Roger Waters gave new meaning to “The Hero’s Return” by saving the day for an entire Trinidad family. According to The Independent, the former Pink Floyd singer-songwriter used his private jet to reunite a mother with her kidnapped children.
As the publication reports, the two children — Ayyub, 7, and Mahmud, 11 — were estranged from their mother, Felicia Ferreira, in 2014 after being taken to Syria by their father, an Isis fighter who reportedly died in 2017. Once the two children were abandoned by his widowed Belgian wife, they were then taken to a refugee camp located in northern Syria by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces.
Waters became aware of the situation through a friend and human rights lawyer Clive Stafford-Smith.
“I’ve known Clive for a number of years and I’ve followed his human rights work pretty closely,” Waters explained to Channel 4 News (via The Independent). “We had some lunch and he told me about the predicament of Mahmud and Ayyub and Felicia, and it moved me deeply. And so I said, ‘I wanna help – is there anything I can do?’”
Both Stafford-Smith and Waters then used the singer’s private plane to reunite the family after failing to elicit any response from either the government of Trinidad, Tobago, or UK authorities. Eventually, Waters was able to persuade the Trinidadian government to secure travel documents for the two boys, who are currently in London before traveling back home to Trinidad.
“Roger paid for a bunch of this stuff,” Stafford-Smith also told Channel 4. “He didn’t just do that, he came with us, and I have to say I have great gratitude to Roger, also a bunch of other people. We made a good team, beating up on people who didn’t want to get it done.”
“It’s the first time, but I hope it won’t be the last,” Waters told the BBC, adding, “I’m privileged enough to at this point… to have the time because I’ve just finished a two-year tour and suddenly I’ve got some time to stop for a bit, so to be able to use some of the time getting these two kids out is great. But also it gives me some sort of a platform to say, what about all of the others? Why aren’t we doing anything?”
Stafford-Smith contends that the same Kurdish forces are still holding on to more than 1,200 foreign children and that most of the surrounding governments have ignored calls to take the children back.
“These are children we have to look after, and the countries their parents come from should be the countries that are looking after them,” Waters argued to the BBC. “And also we need to provide some sort of a legal framework to deal with the ones in the detainment camps who are committed Isis followers because I’m not suggesting they should all be repatriated without any attention to the legal requirements.”
In recent years, Waters has been incredibly vocal about the political situation in the Middle East. He’s also drawn criticism for his views on Israel, namely his opposition towards artists who agree to support and perform within the country.