Travels of Love, Sounds of Love, Memories of Love

 Sorry, a bit of a night dwelling in the past.
So much travel through these blogposts.


Sometimes, when I meet people, I fall in love in just a few seconds...

Not with them, people are bound to come and go, to be free!
But with a music, a place, a story.

And that can always stay with me :)

In 2013, I fell in love with a few Iranian songs:


Kourosh Yaghmaei - 'Leila'

Kourosh Yaghmaei - 'Gole Yakh' (Winter Sweet)


Back From The Brink
Pre-Revolution Psychedelic Rock From Iran : 1973 - 1979
Now-Again Records / Stones Throw / Discograph

Buy the album here:


“It takes a minute to have a crush on someone, an hour to like someone, and a day to love someone... but it takes a lifetime to forget someone.”

― Kahlil Gibran


But you don't really have to forget... Just let them go, keep the love, and let some other visitors come in... 

Somalia's Golden Age of Music

 Such an interesting video shared By Okay Africa on Somalia's most vibrant time for music in the 1970s...

I've been myself to Somalia twice, to Hargeisa and Berbera in Somaliland, a self-proclaimed independent region in the north of the country, 2011 and to Mogadishu, the capital, in 2012.

And it is not a country you can forget! It was moving towards more peace at the time, but since 2016, conflicts have been on the rise again.

But culturally, Somalia always remained vibrant and divers and very appealing. Music has been a means of expression throughout its different diaspora in North America and in Europe.

I really hope to go again someday, I had so many projects inspired by Somalia and Somali people.

All the best to this unique country.

How the 70s Became Somalia's Golden Age of Music

Published on 28 Nov 2017

In this explainer, learn what political, social, and cultural forces forged Somalia's golden age of music, what caused its demise, and why a new golden age is happening right now.

Motion Graphics: Peter Blanco
Script: Vik Sohonie

If you have been following this blog since 201,1 when I created it, you must have seen posts about Somalia!

Here are a few reminders: 

About a very interesting book, Getting Somalia Wrong, by BBC reporter Mary Harper:

About the political situation in Somalia in 2010/12:



On Beatriz Gonzalez


 Some say a picture is worth a thousand words...
What about a painting then?
Just want to share insight into the marvelous exhibition I saw in Bordeaux last week, opening the Year of Cultural Exchanges between France and Colombia.

Beatriz Gonzalez, at the CAPC:

A series of heartfelt paintings on family, inner life, shared and especially female pain and mainly about healing, catharsis through sharing and crying out. My constant theme. 
A nice insight into the art of a continent I know too poorly...


23.11.2017 -> 25.02.2018 


Rétrospective 1965–2017

Dans la Nef du musée
Une exposition du CAPC musée d’art contemporain de Bordeaux, du Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid et du KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin.
Manisfestation organisée dans le cadre de l'Année France-Colombie 2017.
Cette exposition bénéficie du soutien de l'Institut français et du ministère colombien de la Culture.
Cette exposition est reconnue d'intérêt national par le ministère de la Culture/Direction générale des patrimoines/Service des musées de France. Elle bénéficie à ce titre d'un soutien exceptionnel de l'État.
Elle reçoit également le soutien de Catherine Petitgas
Remerciements à la Galería Casas Riegner, Bogotá et à Ana Sokoloff.

Artiste emblématique et fondamentale de la scène artistique d’Amérique latine, Beatriz González a marqué des générations d’artistes et de penseurs. Son travail, qui dépasse les limites de la peinture par la multiplicité des supports utilisés, convoque l’histoire, la politique, l’humour, le privé et le public.
En 1964, elle adopte un mode opératoire auquel elle restera fidèle par la suite, en faisant d’une image issue de la presse colombienne une série de tableaux. Les archives qu’elle collectionne montrent que l’imagerie populaire façonne son œuvre et constitue un terrain de recherche et de création fertile, dont elle extrait le folklore et le pittoresque. S’appuyant souvent sur la documentation photographique des reporters de presse, certaines œuvres de Beatriz González expriment aussi la douleur provoquée par la violence et la mort. Au sujet de cet aspect de son travail, Boris Groys affirme que loin de chercher la neutralité par l’appropriation qu’elle fait des images de presse, « sa peinture reste personnelle et même intime » dans la mesure où « elle trouve le moyen de faire des journaux quotidiens son propre journal intime et, inversement, de faire de son propre journal intime un outil politique »
Beatriz González s’intéresse également à la représentation des icônes de la culture populaire (des idoles sportives aux politiciens en passant par les leaders religieux) et à celle des cultures indigènes et de l’art précolombien. Ses productions, qui apparaissent parfois comme des ready-made aidés, se déclinent sur divers supports incluant des meubles et des rideaux. Toujours en activité, l’artiste qui se décrit ironiquement comme une « artiste de province », accompagne les vives mutations sociales et politiques de la Colombie.
Réunissant peintures, dessins, estampes, sculptures et installations, cette première grande exposition rétrospective de Beatriz González en Europe, permettra de découvrir un ensemble d’environ 130 œuvres réalisées entre 1965 et 2017.
Commissaire : María Inés Rodríguez
Architecture de l'exposition : Terence Gower & Estudio Beatriz González

