Joan Baez, United States singer, interviewed


This music video from the USA about the Vietnam war is called Joan Baez – Where Are You Now, My Son?

On 5 February 2019, Dutch daily Trouw published an interview by Saskia Bosch with United States singer Joan Baez. The interview was by telephone from Ms Baez’ home.

Parts of it (translated):

Joan Baez says goodbye: ‘I was at my most powerful when I could combine singing with activism’

On Friday Joan Baez (78) will sing her very last concert in the Netherlands. The US American singer will stop touring. “My voice is deteriorating. I hear it and I feel it.”…

The American singer-songwriter will be in the business for exactly sixty years in 2019. She broke through in the nineteen sixties with engaged folk pop songs like ‘Farewell, Angelina’, ‘Love Is Just a Four-Letter Word’ and ‘We Shall Overcome‘ and together with Pete Seeger and Bob Dylan was one of the most important representatives of the protest generation. Her activism was always just as important as her music. Last year she released the new album ‘Whistle Down the Wind’, but also announced her last tour.

The reason: the decline of her vocals. … Baez … announced last year that her ‘Fare Thee Well Tour’ would be her farewell tour. …

How does that feel, such a farewell tour? Baez laughs: “Nice, because a lot of people come to the shows, because they know it’s the last time they can see me live. We play for sold-out halls and even did twenty shows in the Parisian Olympia. That would not have been possible if we would not have announced the farewell.”

This music video is called Joan Baez – Fare Thee Well Tour – Live @ Paris Olympia 13 June 2018 (COMPLETE HD CONCERT).

There has not been time for melancholy or sadness. “The reaction will only come later, I suspect. Maybe I will feel relieved, maybe in mourning, maybe both. To be honest, I do not know.”

Painting

The emotions which she has so far put into her live performances, Baez expects to put partly into her other passion: painting. Full of enthusiasm she talks about the portrait she made of Emma Gonzalez, the student who survived the shooting at her school in Florida and last year held such an impressive speech during the March for Our Lives. “Give me your e-mail address, then I will send you a photo of the painting.” A little later the painting of a serious looking Gonzalez in red and green tones appears in the mailbox. …

The activist

The singer is just as well-known for her music as for her activism that runs like a thread through her life and music. In this way she opposed the war in Vietnam and the US American civil rights movement. “The highlights of my life coincided with the times when I had both hats on: activism and music. Then I was at my most powerful and most useful.”

As an example, she mentions how in 1966, when segregated schools had just been abolished, in Grenada, Mississippi, she was accompanying black pupils who were attending a white school for the first time. “Martin Luther King Jr. had asked me to walk with them until he could come. I walked there with little black children, who were pelted with rocks. My presence made it harder for white adults to throw the rocks at the children. I was proud and strong. I told a big policeman: “We are bringing these children to school.” He answered in that southern accent: ‘You cannot go any further’. Maybe I was stupid and my heart was pounding, but it was a challenge I liked.”

Now Baez is still committed to matters that concern her. … Baez refers to climate change.

Trump’s xenophobic militarism and torture


This 4 February 2019 video from the USA says about itself:

ICE has arrested and is planning to deport rapper 21 Savage. John Iadarola and Brooke Thomas break it down on The Damage Report.

Read more here.

On Sunday, February 3, 26-year-old Shéyaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, better known by his stage name 21 Savage, was detained in a “targeted operation” by agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for overstaying a temporary visa. Abraham-Joseph, a Grammy-nominated entertainer, now faces imminent deportation to the United Kingdom, where he holds citizenship. The rapper’s detention comes only days after the release of “A Lot,” a single from the album I Am>I Was, in which he directly criticizes the Trump administration’s and ICE’s policy of separating families detained crossing the US-Mexico border, along with other injustices in the US. “Went through some things, but couldn’t imagine my kids stuck at the border/Flint still need water …” he raps: here.

This 1 February 2019 music video from the USA is called 21 Savage – a lot ft. J. Cole.

By Patrick Martin in the USA:

US “border security”: Troops, torture, barbaric prisons

5 February 2019

The Pentagon has confirmed that it is deploying an additional 3,750 troops to the US-Mexico border, continuing the build-up of repressive forces directed against defenseless immigrants and refugees seeking asylum in the United States.

