Personal Stories Stories from Kurdistan

A Destined Friendship: How the Kurdish Cause United Me with Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters

Roger Waters Bahman Ghobadi

The story below was written by Bahman Ghobadi, an acclaimed Kurdish filmmaker and a collaborator with The Kurdish Project.

A Destined Friendship: How the Kurdish Cause United Me with Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters

By Bahman Ghobadi


My work in cinema began when I was 17 years old during my time in Sanandaj (the capital of the Kurdistan district in Iran). One of the first films I was exposed to was Alan Parker’s The Wall, which was based on Pink Floyd’s music. From that point on, I fell in love with Pink Floyd and the way they expressed their views through music.  Whoever created this music was always on my mind, even though I did not know who that person was.

I could have never dreamt that life’s twist and turns would one day take me from Baneh and Sanandaj to a place where my path would cross with Roger Waters — the stellar creator of Pink Floyd’s music. One day, while listening to the BBC, I heard Roger speaking about my films and expressing that he and I have harmonic views on the situation of the Kurds and the plight of displaced people. After this, I found a way to send Roger a message. I expressed that I had learned a lot from him and that I appreciated his thoughts about me and the harmony of our views. This experience was a great honor for me.

Since then, we have maintained a great friendship. We recently took a trip together to the Kurdish Region of Northern Iraq. During our travels, I witnessed Roger’s humanitarian disposition and respect for humanity and disadvantaged people. He was particularly concerned with the rights of women and children. Love for humanity and opposition to walls—that’s Roger Waters.

He asked me to accompany him from Zurich to Erbil, where he was on a mission to free two captive children from the hands of ISIS. While I was on this mission with him, I kept asking myself if I would ever do what he was doing. Would I ever go so far as to get my whole team together and put such an investment towards something so uncertain?  Over many painstaking hours, Roger did whatever he could do to release these two children and get them to the safety of Erbil. I had never seen this kind of resolve. It was the first time that I was able to see the complete man of Roger Waters.

During that time, I was able to realize the depth of knowledge and understanding that Roger had about Kurdistan. I was also able to comprehend the lens through which he looked at Kurdish art and cinema. I say all of this to express that he is one of the most complete human beings that I have ever met.

Today, I feel so honored to have his full support in directing and producing a film about a Kurdish artist in Istanbul. Thank you for your humanity, Roger Waters!

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