24/07/2017

"En dehors de la zone de confort" : Après la lecture



Quelques mots de lecteurs...


Ce livre est merveilleux, il reflète tellement bien toute cette mouvance... J'ai 43 ans, j'ai vu de nombreuses fois Massive, Portishead, Tricky, un émorme pan de ma vie. Je pense que je le relirai encore très souvent, quelle immersion!
 - Christophe P.


En lecture captivante sur les origines de la tendance musicale la plus innovante de ces 30 dernières années où comment la connexion entre une ville et ses habitants fabrique une culture propre en dehors de la zone de confort. Bristol a été désignée European Green Capital en 2015, on y parle 91 langues et la culture est très présente. Merci Papa Noël pour me permettre de découvrir comment Massive Attack, Banksy et Tricky ont été influencés par leur ville.
 - Jérémie M.


"Je terminé ce matin la lecture d'un bouquin sur un mec (Robert Del Naja) un groupe (Massive Attack) et une scène (Bristol : Banksy Tricky TopleyBird Portishead). Qui est absolument genial tant il recoupe avec intelligence et finesse les problématiques de la création artistique et de l'engagement politique motivé par le questionnement de l'histoire.  Ca s'appelle En dehors de la Zone de confort de Mélissa Chemam."
 - Véronique S.


"L'aventure Bristolienne revit au fil des pages avec en toile de fond l'omniprésence de 3D. Bravo pour ce travail rigoureux qui place toute la sphère de créativité qui gravite autour de Massive Attack dans l'histoire de l'art contemporaine. Et ce n'est pas fini..."
 - T. 

"L’essai musical de l’année s'appelle 'En dehors de la zone de confort'. Il s’agit là d’en encourager sa jeune auteur, Melissa Chemam, parce qu’elle représente "une enfant de Pierre Barouh", cette jeune génération de Français(es) qui partent à l’étranger pour découvrir de nouveaux horizons, en capter les énergies et revenir en France pour raconter ce qu’ils ont vu. Tout à coup, ils ont deux pôles pour magnétiser leur vie, ils marchent sur deux jambes, ils peuvent comparer les sensations de là-bas et d’ici, ils voient là-bas des choses que les locaux ne peuvent pas voir ici. En tombant à la FNAC sur l’essai de Melissa traitant des enfants prodiges de Bristol (Massive Attack, Portishead, Banksy), je croyais découvrir la traduction d’un livre anglais en français. Vu le sujet, c’était déjà inespéré. Mais non, Melissa Chemam était bien une des nôtres partie là-bas pour faire son enquête. Depuis, nous nous sommes rencontrés, et à chaque minute de notre conversation, la pertinence de son champ d’investigation me semblait un peu plus frappante. En réécoutant Massive Attack de 1991 à 2016, peut-être que la chose vous deviendra aussi obsédante que pour moi depuis un mois et la lecture de cet essai. Pas eu une telle épiphanie depuis "L’intuition Jorge Ben" à Recife en 2002, celle qui a provoqué l'aventure Oba Oba Oba avec Pierre. Et la boucle est bouclée."
 - Benjamin R.





Présentation :


Qu’ont en commun le Pont suspendu d’Isambart Brunel, l’acteur Cary Grant, le groupe Massive Attack, le plasticien Damian Hirst et l’artiste de rue Banksy ? Ils sont tous originaires de Bristol, une ville moyenne de l’ouest de l’Angleterre. Une ville marquée par une histoire riche et complexe, mais encore jamais racontée !

Marquée par une fortune précoce liée à l’ouverture de l’Angleterre vers l’Amérique, elle devient aussi un des points névralgiques du commerce triangulaire. C’est justement cette histoire qui va nourrir, de manière inédite et radicale, la génération d’artistes éclose à Bristol à partir de la fin des années 1970. Post-punk et reggae se rencontrent autour de groupes comme Black Roots, le Pop Group puis The Wild Bunch.

Tout prend forme lorsque qu’un jeune graffeur anglo-italien du nom de Robert Del Naja signe du pseudonyme de 3D sa première œuvre de rue sur un mur de la ville en 1983. Avant de fonder le groupe Massive Attack en 1988 avec les DJs Grantley Marshall et Andrew Vowles, il rencontrera sur sa route les pionniers du post-punk de Londres et Bristol, les passionnées de reggae antillais du quartier de Saint Pauls, puis la chanteuse Neneh Cherry et le rappeur Tricky. Creuset inattendu mêlant hip-hop, reggae, soul et guitares rebelles, le premier album de Massive Attack, Blue Lines, sort en 1991 et provoque une révolution dans la culture populaire britannique. Massive Attack devient l’incarnation du succès d’un métissage à la britannique, et parviendra à toujours se renouveler, tenter de nouvelles révolutions et durer au-delà de nombreux mouvements musicaux des années 1990 et 2000, telles la Brit Pop, l’electronica et le drum and bass.

