29/09/2012

Essaouira > Casablanca > Rabat

Frist trip to Morocco and so much done, so many places seen. We arrived at the Women's Tribune forum on Friday, after a first night in Essaouara where we interviewed lawyers, activists and political scientists on women issues in Africa.

More on the Women's Tribune:
http://www.womenstribunemaroc.org/

Today we took the road to Casablanca, drinving for five hours and crossing a huge part of this beautiful country, from its seacoast to its biggest city, through its dry areas and middle mountains.

Tommorow we will be in Rabat for a last interview, with a woman member of the founding party, Istiqlal.

More details when back in Paris...

28/09/2012

Working on Morocco

My first TV interview on Morocco:

http://www.alqarra.tv/2012/09/27/decryptage-dune-election-inedite-a-la-tete-de-listiqlal-avec-hamid-barrada/

It is in French, for Al Qarra TV, from Paris, with Morocco's specialist Hamid Barrada.


Le 27.09.201233 vues

Décryptage d’une élection inédite à la tête de l’Istiqlal avec Hamid Barrada , journaliste marocain


Le député-maire de Fès, Hamid Chabat, a été élu dimanche nouveau chef de l’Istiqlal, un des plus vieux partis du Maroc et deuxième force au sein de l’actuelle coalition gouvernementale, au terme d’un scrutin interne inédit.  
M. Chabat, un syndicaliste de 53 ans, a été choisi par plus de 900 militants au détriment d’Abdelouahed el-Fassi, fils d’un des leaders historiques de ce mouvement fondé en 1944. 

Par Melissa Chemam

24/09/2012

Cronicas Mexicanas: Mexico in Paris with Manuel Álvarez Bravo

En français dans le texte...

A partir du 16 octobre prochain, le Jeu de Paume présentera une exposition consacrée à Manuel Álvarez Bravo avec une sélection de photographies emblématiques de son œuvre mais également ses courts-métrages inédits en France.



Développée durant huit décennies, l’œuvre photographique de cet artiste mexicain constitue un jalon essentiel de la culture mexicaine du XXe siècle.

http://www.jeudepaume.org/index.php?page=article&idArt=1505&lieu=1


Manuel Álvarez Bravo.
Un photographe aux aguets (1902-2002)
du 16 octobre 2012 au 20 janvier 2013
 
 
 
Développée durant huit décennies, l’œuvre photographique de Manuel Álvarez Bravo (Mexico, 1902-2002) constitue un jalon essentiel de la culture mexicaine du XXe siècle. À la fois étrange et fascinante, sa photographie a souvent été perçue comme le produit imaginaire d’un pays exotique, ou comme une dérive excentrique de l’avant-garde surréaliste.
L’exposition veut dépasser ces lectures. Sans nier le lien avec le surréalisme ou les clichés liés à la culture mexicaine, cette sélection de 150 images vise à mettre en lumière un ensemble spécifique de motifs iconographiques dans le travail de Manuel Álvarez Bravo : les reflets et trompe-l’oeil de la grande métropole ; les corps gisants, réduits à de simples masses ; les volumes de tissus laissant entrevoir des fragments de corps ; les décors minimalistes à l’harmonie géométrique ; les objets à signification ambiguë…

L’exposition porte un regard neuf sur l'œuvre d'Álvarez Bravo, sans la restreindre à un ensemble d’images emblématiques avec leur lecture stéréotypée et dévoile des aspects peu connus de sa photographie, d’une pertinence et d’une actualité remarquables. Sa production constitue un discours poétique à part entière, autonome et cohérent, patiemment élaboré au fil du temps.
Or c’est justement cela, le temps, qui donne son unité au tissu imaginaire de la photographie de l'artiste. Derrière ces images aussi poétiques que troublantes, telles des hiéroglyphes, se cache une intention cinématique permettant de rendre compte de leur qualité formelle, mais aussi de leur nature séquentielle : ne pourrait-on pas voir les photographies d’Álvarez Bravo comme les images fixes d’un film ?
L’exposition évoque cette hypothèse en confrontant ses images les plus célèbres à de courts films expérimentaux des années 1960, provenant de ses archives familiales. Sont également exposées une série d’images tardives à caractère cinématique, et une sélection de tirages couleur et de Polaroïd. En partageant avec le public le processus d’expérimentation d’Álvarez Bravo, ce projet entend montrer que la qualité poétique de ses images procède d’une recherche permanente autour de la modernité et du langage.