Beatriz González
Artiste et pédagogue établie à Bogotá, Beatriz González est née en 1938, à Bucaramanga, Colombie. À travers le dessin, la peinture, l’illustration et la sculpture, elle traite de sujets en lien avec le contexte historique et culturel colombien. Elle a participé à de nombreuses expositions individuelles et collectives dans différentes institutions en Amérique latine, aux États-Unis et en Europe. Ses œuvres sont présentes dans les collections du MoMA, de la Tate Modern ou du Museum of Fine Arts de Houston, entre autres. Outre la Documenta 14 en 2017, elle a également participé à la Biennale de Venise en 1978 et à celle de Sao Paulo en 1971.

-> Curator(s): María Inés Rodríguez
-> Artiste(s) Beatriz González
-> Nef du musée
-> Voie d'accès pour personnes handicapées
-> Tarifs : Entrée du musée, 7 € (plein tarif) ; 4 € (tarif réduit)


Lean more in English on the Tate Modern's website:

Beatriz González is a Colombian painter, associated with the Pop Art movement. She grew up in Colombia in the 40s and 50s, during an era of political unrest known as La Violencia (The Violence).
Initially González was a traditional painter, inspired by Vermeer and Velazquez, but later began to refer to the mass media as a source of inspiration instead. She used bold colours and flat figures to represent images taken from magazines and newspapers as a means of documenting the political and social climate of her homeland. With characteristic tongue-in-cheek humour,  González calls these her ”underdeveloped painting[s] for underdeveloped countries.”
I painted the joy of the underdeveloped… Mine was a provincial type of art without horizons, confronting the everyday. 
Interview with Tate, 2015

International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People

Message from:

Dear Melissa,

Today is the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. Here at War on Want, we believe the best way to show solidarity is to take concrete steps to end our government’s complicity in Israel’s oppression of Palestinians.
Ask your MP to take a stand for the rights of Palestinian children.
Israel holds over 6,000 Palestinians as political prisoners. Over 200 of them are children below the age of 18. 
Palestinian children, some as young as 9 years old, are arrested and tried in Israeli military courts, detained in prisons and detention centres away from their homes and families, and denied their most basic rights.
The UK Government knows about these systematic violations, and it must take action now to stop them.
Richard Burden MP has tabled an Early Day Motion calling on the UK Government to pressure Israel to end the widespread and systemic human rights violations suffered by Palestinian children in Israeli military custody
This EDM has already been signed by MPs from across political parties. Other MPs can sign on too, so they need to hear from constituents that this issue is important for you. 
Please email your MP and ask them to sign the EDM, and to support the call for the UK Government to call Israel to account over its violations.

In Solidarity,
Ryvka Barnard
Senior Campaigner (Militarism and Security), War on Want

P.S. If you can make it to London next week, come see a free exhibition we're hosting: ‘Memory Metamorphosis: an exhibition on Palestinian memory’ at the Menier Gallery.



DATES: Tuesday 5 December to Saturday 9 December 2017
Tuesday: 11.00am - 5.00pm
Wed-Fri: 11.00am - 6.00pm
Saturday: 11.00am - 4.00pm
LOCATION: Menier Gallery (Lower Ground Floor Gallery*), 51 Southwark Street, London SE1 1RU
*We regret that the gallery is not wheelchair accessible.