Dans le sillage de cette créativité débridée mêlant musique, art et implication sociale profonde, naissent aussi les groupes Portishead et Roni Size, les mouvements nommés trip-hop et dubstep, et le génial Banksy, inspiré dès son plus jeune âge par les graffitis de Robert Del Naja. Depuis, la profondeur artistique de ces artistes et leur engagement n’ont fait que se renforcer, tout comme leur lien avec leur ville. Ce lien va devenir le tremplin qui les porte jusqu’à l’autre bout du monde, de l’Amérique à Gaza. Il pousse aussi très tôt Robert Del Naja à se mobiliser – contre la guerre d’Irak, pour les droits des Palestiniens ou plus récemment pour l’accueil des réfugiés jetés sur les routes européennes. Rébellion, art, musique, engagement, Bristol synthétise ainsi une autre histoire du Royaume-Uni. Une histoire qui amène au sommet des charts et sur le devant de la scène de parfaits autodidactes et la part plurielle et afro-antillaise de la culture britannique.

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23/07/2017

From Giles Duley to PJ Harvey


Listening to this interview:
In 'Sunday Morning With...' on BBC Scotland:
After becoming disillusioned with the celebrity scene, Giles Duley turned his back on rock and fashion photography and turned his skill towards capturing the plight of those affected by war and poverty. However, while working in Afghanistan in 2011, Giles' life changed forever when he stood on a landmine. He lost both his lower legs and his left arm. He talks to Ricky about his life and his latest collection of refugee photographs, 'I Can Only Tell You What My Eyes See'.
Listen here:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08wn2zq


Ending on that choice of song:

PJ Harvey - 'A Place Called Home'




A song I love deeply from an album that is very special to me (Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea).

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Lyrics, as always:



"A Place Called Home"

One day
I know
We'll find
A place of hope
Just hold on to me
Just hold on to me
Walk tight
One line
You're wanted
This time
There's no-one to blame
Just hold on to me

And I'm right on time
And the birds keep singing
And you're right on line
And the bells keep ringing
 come on my love
And the battle is won
And the planes keep winging
And I'm right on time
And the girl keeps singing

I walk
I wade
Through full lands
And lonely
I stumble
I stumble
With you
I wait
To be born
Again
With love comes the day
Just hold on to me

Now is the time to follow through, to read the signs
Now the message is sent, let's bring it to it's final end

One-day-I-know-there'll-be-a-place-for-us.



Bedouine - "Solitary Daughter"



Real woman's talk....

"I don’t need your company to feel saved"...


Bedouine - "Solitary Daughter"






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Lyrics:

with the conviction of the woman you made me i find blades of grass from the island you lent me i find on every floor, in every drawer though i’m not an island i’m a body of water jeweled in the evening - a solitary daughter if picked at by noon, by midnight i’m ruined leave me alone to the books & the radio snow leave me alone to the charcoal & the dancing shadow if each blade of grass was meant here for me split apart, sliced, and wedged in for me who’s going to treat it? i’m not going to need it leave me alone to the books & the radio snow leave me alone to the charcoal & dancing shadow i am a lake, don’t need to be watered i am an ocean, i don’t need to barter i play with the moon, my only friend it pushes it pulls me i don’t pay the rent i don’t need the walls to bury my grave i don’t need your company to feel saved i don’t need the sunlight, my curtains don’t draw i don’t need objects to keep or to pawn i don’t want your pity, concern, or your scorn i’m calm by my lonesome i feel right at home and when the wind blows, i get to dancing my fun is the rhythm of air when it’s prancing i play with the moon, my only friend… leave me alone to the books & the radio snow leave me alone to the charcoal & dancing shadow



20/07/2017

"Protest and persist: why giving up hope is not an option", Rebecca Solnit


This article from March 2017 was posted again today by a Festival I follow.

Couldn't come at a better time.

As a women, as a daughter of immigrants, as a journalist working on post-conflict, social change and fights for equality, as an author of a book named Out Of The Comfort Zone... I couldn't agree more.

Enjoy.

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Protest and persist: why giving up hope is not an option

The true impact of activism may not be felt for a generation. That alone is reason to fight, rather than surrender to despair 
Monday 13 March 2017 - The Guardian

Link: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/mar/13/protest-persist-hope-trump-activism-anti-nuclear-movement?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other




Last month, Daniel Ellsberg and Edward Snowden had a public conversation about democracy, transparency, whistleblowing and more. In the course of it, Snowden – who was of course Skyping in from Moscow – said that without Ellsberg’s example he would not have done what he did to expose the extent to which the NSA was spying on millions of ordinary people. It was an extraordinary declaration. It meant that the consequences of Ellsberg’s release of the top-secret Pentagon Papers in 1971 were not limited to the impact on a presidency and a war in the 1970s. The consequences were not limited to people alive at that moment. His act was to have an impact on people decades later – Snowden was born 12 years after Ellsberg risked his future for the sake of his principles. Actions often ripple far beyond their immediate objective, and remembering this is reason to live by principle and act in hope that what you do matters, even when results are unlikely to be immediate or obvious.