Commissaires : Laura González Flores et Gerardo Mosquera
 
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More here:
http://lemexique.org/?p=1417

ICG publishes on Mali

The International Crisis Group has published today its latest report on the situation in Mali:

Mali: The Need for Determined and Coordinated International Action

Africa Briefing N°90 24 Sep 2012

OVERVIEW

"In the absence of rapid, firm and coherent decisions at the regional (Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS), continental (African Union, AU) and international (UN) levels by the end of September, the political, security, economic and social situation in Mali will deteriorate. All scenarios are still possible, including another military coup and social unrest in the capital, which risks undermining the transitional institutions and creating chaos that could allow religious extremism and terrorist violence to spread in Mali and beyond. None of the three actors sharing power, namely the interim president, Dioncounda Traoré, the prime minister, Cheick Modibo Diarra, and the ex-junta leader, Captain Amadou Sanogo, enjoys sufficient popular legitimacy or has the ability to prevent the aggravation of the crisis. The country urgently needs to mobilise the best Malian expertise irrespective of political allegiance rather than engaging in power plays that will lead the country to the verge of collapse"...


Here is the link to read the report:

And in French:

 

23/09/2012

Amexica, Don Winslow and Oliver Stone by Ed Vulliamy

This article by the excellent journalist Ed Vulliamy is presenting Oliver Stone next film about Mexico:

Oliver Stone tackles the drugs war in America's backyard

With his latest film Savages, the acclaimed US director turns his vision to the murderous narcotics-fuelled conflict in Mexico
Read here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2012/sep/23/oliver-stone-interview-savages-vulliamy

--

'Savages' was released on 21 September in the UK, in June in the US. It will be on September the 26th in France.

'Amexica: War Along the Borderline, the book by Ed Vulliamy on the war on drugs in the Americas is published in paperback by Vintage (you can vuy it at guardianbookshop.co.uk for £7.19 with free UK p&p).


The film "is an adaptation of a novel by the great American writer on the border and drug war, Don Winslow, about two men: Chon, a traumatised veteran of Afghanistan and Iraq, and Ben, a karmic botanist par excellence. Their combined experience and knowledge enables them to grow marijuana of unrivalled potency and quality. It also helps them secure the devotion of lovely blonde O, whom they share as a narcotic-erotic ménage à trois". 

 The novel by the same name, 'Savages'.


I was precisely reading 'The Power of the Dog' by Don Winslow during my trip in Mexico, thanks to a friend's friend I met in Mexico City. 

An extract I found so powerful, summarizing the current fate of extraordinary Mexico:

"America wants there to be a wall along the 2,000 miles it shares with Mexico, like the one that once ran beneath the window at which Stone sits in Berlin. But that is not going to happen when the border is also the busiest commercial frontier in the world, crossed by a million people every day."

Stone has a terrifying and convincing thesis as to why the film has to be set in America, with American characters, says Vulliamy: 

"The point," he says, "is that wars come home, they come home to roost. And there are connections: one of the two main guys has come home from Afghanistan and Iraq, and he's brought all that with him, what I think are new levels of cruelty and combat technology we have out there."

"Stone's conclusion focuses less on the economic backdrop in Mexico than the failure of the war on drugs", concludes Vulliamy. 



--

You can see the trailer here: http://www.allocine.fr/film/fichefilm_gen_cfilm=178686.html

With Salma Hayek, Benicio del Toro, John Travolta, Taylor Kitsch, Blake Lively, and Aaron Taylor-Johnson.

More on Don Winslow (NYT, 2010): http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/08/books/08book.html?_r=0


Countries in I...

Most people in the UK told me I look like I am from Iran. Most people in the rest of the world assume I am from Israel. Most voices in my head say I am from Italy, my favourite country I visited 20 times...
Iran, Israel, Italy.
All three countries I am very interested in.
Lucky me.

BBC Afrique en FM à Paris

A Paris, vous pouvez désormais écouter les principaux journaux de BBCAfrique sur Radio Africa Numero 1 en FM sur 107.5 à Paris, Melun et à Mantes-la-Jolie:

http://www.africa1.com/spip.php?rubrique29

22/09/2012

Cronicas Mexicanas - Thinking about Mexico, in pictures


Mexico, what a wonderful country you are. I am back in Europe and daydreaming about our trip. It feels like it was not real... Luckily, I have pieces of evidence I was actually there indeed.


Ciudad de Mexico, you captured my heart from the first day. I thought of Madrid, I had reminiscence of Rome, but you were beyond this familiarity, with your exotism and singularity.

 Palacio de Bellas Artes

Sorry Kenya and India, until now, you were reigning on my travel kingdom like princes, but really, have you ever been to a country for only ten days and been from wonders to wonders, great experiences to greater, met only adorable and interesting people, been welcomed like an awaited guest and praised to come again like no one seemed to have meant those words before? 

 El Zocalo de Mexico!
 
Mexico is beautiful, full of warmth and colours, lovable and generous. Its people is nothing but welcoming and straightforward, happy to meet visitors, fond of French people especially... Maybe because we have tastes in common? Good food, coffee, dancing, culture and the cult of independence.


 Coyoacan, coffee time

I am a terrible photographer but I just hope my pictures show how much I received there, how much I loved it and why.