War on Want is excited to host an exceptional exhibition of artworks by established and emerging artists based in Gaza, Jerusalem and New York. Memory Metamorphosis: an exhibition on Palestinian memory features painting, collage, film and photography, inspired by interviews with Palestinians in the diaspora about their memories of home.
Memories establish a connection between personal and collective past, heritage and history. They give shape to identity that has been fragmented by displacement and life in exile. There are over 6 million Palestinians living in diaspora; most were displaced or expelled over the past 70 years by war and occupation. When a people’s history, culture and existence are being altered, erased or appropriated, holding onto their memories and creating their own historical record can be seen as an act of resistance.
Discover the artists:
Alongside this exhibition we will be showcasing the powerful documentary photography of award-winning photographer, author and film-maker Rich Wiles, who has been based in Palestine for many years. His work explores notions of home, identity, resistance, and has been published and exhibited widely.
You can see some of Rich's work here, capturing the stories of Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli detention for a project by War on Want and Addameer: Prisoner Support and Human Rights Centre.


Karl Marx - 1818 / 2018

On May 5th, 2018, Karl Marx would have been 200 years old.
Today, I had the pleasure to learn that the British Library, in London, is organising a special event.
The British Library was an important place in the life of Karl Marx. Exiled in London from 1848, he researched a lot of his work in that building and later wrote most of the Capital.  
The Library will be presenting an exhibition and hosting a series of events on Marx from May 2018 to mark the commemoration of his work and writing.
As part of this season, they may plan an event, which will particularly look at the way Marx has been portrayed in writing, film and on stage... 
Among participants are expected Jason Barker, director and producer of the 2011 film Marx Reloaded (and author of the forthcoming novel Marx Returns) and playwrights Richard Bean and/or Clive Coleman, who wrote the play Young Marx


           Exciting news !
           More soon.


More on our film, The Young Karl Marx, that I still hope will find a distribution in the UK around that time (- Come on, England, you need it!):

We also leant today that Raoul Peck's film will be released on April 29, 2018 in Japan, in a forty cinema, under the title: "Marx · Engels".

As a reminder: in the United States, the release date is confirmed for February 23rd.




Lhasa - 'Rising'

 If you know me, you know I love this woman like a soul sister.
And that I believe musicians live forever.
She, especially, does live in my heart. She left us at the age I have now.

Thanks to Naomi Klein for putting this song on her list on her interview with BBC Radio 4...

Concert Privé : Lhasa - 'Rising' - Bouffes du Nord

Lhasa interprète "Rising" lors de son concert privé Fnac aux Bouffes du Nord, le 11 mai 2009. 

This venue is my favourite theatre hall, by the way.

Lhasa - 'Rising' [Official Music Video]



I got caught in a storm
And carried away
I got turned, turned around

I got caught in a storm
That's what happened to me
So I didn't call
And you didn't see me for a while

I was rising up
Hitting the ground
And breaking and breaking

I was caught in a storm
Things were flying around
And doors were slamming
And windows were breaking
And I couldn't hear what you were saying
I couldn't hear what you were saying
I couldn't hear what you were saying

I was rising up
Hitting the ground
And breaking and breaking

Rising up
Rising up


Bordeaux / Bristol: Building Bridges

 I went to Bordeaux this week, because it was an obvious location to talk about my book.

Bordeaux is in a "twin city" partnership with Bristol (and Hannover, but...) and the two cities share the same history. South-Western ports of wanna-be empires, they played a major role in the colonisation of America and in the slave trade, activities that had a major impact on them, resulting in beautiful buildings constructed by money resulted from the deportation and trade of human beings.

Slavery is not an activity of the past, as the recent events in Libya exposed once again. Poverty neither and most of the poor people in this world live and work in a state of quasi-slavery.

But I also wrote this book also to talk about social change, places and people who decided to stop mistakes when they realize they were, to talk about cultures merging, art and music that came to display a different society, more diverse and more inclusive.


The local group Bordeaux 2020 invited me to talk about underground culture and to share the details about Bristol's recent history for the arts and music.

Here were the participants:

- Damien Thomas, Bordeaux 2020
- Renaud Cojo, theatre performer and founder of the company 'Ouvre le Chien'
- Ivan Torres, mexican artist
- Pierre Chavot, historian and author
- Philippe Barre, founder of Darwin
- and myself

I was happily surprised by the level of involvement of the audience. It was from the beginning a very participative discussion. And while a couple of men insisted to say that Bordeaux has a vibrant underground scene for music, in informal venues and inside people's homes, most people were interested in how Bordeaux could come to bring more venues and help young people particularly to develop their ideas and find places to rehearse music or theatre.