The most important effects are often the most indirect. I sometimes wonder when I’m at a mass march like the Women’s March a month ago whether the reason it matters is because some unknown young person is going to find her purpose in life that will only be evident to the rest of us when she changes the world in 20 years, when she becomes a great liberator.
I began talking about hope in 2003, in the bleak days after the war in Iraq was launched. Fourteen years later, I use the term hope because it navigates a way forward between the false certainties of optimism and of pessimism, and the complacency or passivity that goes with both. Optimism assumes that all will go well without our effort; pessimism assumes it’s all irredeemable; both let us stay home and do nothing. Hope for me has meant a sense that the future is unpredictable, and that we don’t actually know what will happen, but know we may be able write it ourselves. 

Hope is a belief that what we do might matter, an understanding that the future is not yet written. It’s informed, astute open-mindedness about what can happen and what role we may play in it. Hope looks forward, but it draws its energies from the past, from knowing histories, including our victories, and their complexities and imperfections. It means not being the perfect that is the enemy of the good, not snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, not assuming you know what will happen when the future is unwritten, and part of what happens is up to us. 

We are complex creatures. Hope and anguish can coexist within us and in our movements and analyses. There’s a scene in the new movie about James Baldwin, I Am Not Your Negro, in which Robert Kennedy predicts, in 1968, that in 40 years there will be a black president. It’s an astonishing prophecy since four decades later Barack Obama wins the presidential election, but Baldwin jeers at it because the way Kennedy has presented it does not acknowledge that even the most magnificent pie in the sky might comfort white people who don’t like racism but doesn’t wash away the pain and indignation of black people suffering that racism in the here and now. Patrisse Cullors, one of the founders of Black Lives Matter, early on described the movement’s mission as “rooted in grief and rage but pointed towards vision and dreams”. The vision of a better future doesn’t have to deny the crimes and sufferings of the present; it matters because of that horror. 

I have been moved and thrilled and amazed by the strength, breadth, depth and generosity of the resistance to the Trump administration and its agenda. I did not anticipate anything so bold, so pervasive, something that would include state governments, many government employees from governors and mayors to workers in many federal departments, small towns in red states, new organizations like the 6,000 chapters of Indivisible reportedly formed since the election, new and fortified immigrant-rights groups, religious groups, one of the biggest demonstrations in American history with the Women’s March on 21 January, and so much more.

Optimism assumes all will go well without our effort; pessimism assumes it’s all irredeemable; both let us do nothing

I’ve also been worried about whether it will endure. Newcomers often think that results are either immediate or they’re nonexistent. That if you don’t succeed straight away, you failed. Such a framework makes many give up and go back home when the momentum is building and victories are within reach. This is a dangerous mistake I’ve seen over and over. What follows is the defense of a complex calculus of change, instead of the simple arithmetic of short-term cause and effect. 

There’s a bookstore I love in Manhattan, the Housing Works bookshop, which I’ve gone to for years for a bite to eat and a superb selection of used books. Last October my friend Gavin Browning, who works at Columbia University but volunteers with Housing Works, reminded me what the name means. Housing Works is a spinoff of Act Up, the Aids Coalition to Unleash Power, founded at the height of the Aids crisis, to push for access to experimental drugs, bring awareness to the direness of the epidemic, and not go gentle into that bad night of premature death. 

What did Act Up do? The group of furious, fierce activists, many of them dangerously ill and dying, changed how we think about Aids. They pushed to speed up drug trials, deal with the many symptoms and complications of Aids together, pushed on policy, education, outreach, funding. They taught people with Aids and their allies in other countries how to fight the drug companies for affordable access to what they needed. And win.

Browning recently wrote: “At the start of the 1990s, New York City had less than 350 units of housing set aside for an estimated 13,000 homeless individuals living with HIV/Aids. In response, four members of the Act Up housing committee founded Housing Works in 1990.” They still quietly provide a broad array of services, including housing, to HIV-positive people 27 years later. All I saw was a bookstore; I missed a lot. Act Up’s work is not over, in any sense. 

