Civil Unrest And Biblical Floods

The cancellation of Aerosmith’s Turkish gig at Istanbul’s Kucukciftlik Park May 14 was one of a number of European shows scrapped because of civil unrest bordering on war or floods of biblical proportions.

Photo: AP Photo / Darko Vojinovic
Obrenovac, some 30 kilometers (18 miles) southwest of Belgrade. At least 34 people have died and tens of thousands evacuated in Serbia and Bosnia. 

The civil (and political) unrest has been in Ukraine and to some extent Turkey, while parts of former Yugoslavian states such as Serbia, Bosnia and Croatia had three months’ worth of rain in three days.

The Turkish government shut down all events for at least seven days of mourning for the 300 or so killed in the mining disaster in Soma.

More civil unrest may well break out in Turkey as many believe the government’s neglect of the mine was responsible for the explosion that caused the disaster.

Last summer civil disorder forced the cancellation of the country’s One Love and Istanbul Calling festivals, which meant the scrapping of shows by the likes of Blur, New Order, James Blake, Snoop Dogg, 30 Seconds To Mars, and The Prodigy, among others.

In Ukraine Depeche Mode and Peter Gabriel are among the acts to have canceled because of political tension and street-fighting, while The National and Blondie have pulled out of Russian dates to protest that country’s involvement in it. Further south in the Balkans, Belgrade’s Kombank Arena in Serbia has warned acts that it’s unlikely to be able to stage their shows because parts of the country — and the neighbouring countries of Bosnia and Croatia — are flooded as a result of the heaviest rain and worst floods since records began 120 years ago.

“Belgrade is not flooded but all our efforts are directed to people who need help. Also, the arena is preparing to be a potential shelter for evacuated people,” venue officials explained. “Entertainment and activities are stopped for now.”

Shows from Tom Jones, Steven Seagal, and Tango In Red Major are the ones in most danger.

The Serbian government has declared a state of emergency and Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic has described it as “the greatest flooding disaster ever.”

BBC News footage has shown overflowing rivers bursting into towns and villages and cutting off whole communities, while landslides have buried houses.

At least 35 people have been killed and tens of thousands of others forced to flee their homes in the region.

As if the catastrophic flooding wasn’t enough, the region is also dealing with a host of other consequences including land mines from the Balkan War coming to the surface, landslides and a potential shutdown of one of the biggest power plants in the region.