 En el Museo de Arte Popular, Ciudad de Mexico


 La Casa Azul de l'artista Frida Kahlo en Coyoacan, Ciudad de Mexico

Distrito Federal, I miss you! 

--
 
More to come. Next: Teotihuacan, Oaxaca, Monte Alban.

Countries in M...

Today, Mali in Saint-Denis, with a concert for peace,
Tomorrow, Mexico in Vincennes at the Americas Literary Festival,
Thursday, Morocco, in person: Marrakech > Essaouira.

20/09/2012

The sound and the fury of literary discovery: Argentinean Poetess Alejandra Pizarnik

France Culture, this radio reads my mind and feeds my soul, quenches my expectations...

Tonight, some poetry reading from the Jewish Argentinean Poetess Alejandra Pizarnik - listen here:

http://www.franceculture.fr/emission-l-atelier-fiction-alejandra-pizarnik-par-beatrice-leca-2012-09-19


Choix de Poèmes et d’extraits du Journal

Par Béatrice Leca

Réalisation : Juliette Heymann


« Ecrire c’est donner un sens à la souffrance. » 

Des années 1950, alors qu’elle était âgée d’à peine 20 ans, jusqu’à son suicide en 1972, Alejandra Pizarnik n’a cessé de chercher ce sens à travers le journal intime, qu’elle tint régulièrement en parallèle à ses écrits en prose et à ses poèmes.

Née en 1936 à Buenos Aires dans une famille juive émigrée d’Europe de l’Est où l’on parlait encore le yiddish, elle a fait de l’espagnol non seulement sa langue, mais aussi sa cause, son combat, sa vie.

Son œuvre entière est un corps-à-corps avec les mots, seules bouées possibles dans le naufrage sans fin que fut pour elle l’existence dès sa naissance. La solitude et le sentiment d’abandon étaient ses maladies natives ; elle en fit un drame du langage. Car comment dire la difficulté d’être quand la lucidité sur sa propre impuissance est si aiguë qu’elle vous brûle ? Comment trouver sa voix quand on étouffe ?

Chronique des jours malades, mais aussi registre des lectures passionnées et des hommages à ses maîtres (Lautréamont, Rimbaud) ou à ses frères et sœurs en écriture (V. Woolf, Kafka, Pavese…), le journal d’Alejandra Pizarnik est également une sorte de laboratoire littéraire pour celle qui rêvait d’écrire des romans et ne réussit qu’à livrer des poèmes aussi secs et brillants que des diamants bruts. 


 --

The poet was born on April 29, 1936 to Russian Jewish immigrant parents in Avellaneda, a suburb of Buenos Aires, Argentina.

"A year after entering the department of Philosophy and Letters at the Universidad de Buenos Aires", tells Wikipedia, "Pizarnik published her first book of poetry, La tierra más ajena (1955).


Pizarnik followed her debut work with two more volumes of poems, La última inocencia (1956) and Las aventuras perdidas (1958).

From 1960 to 1964 Pizarnik lived in Paris. There she worked for the journal Cuadernos, sat on the editorial board of the magazine Les Lettres Nouvelles, and participated in the Parisian literary world.

Pizarnik also attended a variety of courses at the Sorbonne, including contemporary French Literature.

She was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1968, and in 1971 a Fulbright Scholarship.
She died in Buenos Aires of a self-induced overdose of seconal.

--

More on Alejandra Pizarnik:

http://alejandrapizarnik.blogspot.fr

--

I found another reason to keep on learning Spanish... Who wants to be my pen-pal?


 

19/09/2012

Cronicas Amexicanas - Mexican Brooklyn

New York City, New York, is still a port for new arrivals in the United States of America.

And the fastest growing community in New York is the Mexican one, according to a study published in 2003 by the Teachers College, at Columbia University:

http://www.tc.edu/news.htm?articleID=4495

The very Mexican neighbourhood are East Harlem, north of Manhattan, and firstly Sunset Park, South of Brooklyn.


I headed to Sunset Park, as I mentioned earlier, partly because of the book by Paul Auster I loved to much.

Lovely Sunset Park

Two avenues away, this neighbourhood is very much becoming Chinese, but along Sunset Park and Sunset Terrace, New York is definitely Mexican.



Spanish-speaking Brooklyn


A changing hood



Facing the heartbeat of New York

The Park overlooks the dream's symbols: The East River and the Statue of Liberty






This is where Mexican join each other in a more peaceful part of New York, building up their solidarity if not social and financial success, as this community remains far from thrilling employment and high education.


Colours of the Mexican flag...


Lots of White Anglo-Saxon Protestants New Yorkers are still trying to ignore the growing Spanish-speaking community. They should probably catch up with this bit of reality in the neighbourhood...


La Rentrée

The bus was right on time on the busiest boulevard of the city and it was really quick to arrive in the new posh district I had to head to this morning for work. On top of practicalities, the weather was also gorgeous and my future colleagues late, allowing me to spend a couple of extra hours reading the news and indulging myself on Twitter...