For many groups, movements and uprisings, there are spinoffs, daughters, domino effects, chain reactions, new models and examples and templates and toolboxes that emerge from the experiments, and every round of activism is an experiment whose results can be applied to other situations. To be hopeful, we need not only to embrace uncertainty but to be willing to know that the consequences may be immeasurable, may still be unfolding, may be as indirect as poor people on other continents getting access to medicine because activists in the USA stood up and refused to accept things as they were. Think of hope as a banner woven from those gossamer threads, from a sense of the interconnectedness of all things, of the lasting effect of the best actions, not only the worst. Of an indivisible world in which everything matters. 

An old woman said at the outset of Occupy Wall Street “we’re fighting for a society in which everyone is important”, the most beautifully concise summary of what a compassionately radical, deeply democratic movement might aim to do. Occupy Wall Street was mocked and described as chaotic and ineffectual in its first weeks, and then when it spread nationwide and beyond, as failing or failed, by pundits who had simple metrics of what success should look like. The original occupation in lower Manhattan was broken up in November 2011, but many of the encampments inspired by it lasted far longer.

Occupy launched a movement against student debt and opportunistic for-profit colleges; it shed light on the pain and brutality of the financial collapse and the American debt-peonage system. It called out economic inequality in a new way. California passed a homeowner’s bill of rights to push back at predatory lenders; a housing defense movement arose in the wake of Occupy that, house by house, protected many vulnerable homeowners. Each Occupy had its own engagement with local government and its own projects; a year ago people involved with local Occupies told me the thriving offshoots still make a difference. Occupy persists, but you have to learn to recognize the myriad forms in which it does so, none of which look much like Occupy Wall Street as a crowd in a square in lower Manhattan. 

Similarly, I think it’s a mistake to regard the gathering of tribes and activists at Standing Rock, North Dakota, as something we can measure by whether or not it defeats a pipeline. You could go past that to note that merely delaying completion beyond 1 January cost the investors a fortune, and that the tremendous movement that has generated widespread divestment and a lot of scrutiny of hitherto invisible corporations and environmental destruction makes building pipelines look like a riskier, potentially less profitable business. 
Standing Rock was vaster than these practical things. At its height it was almost certainly the biggest political gathering of Native North Americans ever seen, said to be the first time all seven bands of the Lakota had come together since they defeated Custer at Little Bighorn in 1876, one that made an often-invisible tribe visible around the world. What unfolded there seemed as though it might not undo one pipeline but write a radical new chapter to a history of more than 500 years of colonial brutality, centuries of loss, dehumanization and dispossession. Thousands of veterans came to defend the encampment and help prevent the pipeline. In one momentous ceremony, many of the former soldiers knelt down to apologize and ask forgiveness for the US army’s long role in oppressing Native Americans. Like the Native American occupation of Alcatraz Island at the end of the 1960s, Standing Rock has been a catalyst for a sense of power, pride, destiny. It is an affirmation of solidarity and interconnection, an education for people who didn’t know much about native rights and wrongs, an affirmation for Native people who often remember history in passionate detail. It is a confirmation of the deep ties between the climate movement and indigenous rights that has played a huge role in stopping pipelines in and from Canada. It has inspired and informed young people who may have half a century or more of good work yet to do. It has been a beacon whose meaning stretches beyond that time and place.

To know history is to be able to see beyond the present, to remember the past gives you capacity to look forward as well, it’s to see that everything changes and the most dramatic changes are often the most unforeseen. I want to go into one part of our history at greater length to explore these questions about consequences that go beyond simple cause and effect.

**

The 1970s anti-nuclear movement was a potent force in its time, now seldom remembered, though its influence is still with us. In her important new book Direct Action: Protest and the Reinvention of American Radicalism, LA Kauffman reports that the first significant action against nuclear power, in 1976, was inspired by an extraordinary protest the previous year in West Germany, which had forced the government to abandon plans to build a nuclear reactor. A group that called itself the Clamshell Alliance arose to oppose building a nuclear power plant in New Hampshire. Despite creative tactics, great movement building, and extensive media coverage against the Seabrook nuclear power plant in New Hampshire, the activists did not stop the plant.

They did inspire a sister organization, the Abalone Alliance in central California, which used similar strategies to try to stop the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant. The groups protested against two particular nuclear power plants; those two plants opened anyway. 
You can call that a failure, but Kauffman notes that it inspired people around the country to organize their own anti-nuclear groups, a movement that brought about the cancellation of more than 100 planned nuclear projects over several years and raised public awareness and changed public opinion about nuclear power. Then she gets into the really exciting part, writing that the Clamshell Alliance’s “most striking legacy was in consolidating and promoting what became the dominant model for large-scale direct-action organizing for the next 40 years. It was picked up by … the Pledge of Resistance, a nationwide network of groups organized against US policy in Central America” in the 1980s. 

