“Share the vibration” – an interview with Walid Ben Selim

by Hatim Suleiman and Charlie Crooijmans

informal music meeting

News and Noise! was invited to a musical event at the Immigration detention center or asylum seekers reception center (AZC for short in Dutch) located at a former military hospital in Utrecht. Moroccan poet, musician and spoken word artist Walid Ben Selim (N3erdstan) gave performances. This event is a collaboration of the organizations Vrolijkheid and Culture Connection. Continue reading

Memories of Syria in the heart of Holland

by Hatim Suleiman

Utrecht is the center of the Netherlands, the headquarters and crossroads of the national railways. Here you see the Dutch from all provinces and all walks of life changing trains at the central train station on the eve of every weekend. Utrecht is a celebration of the diversity of the local people. At the heart of it lays Rasa, a magical venue in a small alley. Once you walk into Rasa, you never know where you’re taken to. Music and dance of all genres from literally all over the world are featured there. A place where people from very different backgrounds and beliefs get a chance to practice their shared humanity. A good exercise for these times, I would say.

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Reporting Change – Stories from The Arab Region

by Hatim Suleiman

Amsterdam – On Sunday, June 15, a group of Arab writers, artists and journalists, gathered in the famous pop venue the Melkweg, to tell their stories in word, song, film, and theater. This event called Reporting Change – Stories from The Arab Region, was organized by World Press Photo and Human Rights Watch. The program featured music and keynote addresses by Reem Maged and Yassin Al-Haj Saleh.

The Egyptian TV journalist Reem Maged is one of the major voices of the revolution on Egyptian TV between 2011 and 2013. Yassin Al-Haj Saleh is a Syrian writer and political activist. Photojournalists from Algeria, Tunis and Egypt talked about their work, and you had to choose between watching the keynotes or the movies, ‘Return to Homs and ‘E-Team’, which we (Charlie Crooijmans and me) had to skip.

There was also a play especially made for the occasion, telling the story of the revolution through the eyes of two women. All of these stories tell so much more than what the mainstream media present us, far more human and therefore easier to identify with.

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Going back to Graceland

by Charlie Crooijmans

Today, July 18, South Africa is celebrating Nelson Mandela’s 94th birthday. President Zuma praised him with the following words, from the moment Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela strode out of prison on the 11th of February 1990, we knew that South Africa would be a different place” (BBC News). This event coincides with the tour Paul Simon and his South African colleagues are making in Europe. Continue reading

Madame X vs. Homophobia

by Charlie Crooijmans

The 28th Imagine Festival in Amsterdam showed the Indonesian movie Madame X, directed by Lucky Kuswandi. It is a hilarious yet multilayered film about the extravagant superhero Madame X starring Amink Sugandhi, a well-known comedian in Extravaganza on Trans TV. One of the layers of the movie is a social complaint against religious fanaticism. The film’s premiere coincided with the passing of the anti-pornography law in 2010. This law is widely regarded as a step towards a strict Islamic Law. The nightlife people like dancers and transsexuals are at risk at being arrested or, like in the movie, attacked by homophobic gangs.

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Being Emo in Baghdad

by Pieter van Hoogdalem

Earlier this month worldwide media reported that dozens of kids were killed in Iraq. All of them supposedly were supporters of the emo-lifestyle. Emo originated out of the pop culture of the nineteen-eighties, but has gone a long way since and became a popular lifestyle for Western youth, even to this day. Emo as a fashion statement comes in many forms and shapes and is impossible to accurately describe, but generally it is associated with heavy make up, dark clothes, painted hair and androgynous looks. In Iraq this is considered to be synonymous with homosexuality, which apparently is the reason for these organized killings and the publication of an online death list of 33 youngsters who are condemned for their appearance.

These brutal deaths reminded me of a documentary called Heavy Metal in Baghdad (2007).

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Will Tibetan cultural identity be erased?

by Magda Pucci and Charlie Crooijmans

It can be hard for the Tibetan people to keep the international community interested in their cause. A week ago we have read in the news that Tibetans  set themselves on fire to protest China’s repression of Tibet (New York Times). China occupied Tibet in the 1950’s and considers itself a liberator of Tibet. The documentary Tibet in Song (2009) gives a historical overview and shows how the Chinese regime tries to erase the Tibetan cultural identity.

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