C'est la Rentrée. Two weeks after most of my fellows, I am starting to work again, on a full time basis, with regular work hours, in the capital and my hometown, a situation I have not known since 2008, having been a foreign correspondent pretty much all the time on the road.

For this new start, all is going greatly, but in case the call of freedom rings too high, I have a few plans B on the back of my mind...

1. Run back to Mexico, hide and register for this Spanish School in Oaxaca, I met a lovely Mexican man in this city who almost offered to host me in his family...

2.  Move back to Nairobi as a foreign correspondent and live happily everafter near Somalia and Somaliland, building new East African projects. I am sure my great former housemate could even manage to take me back and the beauty of Kenya allied to the welcome of East Africans would make it all easy and nice...

3. Run back to Mexico and start writing from there for various news outlets I already know are interested, look for a flatshare in the DF and "improve" my Spanish by hanging out with some friends of friends I met during this fantastic first trip...

Please vote for your favourite escape and let me know if you'll be on this road!

In the meantime, it is all business as usual home, and my first day has still not turned me running...



18/09/2012

Kenya's voters registration will begin on Oct. 11


Capital News
NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 18 – The registration of voters ahead of the March 2013 General Election is set to kick off on October 11, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) announced on Tuesday.

IEBC chairman Issack Hassan said a contract for the supply of 15,000 Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) kits was to be signed by the end of day on Tuesday.

Read here:


American chronicles: Iconic New York - In Pictures

From Brooklyn to Manhattan, First day in New York since 2008...

--

Prospect Park and the pond




Around Prospect Park, Brooklyn, on a late summer Monday Morning, Labor day indeed







Around the corner of Prospect Park...


And Park Slope

--

Caribbean Brooklyn: On Labour Day, Caribbeans are getting ready for the parade!


 
West Indian–American Day Carnival





--

New York, New York


Leaving Brooklyn towards town, the view from the bridge...


Meanwhile, in Manhattan:


I was of course heading towards the Museum of Modern Art...











African and Cuban artists on display

                                                                   Wilfredo Lam

And more! Arshile Gorky


Midtown!


Rockefeller Center






And before heading back to Brooklyn, a little view on the Flat Iron...


This is a little New York collection.

--

More to come: Sunset Park and Mexican Brooklyn.

Cronicas Amexicanas: From Brooklyn to Manhattan, in Pictures

video

As you may have seen, I was in Latin America for the first time this month, in Mexico. I just came back in Europe and for now I can only see one good reason for leaving: I am no longer slaughtering the beautiful Spanish language at every corner of Mexico. But that's the only one...

Luckily, my home town is a beauty and always welcoming, apart from the RER B at CDG Airport, but we are used to taht, are we not?

I labelled my travel Amexican trip, as a short for America + Mexico, inspired by a work by British journalist Ed Vulliamy, hence the name of these chronicles, which cover Brooklyn, Mexican New York and Mexico.

--  

On my way to Mexico, I stopped for three days in New York, staying in Brooklyn and searching for Mexicans living in the Big Apple.

It was also the occasion to see more of this incredible New York borough I never had time to explore deeply.

Up this page is the video I made on the first day from the subway taking me to the MoMA. It gives a feeling of the thrill I went through enjoying these precious New York moments full of meetings, arts and discoveries. I hope it communicates a bit of it... 


CLAUDE IVERNÉ - photographies soudanaises (1998/2012) - Maison des Metallos

Other African photographs exhitions: In Paris at La Maison des Metallos, 11 arrt.

CLAUDE IVERNÉ
photographies soudanaises (1998/2012)

 Singulier parcours que celui de Claude Iverné : après avoir débuté dans le milieu de la mode puis celui de la presse, il découvre le Soudan et change de cap vers une pratique autonome de la photographie, plus proche des sciences sociales. La connaissance intime que cet arabophone acquiert des territoires traversés et des peuples rencontrés, notamment au Darfour, contraste avec l’image qu’en donnent
la plupart des médias. L’artiste pose d’emblée la question de
la représentation par un mur couvert d’articles sur le Soudan, issus de la presse internationale et de publications scientifiques. Le visiteur accède à l’exposition par un sas symbolique : le champs médiatique se trouve, par un effet de miroir, relégué en coulisse. On pénètre alors dans un unique espace vaste, à l’instar des terres soudanaises : la scène réelle, lente, presque immobile et silencieuse du pays.
Les photographies de Claude Iverné – paysages, portraits et habitats – y dressent des typologies et s’enchaînent dans un ensemble au fil narratif potentiel. Libre au visiteur de reconstruire l’histoire selon sa propre réception des images. L’artiste questionne ainsi nos codes et standards de représentation, et l’usage contemporain du terme « documentaire ».