“Hundreds more employed it that fall in a civil disobedience action to protest the supreme court’s anti-gay Bowers vs Hardwick sodomy decision,” Kauffman continues. “The Aids activist group Act Up used a version of this model when it organized bold takeovers of the headquarters of the Food and Drug Administration in 1988 and the National Institutes of Health in 1990, to pressure both institution to take swifter action toward approving experimental Aids medication.” And on into the current millennium. But what were the strategies and organizing principles they catalyzed?

The short answer is non-violent direct action, externally, and consensus decision-making process, internally. The former has a history that reaches around the world, the latter that stretches back to the early history of European dissidents in North America. That is, non-violence is a strategy articulated by Mohandas Gandhi, first used by residents of Indian descent to protest against discrimination in South Africa on 11 September 1906. The young lawyer’s sense of possibility and power was expanded immediately afterward when he traveled to London to pursue his cause. Three days after he arrived, British women battling for the right to vote occupied the British parliament, and 11 were arrested, refused to pay their fines, and were sent to prison. They made a deep impression on Gandhi.

He wrote about them in a piece titled “Deeds Better than Words” quoting Jane Cobden, the sister of one of the arrestees, who said, “I shall never obey any law in the making of which I have had no hand; I will not accept the authority of the court executing those laws …” Gandhi declared: “Today the whole country is laughing at them, and they have only a few people on their side. But undaunted, these women work on steadfast in their cause. They are bound to succeed and gain the franchise …” And he saw that if they could win, so could the Indian citizens in British Africa fighting for their rights. In the same article (in 1906!) he prophesied: “When the time comes, India’s bonds will snap of themselves.” Ideas are contagious, emotions are contagious, hope is contagious, courage is contagious. When we embody those qualities, or their opposites, we convey them to others. 


You do what you can. What you’ve done may do more than you can imagine for generations to come

That is to say, British suffragists, who won limited access to the vote for women in 1918, full access in 1928, played a part in inspiring an Indian man who 20 years later led the liberation of the Asian subcontinent from British rule. He, in turn, inspired a black man in the American south to study his ideas and their application. After a 1959 pilgrimage to India to meet with Gandhi’s heirs, Martin Luther King wrote: “While the Montgomery boycott was going on, India’s Gandhi was the guiding light of our technique of non-violent social change. We spoke of him often.” Those techniques, further developed by the civil rights movement, were taken up around the world, including in the struggle against apartheid at one end of the African continent and to the Arab spring at the other. 

Participation in the civil rights movement of the early 1960s shaped many lives. One of them is John Lewis, one of the first Freedom Riders, a young leader of the lunch counter sit-ins, a victim of a brutal beating that broke his skull on the Selma march. Lewis was one of the boldest in questioning Trump’s legitimacy and he led dozens of other Democratic members of Congress in boycotting the inauguration. When the attack on Muslim refugees and immigrants began a week after Trump’s inauguration, he showed up at the Atlanta airport. 

That’s a lot to take in. But let me put it this way. When those women were arrested in parliament, they were fighting for the right of British women to vote. They succeeded in liberating themselves. But they also passed along tactics, spirit and defiance. You can trace a lineage backward to the anti-slavery movement that inspired the American women’s suffrage movement, forward right up to John Lewis standing up for refugees and Muslims in the Atlanta airport this year. We are carried along by the heroines and heroes who came before and opened the doors of possibility and imagination.

My partner likes to quote a line of Michel Foucault: “People know what they do; frequently they know why they do what they do; but what they don’t know is what what they do does.” You do what you can. What you’ve done may do more than you can imagine for generations to come. You plant a seed and a tree grows from it; will there be fruit, shade, habitat for birds, more seeds, a forest, wood to build a cradle or a house? You don’t know. A tree can live much longer than you. So will an idea, and sometimes the changes that result from accepting that new idea about what is true, right, just remake the world. You do what you can do; you do your best; what what you do does is not up to you.

**


That’s a way to remember the legacy of the external practice of non-violent civil disobedience used by the anti-nuclear movement of the 1970s, as with the civil rights movement of the 1960s, which did so much to expand and refine the techniques.

As for the internal process: in Direct Action, Kauffman addresses the Clamshell Alliance’s influences, quoting a participant named Ynestra King who said: “Certain forms that had been learned from feminism were just naturally introduced into the situation and a certain ethos of respect, which was reinforced by the Quaker tradition.” Suki Rice and Elizabeth Boardman, early participants in the Clamshell Alliance, as Kauffman relates, were influenced by the Quakers, and they brought the Quaker practice of consensus decision-making to the new group: “The idea was to ensure that no one’s voice was silenced, that there was no division between leaders and followers.” The Quakers have been since the 17th century radical dissidents who opposed war, hierarchical structures and much else. An organizer named Joanne Sheehan said, “while non-violence training, doing actions in small groups, and agreeing to a set of non-violence guidelines were not new, it was new to blend them in combination with a commitment to consensus decision-making and a non-hierarchical structure.” They were making a way of operating and organizing that spread throughout the progressive activist world. 

