Have been in Senegal for about a week in the run up to the Social Forum. Incerdible place, wish you were here with us. Sufi, Social, Musical, Majical. Check this, a few nights ago I heard a band called Nuru Kane, Bai Fall Gnawa featuring Kora AND Oud. The kora sounded like light from heaven pouring out of a rip in the sky. This land's characters have made and continue to make, great contributions to Islamic and general culture. Even the boaba trees look like they could walk up to you and give you a good old frisking! bellebellebelle.
Today was the first 'business' day of the forum and participants have come from all over. Corporate NGOs (have already bumped into CRAP) and internationalist thinktanks do feature but by far its not the NGO fair that I feared. The theme for the day was Africa and Diasporas, well reflected in the sessions and conversations that we had as well as the questions im off to lala land with.
TrustAfrica's "Culture as Weapon" was chaired/interpreted and signed with states(wo)manly awesomeness. Dr Abduoulwaye Niange especially impressed. HE'S got a DOCTORATE IN BREAK DANCE! Needless to say the political and social value of hiphop is not under estimated in the content of urban culture in this country. The discussions ranged and searched and are only beginning to sink in at the moment (Art in politics, challenges of amateur/professionalism, the culture of cooperation and conditionality, social media, BS culture, financing, relations with power/state..). To top it off, arather jubilant tunisian bromrade played us out with an oud powered song.
Following a yasser poulet lunch, conversations with a mouritian teacher, a senegerman environmental worker and a good old fashioned brain-squeeze of an autonomous artist couple we made it to the Liberation Theology run session on Borders/immigration and the right to free movement. There have been several Caravan trips here, from Bamako and other African places. These intervention/protest acts have been highlighting how Europe is outsourcing its border control to north african regimes, and how much of west africa's regional unity is paper-based and not backed up by tarmac and political-administrative enablement.
The Campus mosque is a really happy place too. Dropped the mandatorys and proceeded in the direction of some cafe touba (spicy coffee). But not before experiencing some heavy heavy Tijani (?) dhikr from one of the student halls.
Ended the night watching a Malian musical-theatrical troupe perform a fantastic production on migrant experience.
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