Maison des métallos
11 octobre > 7 novembre
du mardi au samedi 4h > 20h
le dimanche > 14h > 19h
entrée libre


http://www.maisondesmetallos.org/site/index.php/agenda/details/397 

PHOTOGRAPHIES SOUDANAISES
Une proposition de description d'un territoire

 Comment donner à voir un territoire aussi complexe que le « Bilad es Sudan » (« Pays des Noirs », nom d’origine du pays en arabe) désormais scindé en deux États historiquement opposés, sans se laisser happer par l’immédiateté de l’urgence et de son traitement médiatique ? Le photographe Claude Iverné, familier des sociétés, des enjeux politiques et économiques de ces contrées méconnues, tente d’y répondre par une exposition en trois volets.

Tout d’abord ses propres travaux depuis quatorze ans, puis les archives photographiques d’Elnour, bureau de documentation fondé avec seize photographes soudanais, qui offrent un point de vue cette fois de l’intérieur. Enfin, une exposition de rue élaborée au jour le jour par les visiteurs et riverains eux-mêmes sur les murs du quartier.


CLAUDE IVERNÉ
photographies soudanaises 1998/2012

Maison des métallos

PHOTOGRAPHIE SOUDANAISE
archives Elnour 1885/2012

Usine Spring Court

PHOTOGRAPHIE SOUDAINE
2012

Quartier de Belleville

AUTOUR DE L'EXPOSITION

CONCERT POUR LA PAIX AU MALI - 22 SEPTEMBRE 2012

CONCERT POUR LA PAIX AU MALI AVEC : Amadou & Mariam, Cheick Tidiane Seck, Bafing Kul, Mamani Keita, Askia Modibo…

Concert  pour la Paix au Mali : Les artistes se mobilisent pour la paix, l’unité nationale et l’intégrité territoriale

Le Samedi 22 Septembre 2012 Dans la cour de la Maison de la Jeunesse à Saint- Denis, à partir de 15H00 12 place de la résistance 93210 / Bus : 153, 253, 239 Arrêt Lanne

http://www.melodiesdumonde.fr/?p=189

Au programme:  
 

L’association Mélodies du Monde en partenariat avec la Coordination des élus français d’origine malienne (CEFOM) vous invitent à une grande manifestation pour la paix au  Mali,  Concert précédé d’une conférence-débat à Saint-Denis, le jour du 52ème anniversaire de son  indépendance.

Programme :

14h15 
: Le Maire  Didier Paillard  recevra Amadou  & Mariam et les intervenants au débat de cette manifestation

15H00  Une  conférence se tiendra lieu une conférence pour présenter les grands aspects de la crise malienne. Cette présentation sera suivie d’un débat sur les perspectives de paix et les conditions nécessaires pour préserver l’intégrité territoriale du Mali

Les intervenants :
- Les Générations Libres : Une mission d’information est partie de Paris pour le Nord du Mali. Elle nous présente le bilan de ses travaux.
-Le  Professeur  Bandjougou Diakité : Enseignant-chercheur, étude de l’Histoire ancienne et moderne du Mali : Les  différents acteurs la crise au Mali
- Le Professeur Issa NDiaye : Enseignant-chercheur, étude des processus démocratiques en Afrique de l’Ouest. : Les origines  du conflit  dans le nord
- La CEFOM  : Madame Sokona Niakhaté :.Coopération  décentralisée, réflexions sur la sortie de crise.
- La FAFRAD : Monsieur Yera Dembélé : Investisseurs de la diaspora et développement face la crise au Mali

 Les concerts débuteront à 18H30 et se prolongeront jusqu’aux derniers métros.
De nombreux artistes incarnant la richesse de la culture malienne et déterminés à envoyer un message de paix :
Amadou & MariamCheick-TidianeSeckBafing Kul, Mamani KeitaAskia Modibo, Mohamed Diaby, Sira KouyatéFanta DiscoPédro KouyatéDiaou kouyaté, Youssouf Karembé, Dalla Diallo, MalassonSiscolère, Jah Sidy Boy, Dongonsadji , Lassana Awa, Troupe Bankady et plus.


--


CONCERT POUR LA PAIX AU MALI AVEC :
LA COUR DE LA MAISON DE LA JEUNESSE
12 place de la Résistance
Dans la cour - la Maison de Jeunesse
93200 ST DENIS


Acheter vos places:
http://www.fnacspectacles.com/place-spectacle/manifestation/Musiques-d-Afrique-CONCERT-POUR-LA-PAIX-AU-MALI-AVEC---MJ22S.htm 

African photographs in Brooklyn

Gorgeous pictures of a lively, colourful and magical Africa are appearing on the New York Time photography blog Lens this Monday:

 By Peter DiCampo

Picturing Everyday Life in Africa


http://lens.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/09/17/picturing-everyday-life-in-africa/?smid=fb-share 

Photographs from “Everyday Africa” by Mr. DiCampo and Mr. Merrill will be exhibited at the The VII Gallery at 28 Jay Street in Brooklyn Sept. 20 through Oct. 18. There will be a closing reception on Oct. 18.