There are terrible stories about how diseases like Aids jump species and mutate. There are also ideas and tactics that jump communities and mutate, to our benefit. There is an evil term, collateral damage, for the people who die unintentionally: the civilians, non-participants, etc. Maybe what I am proposing here is an idea of collateral benefit. 

Ideas are contagious, hope is contagious, courage is contagious. When we embody those qualities we convey them to others


What we call democracy is often a majority rule that leaves the minority, even 49.9% of the people – or more if it’s a three-way vote – out in the cold. Consensus leaves no one out. After Clamshell, it jumped into radical politics and reshaped them, making them more generously inclusive and egalitarian. And it’s been honed and refined and used by nearly every movement I’ve been a part of or witnessed, from the anti-nuclear actions at the Nevada test site in the 1980s and 1990s to the organization of the shutdown of the World Trade Organization in late 1999, a victory against neoliberalism that changed the fate of the world, to Occupy Wall Street in 2011 and after. 

So what did the Clamshell Alliance achieve? Everything but its putative goal. Tools to change the world, over and over. There are crimes against humanity, crimes against nature, and other forms of destruction that we need to stop as rapidly as possible, and the endeavors to do so are under way. They are informed by these earlier activists, equipped with the tools they developed. But the efforts against these things can have a longer legacy, if we learn to recognize collateral benefits and indirect effects.

If you are a member of civil society, if you demonstrate and call your representatives and donate to human rights campaigns, you will see politicians and judges and the powerful take or be given credit for the changes you effected, sometimes after resisting and opposing them. You will have to believe in your own power and impact anyway. You will have to keep in mind that many of our greatest victories are what doesn’t happen: what isn’t built or destroyed, deregulated or legitimized, passed into law or tolerated in the culture. Things disappear because of our efforts and we forget they were there, which is a way to forget we tried and won.

Even losing can be part of the process: as the bills to abolish slavery in the British empire failed over and over again, the ideas behind them spread, until 27 years after the first bill was introduced, a version finally passed. You will have to remember that the media usually likes to tell simple, direct stories in which if a court rules or an elective body passes a law, that action reflects the actors’ own beneficence or insight or evolution. They will seldom go further to explore how that perspective was shaped by the nameless and unsung, by the people whose actions built up a new world or worldview the way that innumerable corals build a reef.

The only power adequate to stop the Trump administration is civil society, which is the great majority of us when we remember our power and come together. And even if we remember, even if we exert all the pressure we’re capable of, even if the administration collapses immediately, or the president resigns or is impeached or melts into a puddle of corruption, our work will only have begun.

**

That job begins with opposing the Trump administration but will not end until we have made deep systemic changes and recommitted ourselves, not just as a revolution, because revolutions don’t last, but as a civil society with values of equality, democracy, inclusion, full participation, a radical e pluribus unum plus compassion. As has often been noted, the Republican revolution that allowed them to take over so many state houses and take power far beyond their numbers came partly from corporate cash, but partly from the willingness to do the slow, plodding, patient work of building and maintaining power from the ground up and being in it for the long run. And partly from telling stories that, though often deeply distorting the facts and forces at play, were compelling. This work is always, first and last, storytelling work, or what some of my friends call “the battle of the story”. Building, remembering, retelling, celebrating our own stories is part of our work. 

I want to see this glorious resistance have a long game, one that includes re-enfranchising the many millions, perhaps tens of millions of people of color, poor people, and students disenfranchised by many means: the Crosscheck program, voter ID laws that proceed from the falsehood that voter fraud is a serious problem that affects election outcomes, the laws taking voting rights in most states from those convicted of felonies. I am encouraged to see many idealistic activists bent on reforming the Democratic party, and a new level of participation inside and outside electoral politics. Reports say that the offices of elected officials are swamped with calls and emails as never before. 

This will only matter if it’s sustained. To sustain it, people have to believe that the myriad small, incremental actions matter. That they matter even when the consequences aren’t immediate or obvious. They must remember that often when you fail at your immediate objective – to block a nominee or a pipeline or to pass a bill – that even then you may have changed the whole framework in ways that make broader change inevitable. You may change the story or the rules, give tools, templates or encouragement to future activists, and make it possible for those around you to persist in their efforts. 

To believe it matters – well, we can’t see the future. We have the past. Which gives us patterns, models, parallels, principles and resources, and stories of heroism, brilliance, persistence, and the deep joy to be found in doing the work that matters. With those in our pockets, we can seize the possibilities and begin to make hopes into actualities.

