Damon Albarn’s Gorillaz Play Syria, Boycott Israel

Albarn proudly boasts:

Gorillaz have become the first ever big British band to play in Damascus in Syria.

Damon Albarn, Bashy, Kano and former Clash members Mick Jones and Paul Simonon, were among those who performed a one-off show in the Syrian capital on Sunday.

Damon told Newsbeat it was something he’d wanted to do for some time: “I’m surprised that no one has ever come here before.

“For us it’s just a wonderful experience”

The tour has an important political message:

Damon told Newsbeat why he chose pollution as a theme: “I think the world is becoming like a plastic beach. It’s not a prediction, it’s something that exists now.

“We’ve got to accept that it’s got to be cool to recycle.”

Here is the Wikipedia page summarising the human rights situation in Syria:

The human rights record of the Syrian Arab Republic has been found lacking by a number of different sources. A state of emergency has been in effect since 1963 and it gives “security forces sweeping powers of arrest and detention,” according to Amnesty International. Syria is a one-party state without free elections and “freedom of expression and association remain … strictly controlled.”[1] In 2009 “hundreds of people were arrested and hundreds of others remained imprisoned for political reasons”. Military Police were reported to have killed at least 17 detainees. Human rights defenders have been harassed and persecuted. Women and minorities face discrimination

Syria is a dictatorship, in which nothing happens without the say-so of the Baath Party. Accordingly, Bashar al-Assad will be very grateful to Damon Albarn for his help.

Last month, Gorillaz cancelled its Israeli tour.