See more about the Gallery here:


http://www.viiphoto.com/news/exhibition-isee-everyday-africa/ 

--

I wish I could be in Brooklyn again to see the exhibit! Go for me. 


La Rentree - To do list

Because by nature, travel has to end, maybe only to start again but that's another story, it has to end, so I left Mexico and I now have to tackle with "La Rentree".

This is my to do list, not necessarily in that order:

- Read my friend Julien Capron's novel:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6W89Vvy3JlY&feature=relmfu


- Watch the episodes of my friend Marine's friend Doria's Meteo au Grand Journal de Canal + I missed while travelling:
http://www.canalplus.fr/c-divertissement/pid2834-c-la-meteo-de-doria.html?vid=718298


- Write a couple of articles about Rwanda/DRC and South Africa to put myself back on track with African news


- Write a report on Somalia's election process for Noria Research, see here:
http://www.noria-research.com/

And more here:
http://syrie.blog.lemonde.fr/2012/09/06/les-minorites-dernier-vivier-de-soldats-pour-le-regime-syrien/


- Cover the Malian music festival for Peace in Saint-Denis this Saturday:
 http://www.facebook.com/events/272708582828970/
Who is in by the way?


- Listen to the conference on Mexican Literature at the Festival America in Vincennes this Sunday:

Mexique
dimanche 23 septembre 2012 de 12h00 à 13h00
Maison des Associations - Salle Paul Rumeau (niveau +1)
41/43 rue Raymond du Temple 94300 Vincennes 
Animé par Patrick Bard

http://www.festival-america.org/les-evenements/les-sc%C3%A8nes/mexique.html


- Other events at the Festival America includes:

http://www.festival-america.org/les-evenements/les-grands-d%C3%A9bats/le-b%C3%BBcher-des-vanit%C3%A9s.html


- Classify those pictures from New York and Mexico...


- Oh and start this new job.

Anything I forgot?

Have a good week!



16/09/2012

Cronicas Amexicanas: Miami in transit

Travels luckily also often involve randomness and surprises.

Arriving very early at Mexico City Benito Juarez airport this morning, I was beginning to think that I had lost all appetite for risks, realising I was in about three hours before my flight, when I was told at the American Airlines counter that indeed my 8:30 flight to Miami was cancelled... And that I could be rebooked on the 6:30 flight. Gosh, I was early!

I had to run though the security check and avoid the duty free shops despite the promises I made to bring back a few things, and finally got on the aircraft a few minutes before take-off.

I was about to be in Miami for much longer than expected. Miami, Florida, the home of my second expatriation, a place I had never come back to after Mr Obama's election, because, well, as a certain Charles Dickens wrote usefully for us in A Tale of Two Cities, "it was the best of times, it was the worst of times". Now four years later, I am actually by chance taken back on the infamous site.

But before I actually put feet in Miami, I had to go through the US immigration, which always carries its possibility of surprises and randomness, yes again. After queuing twice for a misgiving of paperworks, I was weirdly interrogated by the immigration agent. He actually wished I had applied for a tourist visa on top of my journalist visa... As I was coming back from Mexico this time, I was not actually working and should have applied for a tourist permit, he argued, already knowing that I was not in any way in a wrong situation and that he would in the end let me through... But before doing so, he had to consult another agent and add a little pressure. Looking at him gazing at my multiple Ethiopian and Somalian visas, I could feel I was on the wrong side of travellers, arriving from Mexico, with two passeports and stamps from all over African and Muslim countries. I remained calm, maybe out if tiredness - short last Mexican night. But I could not help but wonder how much bother the agent could cause to less exposed travellers, Mexicans not understanding English, migrants with the wrong visa, etc. Ah you Amexican border...

After a waste of 20 minutes, I only had to go through the customs and declare...  I had nothing to declare. But again, the agent wasn't so kind as to let it go smoothly. A green-eyed hispanic-sounding confident agent asked me why I travelled to Mexico. I replied I was just visiting. He added "visiting from France? A boyfriend then?" I did not have to answer to that question but I did: "No just visiting a friend". But he could not change his mind: "that far, from France to Mexico, it has to be a boyfriend, and a very special one"... He let me through, smiling. Was he trying to flirt? I wondered, did I get something wrong in the search for travel?

Anyway, knowing I was not going to quench that search in a Miami minute, I tried to blow it away, and headed to the airtain, I then discover with pleasure that Miami now had a direct bus to Downtown and Miami Beach! Unlike four years ago. What an improvement for me. It is now possible to reach the airport from South Beach in just half an hour and for 2 dollars.

Then here I am on Lincoln Road, enjoying my favourite Cobb salad at the Van Dyck Café I used to come almost twice a week in 2008 with the friends I met in this crazy city to have lunch or to listen to some jazz...



