Benefits has shared a powerful statement regarding the ongoing Israel-Palestine war as well as Armistice Day.
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On November 9, the band took to their official Instagram account to discuss the current state of the world, specifically the ongoing Israel-Palestine war. “For the last week, we’ve travelled around a chunk of Northern Europe going from major city to major city with absolute ease. The people we’ve met on our travels couldn’t have been more welcoming, friendly and helpful,” began their statement.
They went on to highlight the luck and privilege they have being in the position to be able to travel the world and play on stages alongside some of their heroes every night. Their statement went in to discuss how they have “casually driven past fields where tens of thousands of soldiers and civilians died in our grandparents living memory. Town and city names on road signs are familiar to us as battlegrounds or from old war movies.”
The band goes on to share that they have “shuffled down the boulevards of cities that were bombed to ruins” and “performed in an ex Nazi bunker”, all done in total safety.
“You can see where I’m going here but, of course, wars aren’t comparable,” the statement continued. “History, and how it’s told, can play tricks. The situations and circumstances right now in Gaza, Yemen, the Congo, Sudan, Ethiopia, Syria (and everywhere else there’s conflict on the planet) are all different but the outcome of death, and specifically of non military death, is seemingly inevitable and eternal.”
The band mentioned how Amristance Day is coming up on Saturday, November 11 and questioned what does it all mean. They asked their fans what does it mean to them.
“Commemorating the end of a brutal world shifting war? Wearing the poppy to show compassion? Remembering a relative or loved one lost in battle? There isn’t a family on the continent – if not the world – who isn’t effected in some way by the catastrophic European wars of the twentieth century. A family member slain and lost, or left with life changing injuries. A destroyed building. A fear. We remember the fallen. We remember the reasons why they fell. We remember in order to hope that it never happens again,” they said.
They continued: “Yet now we sit and watch innocent young bodies being dragged from obliterated buildings or lying bloodied on the floors of their homes on our flatscreen TVs. We switch over if it gets too much. We are lucky that we can look away and get some distance. Newsfeed ebbs and flows relentlessly, life shattering occurrences go up and down in importance depending on who’s in charge of the ranking. Who do you blame? Netanyahu? Hamas? Putin? Colonialism? Empire? Oil? Religion? Media? Western foreign policy? Where will peace come from.”
“I write from the safety of my British life. I’ve never experienced war, destruction or a life threatened with fear,” adds Benefits frontman Kingsley Hall. “I remember news reports of fights and riots, bombings during The Troubles, I felt and saw the Manchester bombing from a seventh floor flat in Salford. Some of the band have family that were more directly effected as they were living in Ireland at the time, and I recall watching war in Iraq unfold in real time on a TV set. But in reality, I’ve seen nothing.”
He adds that the long post is not for them to say “Actually, it’s complicated”, but a way for them to attempt expression after being “frustrated by my own silence.”
The statement ends with: “The point is that we must believe peace is achievable and hope that Palestinian, Israeli, Ukrainian, Yemeni, Congolese and Sudanese children should get to experience a peaceful and safe existence in their lifetime.”
According to a report by Al Jazeera, at least 10,812 Palestinians in Gaza have been killed in Israeli attacks since October 7. In Israel, the death toll over the same period stands at more than 1,400.
Enter Shikari, The Last Dinner Party and Architects are among a group of musicians who’ve signed an open letter calling for a ceasefire as the war in Israel and Gaza continues.
Many artists from the music industry have spoken out about the conflict in recent weeks. Earlier this month Macklemore delivered a speech at a pro-Palestine rally calling the conflict a “genocide”, while Dua Lipa, Killer Mike, Michael Stipe and more wrote an open letter to President Biden, demanding “an immediate de-escalation and ceasefire in Gaza and Israel before another life is lost.”
Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Mark Hamill and Jamie Lee Curtis were among 700 Hollywood figures who signed an open letter voicing their support for Israel while Selena Gomez’s makeup company, Rare Beauty, announced that it will be donating funds to the relief efforts in Gaza. Over 2,000 names from the arts world, including Tilda Swinton, Massive Attack‘s Robert Del Naja and Miriam Margoyles, signed an open letter calling for ceasefire.
Similarly, Madonna addressed the situation on stage at The O2, while Tom Morello called for the condemnation of harm to all children “no matter who they are”.
More recently, Bob Vylan called out Sleaford Mods and IDLES for not speaking out in support of Palestine.