A day before his scheduled July 4 gig in the Kazakh capital of Astana for “Astana Day,” a dictatorial birthday cum national holiday, a statement on Sting’s website announced that the singer would not, in fact, be performing, as his presence there would “go against everything he has stood for.” According to the statement, Amnesty International alerted Sting of a six-week-long strike by Kazakh oil and gas workers, one particularly fraught with government misdeeds, human rights violations and repression (in the latest turn of events, the workers’ legal representation has been arrested and detained for “inciting social discord”). Commenters, however, saw Sting’s actions as far from noble—instead, they littered the piece of news from British publication the Guardian with titillating British insults, calling Sting a “knobcheese” and a “bellend.”
So what makes Sting a piece of phallic fungus? Maybe it’s because last year he received north of £1 million to play at a fashion show for Uzbek despot Islam Karimov’s daughter, Gulnara Karimova (Uzbekistan, FYI, is like the posterchild for egregious human rights violations in former Soviet territories). Or maybe it’s because, in response to the criticism leveled at the singer for accepting money and playing for a leader that notorious for boiling his political opponents alive and forcing schoolchildren to harvest cotton, Sting said this (hypocrisy after the jump):
“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 counterproductive, 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.” [via The Guardian]
Sting totally AK-47’d himself in the foot with that one. After all, you can’t say cultural boycotts are counterproductive, then go ahead and whip one out whenever you feel like it. And sure, the former Russians love their children too, but that doesn’t mean one should accept birthday party gigs from them when it’s convenient, then use the ol’ human rights violations excuse when it isn’t. That’s just even more denigrating to the people and the cause. Now go watch Sting proselytize some more cultural and moral relativity while you recover from your own country’s birthday party.