Time flies. I would never have imagined to be here four years after that 2008 summer. So much has happened since then. In particular Africa! If I had stayed in the US as I had planned at some point, who would I be today? Definitely not the same.

I feel heartbroken to have left fantastico Mexico, but it is for a good cause: my next trip will take me back on the Africa soil...

Cheers Amexican folks and thanks again for everything.



Cronicas Amexicanas - D+14 (out of 15)


A taste of Italy but with more randomness and chaos, more noise, music and people dancing in squares... The city is full of love and joy. Oaxaca, I will miss you. Hidden in a mansion transformed in a hostel, I was at the heart of a Mexican jewel, perfect location to forget about time, duties, and endless questioning.

Along the street of Oaxaca, the colours are fighting with the light. On the lovely terrace that was my private balcony for three days, the purple and pink are mixing in harmony with the warm shades of the walls and front doors, yellow, ocre, brown, blood orange, dark red. Along the street, brightness is just even more alive, melted in Oaxaqueños' smiles and kindness. A walkable city, where you cannot get lost but you can get driven. The end of my walk culminates with the gorgeous Plaza Santo Domingo and its unique iglesia, full of sculptures and golden inscriptions. The square is a meeting point for art dealers and galleries, and a quiet blessing for strangers, never too crowded, never too empty...


Just 20 minutes outside the city, the true meaning of blue and green lies in Monte Alban. The most gorgious sky embraces the impressive view on a never-ending landscape of grass and ancient archeological sites. Paradise view swollen in a perfect sunlight. 

When the night falls, colours seems to get only more intense, a little bit more shy maybe, but as vivid. It is party time. This weekend Mexicans are celebrating the 202 years of their independence and with no restrain. I disappear in the envy for belonging... But no, of course not.

Time to head back. The ride is one of glorious green hilly landscape, until the dusk.


A good way to survive a six-hour Mexican bus ride, despite the feezing cold air conditioning and the Americain action movies dubbed in Spanish: Massive Attack on maximum volume on the ipod. It does feel like it accelarate our speed though.

Entering the darkness, as we approach one of the biggest megapole in the world, the landscape looks like a giant spaceship has just landed and illuminated the valley with its orange lights. Unseen before. Ciudad de Mexico, Distrito federal. I will be back, I have to...


13/09/2012

Cronicas amexicanas: Mexiparadise in Oaxaca

Why didn't anybody tell me earlier? Paradise exists and it is in Mexico...



I arrived in Oaxaca yesterday by a bus from Mexico and it was an immediate enchantment. The city is the capital of the Southern Mexican State of Oaxaca, full of traditions and indigenious culture, built up in a whirl of colours, lights and charms, fulfilled with the activities and music that make you feel over the moon... 

After a two hour walk, I was ready to taste what is supposed to be the best food in Mexico when I met a very nice man from the region in front of the sublime public library, who happens to speak French... Law student, specialising on Mexican migrants in the US, he had just come back from Milwaukee. He took me to a local restaurant for dinner and only ordered a warm chocolate while I was devouring my mole negro con pollo... We chatted for an hour before I head back on the shining night streets towards la Basilica de la Soledad, near where I am staying...


11/09/2012

Cronicas amexicanas: Love letter to my hosts

Some people, on top of being brilliant and amazing, are also generous, welcoming and manage to make most moments taste better. Those people are rare. Luckily, some are your friends, and I can tell how lucky I am to have plenty of these precious species. But some are not even your friends, they just happen to appear on your road.

At some point, for some random reasons or from a magical connection, I have been put in touch with some of those talented and wholehearted persons, and they did host me in wonderful places, offering me some of the most beautiful presents I was ever given.

Most of them must know who they are, and have already been thanked. I am surprised I am allowed to still meet more of them.

Miami, Georgia, India, England, Mexico would not have been the same for me, would maybe not even have appeared on my road map, without you, beautiful strangers, lovely encounters, precious friends or, I hope, friends to become.






And in Somalia: New President, New Era

I am in Mexico but in my news world, Somalia is making headlines: the country has a new President!
Hassan Sheikh Mohamud.

See more here:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-19540325

Cronicas amexicanas: bella vida

DF D+4: bosco de Chapultepec, Museo de Arte moderno y contemporeano, Teotihuacan, enchiladas de pollo, Tour Cine Frances, nuevos amigos, nuevas colonias... la vida es bella en Mexico... Gracias. 

09/09/2012

Cronicas amexicanas: Arte popular in Mexico, Distrito Federal

Who doesn't remember those days where you first discover a city? Even when it starts becoming familiar, those first memories remain vibrant like the first moments we spend with new friends, and every encounter can be a unique experience for each visitor.

Meeting a place often starts when you leave the main way and the well-known areas. I am not there yet with Mexico, but I'm trying.

Here is a few insights into my quest...

On la avenida Balderas, el centro historico de Mexico changes from a highly touristic area into a more popular one. La avenida leads to the charming Mercado de la Cuidadela, where the most of Mexican handicraft is beautifully featured in a lovely atmosphere.