Some of the 3,750 soldiers will replace those being rotated out of the border area, but there will be a sizeable net increase of at least 2,000. The total number of troops, regular and National Guard, will be more than 6,000, the largest force deployed to the southern border since 1917, when General John J. Pershing led a punitive expedition against Pancho Villa during the Mexican Revolution.

The confirmation of the troop deployment Sunday came only two days before President Trump is to give the State of the Union speech at the US Capitol building, in which a major focus is expected to be border security. Trump forced a partial shutdown of the US government for 35 days in an effort to force Congress to approve $5.7 billion in funding for a border wall.

The White House had to back down January 26, agreeing to a three-week reopening of the government while House and Senate negotiators discussed the budget for the Department of Homeland Security, which includes both Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The House-Senate conference must reach agreement by February 8 to give time for congressional approval of a bipartisan deal by February 15. Otherwise there will be another shutdown, or Trump has threatened to declare a national emergency and use funds appropriated for some other purpose, such as military construction, to build the wall.

In discussions with reporters last week, Trump hinted that he might declare the national emergency in his State of the Union speech. “I don’t want to say it, but you’ll hear the State of the Union, and then you’ll see what happens right after the State of the Union”, he blustered. Whether or not that is the case, he is likely to center the speech on demands for the wall and warnings about crime and drugs supposedly associated with immigrants and refugees.

Congressional Democrats, while opposing a permanent structure or wall, largely on the grounds of its proven ineffectiveness, continue to offer vast sums for the CBP, ICE and other repressive measures against immigrants, under the rubric of “border security.”

This includes the mobilization of troops without any significant Democratic opposition, but also the abusive treatment of tens of thousands of immigrants held in ICE and CBP facilities in the border region, some operated directly by the two agencies, others by contractors, some of them billion-dollar companies that are making vast profits operating what amount to concentration camps.

A report by the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general, issued last week, found that ICE detention facilities don’t meet national standards for prisons, despite billions in outlays to build and operate the camps. According to the report, over a 33-month period ending in June 2018, “ICE paid contractors operating the 106 detention facilities subject to this review more than $3 billion … Despite documentation of thousands of deficiencies and instances of serious harm to detainees that occurred at these detention facilities, ICE rarely imposed financial penalties.”

The inspector general’s report examined half of the 211 detention facilities run by ICE directly or indirectly, housing an average of 35,000 detainees every day—the size of a small city. The report found that ICE regularly issue waivers to excuse deficiencies, some of them of grotesque proportions, such as allowing a detention facility to use tear gas against detainees, although the standard limits efforts to “control” detainees to pepper spray, which is much less toxic.

ICE did not dispute the inspector general’s findings, instead issuing a worthless declaration that it is “committed to continually enhancing civil detention operations to promote a safe and secure environment for both detainees and staff.”

More than a dozen immigrants have died in ICE custody since 2015, including two children from Guatemala who died in December, prompting wide publicity and popular revulsion.

Prisoners at ICE facilities have begun to fight back against their brutal treatment in one of the few ways still available to them, a hunger strike, which began at the detention facility in El Paso, Texas, but has since spread to facilities in Miami, Phoenix, San Diego and San Francisco, according to an ICE spokesman.

On Sunday, ICE confirmed to the Associated Press that it was force-feeding nine of the hunger strikers in El Paso, up from six the week before, after obtaining a federal court order authorizing the brutal procedure, condemned as torture by international human rights groups, and banned by the American Medical Association.

Most of those being force-fed, and a majority of the hunger strikers, are Sikhs from the north Indian state of Punjab who have fled persecution by the right-wing Hindu supremacist government of India.

One detainee, identified by the AP only by his last name, Singh, which is very common among Sikhs, described “being dragged from his cell three times a day and strapped to a bed before being force-fed liquid through tubes pushed through his nose.”

“They tie us on the force-feeding bed, and then they put a lot of liquid into the tubes, and the pressure is immense so we end up vomiting it out,” Singh told the AP. “We can’t talk properly, and we can’t breathe properly. The pipe is not an easy process, but they try to push it down our noses and throats.”

Human Rights Watch issued a statement February 1 calling force-feeding “a cruel, inhuman and degrading” practice and pointing out that “medical ethics and human rights norms generally prohibit the force-feeding of detainees who are competent and capable of rational judgment as to the consequences of refusing food.”

All these brutal measures would become much worse—and virtually impervious to legal challenge—if Trump declares a national emergency and orders the military to build his 30-foot wall along the US-Mexico border.