Our goal is to keep moving into this discussion.

My goal specifically is to create a network of cities discussion the importance of the arts and music for European culture and with the current changes, especially after the Brexit vote and the (illegal) Catalan referendum.

I believe that in times of a globalisation led by trade and goods, people can only keep on acting if they learn to act locally and fight for changes that they can see developing in a not-so-long future. I also believe that in the rise of new forms of nationalism, we need to connect with others, as far as possible, to realize how much connected we are, as different as we are.

I want to start within Europe for now. So I hope we'll have another debate, in Paris maybe, including people from the art world and historians from Belfast, Brussels, Barcelona, on top of Bordeaux and Bristol.

I call this my network of "Cities to B" - trying to Build Bridges! 


I'm invited in Nantes mid-January to talk about Bristol's art and music scene, then in Paris' Médiathèque, on January 13th, to discuss the role of music in social change in the framework of the exhibition "Nous et les autres" ("Us and Others"), highlighting the increase of creativity brought in cities by newcomers and foreigners over the years, but also displaying the racism these artists were confronted to during their lifetime, quoting the work of Josephine Baker, Nina Simone, Miriam Makeba, Zebda in France and La Rumeur, among others. I'll bring the story of Bristolians.

More on this soon.


Share your views if you will!


Meanwhile, I was lucky enough to catch a beautiful retrospective in the Museum of Contemporary Art in Bordeaux, of the work of Colombian painter Beatriz Gonzalez, opened as begins the Year of France / Colombia. Her painting are a real immersion in the intimacy of the people of her country, their sufferance and especially female pain, in a transmuting act of healing...

I'll share more in the next post.

This has been my main theme since 2014, since I lived in the shattered country of Central African Republic. We can not let ourselves, individually or collectively, get destroyed by our pain and past mistakes. We need to rise again and learn to heal ourselves, to let go of the burden and past wounds...

Healing, guérison en français, art therapy, catharsis in Greek, call it what you like. But in this way, music and art can become an elixir for recovery and rebirth.

AI versus Heart Intelligence

I read almost every week another naively optimistic article about Artificial Intelligence, AI, and the promise of a better world through the use of robots.

After all the science fiction films warning us about building our own man-maid slaves, people with big budgets invest in excessively expensive projects to produce more complex computers and devices... while more than half of the population still live in poverty, under appallingly low circonstances, in Africa, Asia and Latin America mainly.

And the vast majority of the other half of the world population are just slaves to jobs they have not chosen and are only getting them to pay bills for housing, food and other products they don't even know they don't need.

And where are the firms investing in AI? In the richest countries obviously. With which materials are they building their robots and computers? Rare earth elements, gold, cobalt, copper... Most of them stolen in poor countries.

This situation is depressing beyond reason.

While Apple has become a bigger monster that the Microsoft they decried decades ago, not paying their taxing, enslaving Chinese labour and overpricing their devices, other firms are getting ready to do worse and the powerful and educated people of the West encourage them to do so.


In order to find hope in this sea of blindness, here is an article about a recent initiative to call to bring consciousness in this deregulated, uncontrolled and powerful network of researchers, eating billions of dollars for a technology not promising to cure diseases or feed the hungry but to bring more distraction to the distracted taxpayers...


UN artificial intelligence summit aims to tackle poverty, humanity's 'grand challenges'

(UN Centre News)

7 June 2017 – Artificial intelligence (AI) is responsible for self-driving cars and voice-recognition smart phones, but the United Nations this week is refocusing AI on sustainable development and assisting global efforts to eliminate poverty and hunger, and to protect the environment. 
Starting today in Geneva, the AI for Good Global Summit, which is co-organized by the UN International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and the XPRIZE Foundation, with support for some 20 UN agencies, brings together key innovators in the field with humanitarian actors and academics.
“Artificial Intelligence has the potential to accelerate progress towards a dignified life, in peace and prosperity, for all people,” said UN Secretary-General António Guterres. “The time has arrived for all of us – governments, industry and civil society – to consider how AI will affect our future.” 
In a video message to the summit, Mr. Guterres called AI “a new frontier” with “advances moving at warp speed.” 
He noted that that while AI is “already transforming our world socially, economically and politically,” there are also serious challenges and ethical issues which must be taken into account – including cybersecurity, human rights and privacy. 
Mr. Guterres noted that developing countries can gain from the benefits of artificial intelligence, but are also at the highest risk of being left behind.
“This Summit can help ensure that artificial intelligence charts a course that benefits humanity and bolsters our shared values,” he underscored. 
The opening session of the summit is expected to give voice to the leading minds in AI, with breakout sessions focusing on issues such as sustainable living and poverty reduction. 
ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao, said the event “will assist us in determining how the UN, ITU and other UN agencies can work together with industry and the academic community to promote AI innovation and create a good environment for the development of artificial intelligence.” 
He called the summit a “neutral platform for international dialogue” which can build a common understanding of emerging technologies and how they can apply to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), adding that the divers array of thought leaders gathered for the event will weigh in on such topics as “how far AI can go, how much it will improve our lives, and how we can all work together to make it a force for good.” 
The summit will run through Friday, with a closing session on “applying AI for good.”