 La calle Independencia, in between La Reforma and el mercado hosts relevently el Museo de Arte Popular where examples of Mexican traditions, cloths, religious and traditional objects are presented in a beautiful art deco building.

It is a lovely way to deepen in el distrito federal, after a first tour of el Zocalo, el Palacio Nacional, and el Museo de Bellas Artes.

On my second day, I also mingled in the Saturday crowd at the Franz Mayer Museum, on la Avenida Hidalgo, which actually shows the World Press Photo exhibition.

Al sol de Mexico

Estoy en Distrito Federal. Primera vez en Mexico, primera en America Latina.

Mexico is a jewel of a city, full of light, beauty and history, with the most welcoming people. I have only been here for two days, but it is difficult not to fall in love. I am happy to remain in the Distrito Federal but will also travel next week in Teotihuacan and Oaxaca. If you are on this road too, let me know.

I will post some pictures soon.

05/09/2012

Cronicas Amexicanas: Discovering Sunset Park

On a blurred wet New York day like today, after spending hours in Park Slope, Brooklyn, yesterday morning, and loosing tracks of time in the incomparable Museum of Modern Art in Midtown, Manhattan, yesterday afternoon, I dragged myself on the N subway line this morning, down to the Southern part of Brooklyn, in Sunset Park.

My goal was to check a neighbourhood I had never visited before and only read about, the Latino hood around the South Brooklyn area. I started the day on 6th Avenue, which is a Latino going on Chinese neighbourhood, before coming back to 5th Avenue and stopping at the Sunset Park Diner at the Corner of 39th Street. The avenue is actually full of Mexican delights, shops, restaurants and families. I met with a photographer friend and we left the diner to walk up to the park to discover a beautiful green and calm island overlooking the East River and Lower Manhattan. On our way back we were counting the numerous churches on the avenue and admiring the blooming Spanish-speaking meeting places, from barber shops to local fruit and vegetable stores. We then stopped at the cute Sunset Perk Cafe where we were lucky to meet two residents who fell in love with Sunset Park a couple of years back, two writers. One from the US and Austria, who recently came back from Central Europe and the other from Ireland, an adorable young Novelist, who published his first novel this year, Johnny Kelly.

If Sunset Park is an ignored-by-tourists blooming immigrant area, it charm also relies on its cleanness, dynamism and suburban quietness. There is nothing pessimist about this enclave of Mexican and Chinese communities, both equally ignoring the need to learn English to settle in the United States. Not need to underline it was one of the many subjects of conversation this afternoon... I wonder which language, Madarin or Spanish, will first overtake English in the US.

Sunset Park is definitely a good spot to watch the change.

I will have to go back.

Watch Al Jazeera's The Cafe in and on Mexico City

Great debate this week about Mexico City from the Mexican federal capital on Al Jazeera English!
Here is the link:
http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/thecafe/2012/09/20129161631565644.html?utm_content=automate&utm_campaign=Trial6&utm_source=NewSocialFlow&utm_term=plustweets&utm_medium=MasterAccount

I will be in the Distrito Federal on Thursday for my first visit in Mexico and Latin America (if we exclude Miami, which should be considered as part of Amexica, according to me...).

01/09/2012

Somalia sets Sept. 10th for Presidential Election


Somalia sets date for presidential election
September 10 the day of the final stage of the UN-back process to set up new administration
AFP - Published: 19:20 August 31, 2012

Mogadishu: The Somali parliament will hold a presidential election on September 10, the final stage of a UN-backed process to set up a new administration for the war-torn country, an election official said on Friday.
“September 10, 2012, is the day that the presidential elections of the Somali Federal Republic will take place,” Osman Libah Ebrahim, spokesman for the presidential elections committee, told reporters.
The new parliament, whose members were selected this month by a group of traditional elders, will vote in a secret ballot.
The election has already been delayed several times — having already missed an August 20 deadline — but international pressure has increased on lawmakers to hold the vote swiftly.

At least a dozen candidates are expected to run for the top job, although officials will only begin accepting applications from September 3.
However, bitter arguments have begun between rival challengers, divided along Somalia’s notoriously fractious clan lines.
Outgoing president Shaikh Sharif Shaikh Ahmad, in power since 2009, is one of the favourites, though he cuts a controversial figure with Western observers.
A UN report in July said that under his presidency, “systematic embezzlement, pure and simple misappropriation of funds and theft of public money have become government systems” — claims Sharif has rejected.
Veteran politician and former minister Mohammad Osman Jawari, a legal expert who helped draft a new constitution for Somalia, was elected speaker on Tuesday by fellow lawmakers.
Candidates will give their campaign speeches to parliament from September 7.
Somalia is trying to set up its first stable central government since the 1991 ousting of dictator Mohammad Siad Barre, which sparked rounds of bloody civil war.