Under the 1976 National Emergencies Act, if Trump declares an emergency, Congress can take action to overturn the declaration under an expedited procedure under which the Senate would be required to vote within 30 days of action by the House of Representatives. However, Trump could veto the resolution and the emergency would remain in effect unless his veto was overridden.

Congressional leaders and civil liberties groups have indicated they plan to challenge an emergency declaration in the courts, but the White House expects that any appeal would be expedited quickly to the US Supreme Court, which has a 5–4 right-wing majority expected to uphold virtually any executive action.

United States folk musician Leyla McCalla


This October 2019 music video from the USA is called Leyla McCalla – ‘The Capitalist Blues’ (Lyrics Video).

By Matthew Brennan in the USA:

Leyla McCalla’s Capitalist Blues: Keeping one’s eyes open

2 February 2019

Musician-songwriter Leyla McCalla’s newest album Capitalist Blues, released January 25, is an intriguing effort. In the course of 11 songs she works through situations, sentiments and moods that are hovering in the air today, but often disconnected from their broader context in popular music. To her credit, the singer-songwriter tries to make this connection, with some success, and the album is the better for it.

Trained as a classical cellist, McCalla’s eventual decision to pursue folk-based music and song-writing led her to the rich New Orleans music environment where she has been a fixture for much of the past decade. Already relatively well-established through her contributions to the folk-music collective Carolina Chocolate Drops (led by the talented Rhiannon Giddens and Don Flemons), her solo efforts to date have demonstrated a good deal of talent and thoughtfulness, as well as a consistent interest in historical themes and music history.

Her first two self-produced albums—Vari-Colored Songs: A Tribute to Langston Hughes and A Day For The Hunter, A Day For The Prey—were more stripped-down explorations of historical periods and figures (such as the poet Hughes), as well as life in regions like the American south.

She has paid particular attention to the Haitian-American diaspora. McCalla is the grand-daughter of Ben Dupuy, who was the longtime editor of the … left-nationalist publication, Haïti Progrès, and ambassador at large under the shortlived first government of Jean-Bertrand Aristide (overthrown by a military coup) in 1991.

McCalla has repeatedly pursued the deeply intertwined and often brutal connection between the US and Haiti as a theme of her songwriting.

Capitalist Blues represents, particularly in musical form, a notable expansion of her previous efforts. Her notion that capitalism is the general source of the “blues” is also an unusually direct statement, as far as popular music goes. One suspects it is an indication of larger stirrings among serious artists today.

“The album is me thinking about the psychological and emotional effects of living in a capitalist society,” McCalla states in an album “teaser” video. Her efforts to convey these sentiments musically are largely rewarding.

This October 2018 video is called Leyla McCalla – ‘The Capitalist Blues’ (Album Teaser).

Featuring New Orleans jazz, Cajun, Creole, American R&B, Haitian Rara, Caribbean folk and other music styles, the album is mostly a lively and engaging collection. Around a third of the songs are sung in Haitian Creole, which McCalla refers to as a “language of protest” in interviews. The language is also a consistent presence throughout much of her body of work.

The album, produced by guitarist-singer Jimmy Horn, features a wide range of talented Louisiana musicians—including pianist Corey Ledet, trumpet player Ben Polcer, drummers Shannon Powell and Chris Dave, singer Topsy Chapman and others—in addition to her regular trio players, Daniel Tremblay (guitarist) and Free Feral (viola).

Leyla McCalla (Credit: leylamccalla.com)

The title track, “Capitalist Blues”, is a New Orleans traditional jazz song, slow and deliberate but with a punchy horn-driven undercurrent. It sets the tone for the album. “You keep telling me to go a little higher/Try to take a different view/But you can see, I’m not inspired/I’ve got the Capitalist Blues/And if I give everything/I won’t have much more to lose,” she sings.

Multiple songs are movingly constructed to either skewer or lament the difficulties facing wide layers of the population. Some of the songs are built around contrasts—for instance, sunny or energetic songs belied by dark sentiments or conditions, such as the title song.

Or, to take another example, “Money Is King,” a cover song originally written by Trinidadian folk musician Neville Mercano (also known as Growling Tiger), McCalla sings of the revolting hypocrisy where being rich removes all limits to social needs, and the poor are often attacked and treated “worse than dogs” for making the slightest demands. The calypso-based song, with rhythmic jazz elements, encourages a defiant stance, daring one to move and dance in response to the absurdity of it all.

