Sting Proves Astana Party Pooper

4 Jul

It looks like  Sting has taken Kazaxia’s advice, as the veteran British rocker pulled out of his planned concert in Astana, Kazakhstan amid concerns over human rights abuses in the country. He came under pressure from Amnesty International to cancel his show scheduled for 4 July because of the

repression and crackdown against oil workers, their union leaders, their legal representatives and of the human rights NGOs working with them

Sting got into trouble for playing a concert in Uzbekistan for Gulnara Karimova in 2009. Now he seems to have rediscovered his conscience and is once again positioning himself as the great human rights defender.

Earlier in the tour a date in Minsk, Belarus was cancelled, allegedly because of concerns over the economic situation in the country. Surely Lukashenko’s regime is much worse that the relatively benign one in Kazakhstan so it’s strange that Astana is taking the flak over its human rights’ record, whereas Belarus escaped criticism from Amnesty International.

The gig was to have been a central plank of the celebrations for the anniversary of the day Astana became Kazakhstan’s capital, 6 July, which also happens to be the birthday of Kazakh president Nursultan Nazarbayev.

The Leader of the Nation is likely to be not very amused at this latest turn of events and heads could well roll in Astana. His birthday treats have a tendency to fall flat – in 2008 the birthday boy looked on stony-faced as a somewhat tired and emotional looking  Whitney Houston stumbled around the stage.

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