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Legacy of a decision


This is what Thom Yorke said at their show in Tel Aviv: “A lot was said about this, but in the end we played some music”... Before playing 'Karma Police.

Come someone who says he knows all is need about the Israeli / Palestinian situation, who doesn't want to be lectured, such a lack of understanding is appalling.

Every musician is free of movement, expression and choice. But as a long-time fan of their music, I must say, I'm really, really disappointed. 

We all change and evolve. In better or worst. I'm not going to be able to listen at Thom Yorke's preaching on the so numerous issues he addresses the same way as I did perviously. Because it comes down at where you draw the line. For him, as long a subject touch their little comfort as a band, as Colin Greenwood is married to an Israeli artist and has many projects ongoing with Israeli musicians, their so-called moral can be on pause. 

Well, don't call yourself committed to anything then. And don't go rag with an eco-friendly record packaging... 

Again, really, really disappointing. 

Quoting Pitchfork:


Artists for Palestine UK—the group who organized the petition against Radiohead’s concert—released a follow-up statement, saying Yorke “once again fails to make any mention of the Palestinians who suffer under Israel’s regime.” Film director Mike Leigh later released his own personal statement in critique of Yorke’s defensiveness. The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) also took a shot at the band, accusing them of “professing to know better than [Palestinian people], in a classic colonial attitude.”

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You can read more on how the right-wing press and politicians used the show to promote their idea of domination on Artists for Palestine's website. Just one example: 


 Radiohead gig promoted by Israeli diplomatic missions around the world

July 29, 2017

Radiohead are a band that many had associated with progressive politics. But now it turns out they have an extraordinary following among Israeli diplomats and right-wing conservatives. From US radio host Glenn Beck and Tea Party Patriots co-founder Mark Meckler, a range of around twenty Israel lobby groups, and thirteen Israeli diplomatic missions around the world from Ireland to Colombia, these groups are united in their explicit contempt for the indigenous Palestinian people’s lives.

The Jerusalem Post described Radiohead’s Israel gig and Thom Yorke’s rejection of the Palestinian call for BDS as “the best hasbara [advocacy] Israel has received lately”. Thom Yorke has defended their decision saying that “playing in a country isn’t the same as endorsing its government”, but the Israeli government and its supporters certainly do endorse Radiohead.Palestinian, Israeli and UK artists and activists have repeatedly pointed to the inevitable instrumentalisation of the band’s appearance in Tel Aviv by Israel and its supporters.

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More here:



Into "The God Of Small Things"


 As much as I love travelling, there is one thing that home is good for... it is efficiently writing. As much as I write everywhere, all the time, when it comes to get things ordered, mastered, edited and full-time invested, Paris and my flat is the place for me. Despite the noise and hectic-ness.

And writing is an activity that implies reading, re-reading, proofreading but also simply reading others.... Reading and loving it passionately.

Luckily, this month, I'm spending a glorious time with The God Of Small Things, published in 1997 by Arundhati Roy, thanks to my dear friend Amy whom I visited in London last month.

It is a compelling story set in India, involving a whole family and especially two twin brother and sister, Estha and Rahel, too soon separated by life, and unable to live a fulfilled life without the other...

..."He couldn't be expected to understand that. That the emptiness in one twin was only a version of the quietness in the other. That the two things fitted together. Like stacked spoons. Like familiar lovers' bodies".






2017, yet, has been a difficult year for writing.

First, there is the international political (disastrous) context, impacting me, as always, and my work (as a journalist).

Second, writers' worst enemy, I learnt cruelly, is not laziness or distraction, or the 'white page' fear. It is the publisher. Most of them have turnt into socks sellers, or maybe have they always been. Most stories with depth are stopped even before they reach the stage of a draft because publishers discourage writers to be ambitious, daring, to renew themselves and their writing.

I was lucky enough to find a wonderfully indulgent protection in my first experience in publishing, thanks to Editions Anne Carrière and my friend Bertrand Dicale. My editor has been incredibly helpful.

But since then, so many projects have been killed in the way. And, just like in 2013/14 when I was looking for publishers to get interest in my novel, judgement, nepotism and discouragement.

Now I never thought I'd face this again so violently. Apparently, the most important person involved in making a book exist is not the writer or the person inspiring the book, it is the one paying the bill to get it out. They have the right to criticise your writing even before they read your manuscript! To suggest to shorten it or change the title, and to correct your research with their (wrong) suggestions...

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Now why do I still want to write in this world where everyone is too busy to leave their phone for more than a few minutes? Video, sound, online streaming are everywhere in the western World. Who needs a book? And even if some needed, there are so many products on the tables now. Publishers are releasing so many items, looking for the bestseller or simply to fill in the void and renew their offer, than even the reader keen to look for a good book might struggle to find it.

