risks being manipulated as part of the Georgian Dream’s pre-election tactics to divert public attention from pressing issues and obscure these critical concerns during the electoral period,” the Shame movement’s letter to Massive Attack read, adding: “Knowing that Massive Attack champions justice, freedom of expression, civil activism, and LGBTQ+ rights, we ask you to familiarise yourselves with the alarming political climate in Georgia.”

Today, when Massive Attack’s decision was made public and quickly went viral, some GD MPs blamed the Shame movement for misleading the band, resulting in their decision to cancel the show.

“[The shame movement] bullied and depressed these people [Massive Attack] so much that they forgot everything… that an art is an art…” said GD MP Irakli Kadagishvili.

“While the Georgian government created an opportunity for the concert of Massive Attack, Salome Zurabishvili and her followers took it away from you,” said Deputy Speaker of Parliament, GD MP Nino Tsilosani.

  • @delirious_owl
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    1 month ago

    Do we have a Lemmy community for /c/georgia-or-georgia ?