Will these promises vanish in the air like most United-Nations calls since the creation of the diplomatic body since the end of WWII? I hope not. But I'm afraid these researchers are delusional when they trust big business is going to do any better than it has been doing the past four centuries.

Here is one argument: 

'Artificial intelligence is not our friend:' Hillary Clinton is worried about the future of technology

In a recent interview, Hillary Clinton expresses worries about the future of artificial intelligence and the role big tech plays in our daily lives. Clinton says that big tech companies are acquiring a trove of personal data that could possibly be manipulated and that Silicon Valley needs to be less opaque about the role their platforms played in the 2016 election. 

Artificial intelligence may be one of the most exciting avenues in technology today, but its advances are causing alarm not only among science and technology elites like Bill GatesElon Musk, and Stephen Hawking, but politicians as well. 
On Wednesday, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton revealed her anxieties about the future of artificial intelligence in an interview with Hugh Hewitt about her recently published memoirWhat Happened.
"Artificial intelligence is not our friend," said Clinton. "It can assist us in many ways if it is properly understood and contained. But we are racing headfirst into a new era of artificial intelligence that is going to have dramatic effects on how we live, how we think, how we relate to each other."
Clinton's says her worries stem, in part, from the effect the driverless car industry will have on the economy and the potential for millions of people — like cab drivers and delivery drivers — to lose their jobs in the era of autonomous cars. 
"We are totally unprepared for that," Clinton said. "What do we do when we are connected to the internet of things and everything we know and everything we say and everything we write is, you know, recorded somewhere? And it can be manipulated against us."
Clinton said that part of her plan in running for office in 2016 was to create a blue ribbon commission of people with varying expertise who could determine American policy on artificial intelligence.  And despite Clinton's admission that the tech industry is among the country's most admirable developing industries, she expressed concern at the trove of personal data being collected by leading tech companies and the role that sophisticated algorithms play in our day to day lives.
"That information can be used to sell products ... but it can also be used to stalk children, to purvey pornography, or in the case of our elections, to provide the channels for weaponizing information for political purposes," she said.
Clinton said she also had her doubts about tech companies owning up to the role they played in the 2016 election. Her worries are expressed just weeks after Facebook, Google, and Twitter were called upon to testify before Congress regarding the role their platforms played in Russia's interference with the 2016 election. 
"I think we’re kidding ourselves if we don’t know more about the role that the tech companies played," said Clinton.
Stephen Hawking's views:


Hawking often speaks about the development of artificial intelligence (AI) as the true perpetrator of the eventual demise of human beings. In an interview with WIRED Hawking said, “The genie is out of the bottle. I fear that AI may replace humans altogether.”

Stephen Hawking Warns A.I. Could End Mankind:


Interesting summary: 


Please, think about it.
The main issues is not about the technology itself, it is about how it is produced, where the money comes from, and how it could be use to satisfy the needs of a handful of powerful people who will be able to increase their power through it.
Then there is the issue of the environment. AI is everything but environment-friendly or even -oriented. 
Finally, there is the human dimension of creating super-expensive tools for the extremely rare super-rich... What about common people?
Technology is a tool; by essence, the machine is neutral. Einstein invented the atomic bomb and was the first man to regret it... 
Technology is what humans make of it. And if you look at who is ruling our world nowadays, politically and financially - not forgetting the major issue of tax evasion, which is the real core weakness of this capitalistic system (which could produce less poverty if the evasion was stopped) - are you really willing to give these men such new tools?