I don't think I can answer to my own question in this post. Too tired. And too busy still dreaming of my next book! You cannot take the passion out of a naturally passionate person. And I won't really try to apologise for that.

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Maybe, it is about looking for the "small things" that really matter. Peace, joy, friendship, poetry in the prose and the right, simple words. The story of everyday people who managed to build and create some things really, truly great, magical, powerful and inspirational. The story of people going through life to come back changed and to learn the most important values, to grow and help themselves understand who they are and what is the meaning behind this senseless world.

But what do I know?

You should maybe ask a publisher instead. They'll tell you what a story really is: some suspens, a good construction that can keep the busy reader long enough for them to buy another product.

Or you can choose your own reason. And feel free to share it.


19/07/2017

'Her'


What do we actually love when we love?



'Her' 

Movie - with Joaquin Phoenix, Scarlett Johansson 


By Spike Jonze

TRAILER 1 (2013)  





A lonely writer develops an unlikely relationship with his newly-purchased operating system that's designed to meet his every need.


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Bristol à Faugères, le 23 août 2017



Prochaine rencontre consacré à Bristol et Massive Attack, autour de mon livre, En dehors de la zone de confort, dans l'Hérault cet été!





Les détails:




A partir de 19h au Trois Tours – Moulins de Faugères

« Les Transversales des Moulins »

(Littérature, musique, artistes peintres, dégustations avec les vignerons, produits du terroir, possibilité de restauration dans un lieu unique)

Mercredi 23 août

Nous refermons cette 3ème édition avec la journaliste Melissa Chemam qui nous entraînera 
« hors de la zone de confort », dans une plongée romanesque dans le Bristol des années 1990 à la rencontre de Massive Attack, Portishead et Banksy. 

La soirée se clôturera en musique avec un DJ set consacré à ces artistes bristoliens.

Nous accueillons également le Groupe Téquila Sunrise : trois musiciens et chanteuse style Reggae et Soft Rock.



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Tout le programme des Transversales 2017 :

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A bientôt à Faugères, ou Lyon. Suivront un autre événement à Paris durant l'automne, et, je l'espère, un à Bordeaux, ville jumelée avec Bristol!

Viendra ensuite le temps d'une rencontre à Londres, puis bien sûr à Bristol... Mais chaque chose en son temps!



'Electric Blue' / Everything Now


Word for word I could have written these lyrics...
"Electric blue" is a key colour in one of my short stories. On January the 31st, 2015, I even wrote a poem named 'Sing Your Blues', inspired by my coming travel to Bristol.

Thank you Arcade Fire. You are always relevant to me!
Just like The Suburbs was when I was living in Kenya and Reflektor was when I came back from Central African Republic... What an album! Inspired by the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. masterpiece full of soul-ness..
Looking forward to hearing Everything Now.

Here is 'Electric Blue':



Arcade Fire - 'Electric Blue' (Official Video)




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Published on 13 Jul 2017

Listen to or download 'Electric Blue': http://smarturl.it/AFElectricBlue?IQi...
From the upcoming album 'Everything Now', available for pre-order now: http://smarturl.it/EverythingNow?IQid=yt

Directed by Cousin Club
Produced by Julia Simpson


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Lyrics


[Verse 1]
Summer's gone and so are you
See the sky electrocute
A thousand boys that look like you
Cover my eyes electric blue

[Refrain]
Now I can't get my head around it
I thought I found it
But I found out I don't know shit
Now I can't get my head around it
I thought I found it
But I found out

[Verse 2]
A thousand girls that look like me
Staring out at the open sea
Repeat the words until they're true
Cover my eyes electric blue

[Refrain]
Now I can't get my head around it
I thought I found it
But I found out I don't know shit
Now I can't get my head around it
I thought I found it
But I found out

[Verse 3]
Now you've got me so confused
'Cause I don't know how to sing your blues
Jesus Christ, what could I do?
I don't know how to sing your blues

[Refrain]
Now I can't get my head around it
I thought I found it, but I found out

[Outro]
Cover my eyes electric blue
Cover my eyes electric blue
Every single night I dream about you
Every single night I dream about you
Cover my eyes electric blue
Cover my eyes electric blue
Every single night I dream about you
Every single night I dream about you
Cover my eyes electric blue
Cover my eyes electric blue
Every single night I dream about you
Every single night I dream about you
Cover my eyes electric blue
Cover my eyes electric blue
Every single night I dream about you
Every single night I dream about you
Cover my eyes electric blue
Cover my eyes electric blue
Every single night I dream about you
Every single night I dream about you
Cover my eyes electric blue
Cover my eyes electric blue
Every single night I dream about you
Every single night I dream about you
Cover my eyes electric blue
Cover my eyes electric blue
Every single night I dream about you
Every single night I dream about you