Other songs are quite intentionally somber and angry. The R&B dirge “Heavy As Lead” is a song about economic instability and the general anxiety many live with on a day to day basis (“This old house might swallow us whole/Begins with our family/And soon it comes for our soul”).

McCalla states in the album’s liner notes that the song’s title is a direct reference to lead poisoning, spurred on after discovering her own daughter had tested positive for elevated blood-lead levels. “I sing these words thinking of all the families from New Orleans, LA to Flint, Michigan grappling with a system that takes no responsibility for solving this environmental health crisis.”

Other songs express similar somber, and yet quietly defiant sentiments, such as the steel-guitar driven, paradoxically breezy “Mize Pa Dous” (‘Poverty Isn’t Sweet’), the propulsive and yet somber Haitian folk chant of “Lavi Vye Neg” (roughly ‘Old Man’s Life’), and the banjo-based ballad about perseverance in the face of bleakness, “Ain’t No Use.”

She also connects the general atmosphere to the ravages of war, on the discordant “Aleppo” and the Portuguese cover song “Penha” (Peace). The former song, written after watching Facebook videos of Syrians describing life in a war zone, is, to her credit, mainly a denunciation of all wars, and not a concession to US “humanitarian” wars of imperialism. (“Bombs are falling in the name of peace…So much violence in the name of love…Who knows? Where will we go?”). Abrasive and sonically jarring guitar-chords carry the song out to its dark ending.

McCalla also makes sure to capture something about love and companionship in hard times as well. Some of the best musical songs on the album are up-tempo love songs, such as the piano boogie “Me And My Baby” and the Cajun zydeco rocker “Oh My Love.” The former, for instance, celebrates the joy of losing all pretense and anxiety because of how excited someone makes the singer feel.

But the album’s final song “Settle Down,” which is a collaboration with the intriguing Haitian musical collective Lakou Mizik, captures something of the overall strength of the album: that while focusing on the problems, McCalla doesn’t wallow in them as seemingly insurmountable. Written in response to anti-protest laws passed in New Orleans, the song, with a heavy influence of Afro-Caribbean folk musical instrumentation, is a propulsive chant to do the opposite of “settling down.”

All told, Capitalist Blues is effective as a kind of “protest” album largely because McCalla doesn’t try to convey this sentiment in mechanical fashion, or simply speak about capitalism in the manner one would write an essay. Rather she tries, with a good deal of success, to demonstrate what capitalism is through the lives and sentiments of people living under it—anxious, confusing, complex in its contradictions, oppressive and often desperate. It is a largely humane album.

Not everything is worked out of course. There is an abstract quality to some of the song-writing that perhaps takes the edge off some of the overall critique. And, while McCalla and her players are clearly talented and confident musicians, at times it feels like she is still trying to find her musical voice, which can fall behind the playing at times. And taken as whole, the album has the feel of an artist just beginning to really grapple with large “systemic” questions. She is giving the source of the “blues” a name—capitalism, but she has not yet worked through its development, nor the historic alternative to it.

Nonetheless, it is much to McCalla’s credit that she doesn’t take a narrow approach to such difficult matters. This is the attempt of an artist working through the current situation with her eyes open, so to speak. The album is a welcome sign, and it will be interesting to see where she takes it from here.

Playing Beethoven to elephants


This 13 December 2018 video says about itself:

BeethovenPastoral Symphony” on Piano for Elephants

This video was recorded by kind invitation of the Beethoven Pastoral Project.

A short “Piano for Elephants” improvised arrangement I made for Spy, Kanta, Namwan and Kat to play during their favorite afternoon snack of yams. Recorded in the mountains of Kanchanaburi, Thailand on a FEURICH 122 upright piano.

Trump’s ICE nasal force-feeding of immigrants


This folk music video from the USA says about itself:

Deportee (Plane Wreck at Los Gatos)” Joan Baez – 2017 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

Class of 2017 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Inductee Joan Baez performs “Deportee (Plane Wreck at Los Gatos) onstage with Mary Chapin Carpenter and the Indigo Girls.

By Patrick Martin in the USA:

Immigrants subjected to nasal force-feeding at ICE detention center

1 February 2019

The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement is force-feeding immigrants held in a detention center in Texas, using brutal torture against at least ten men engaged in a hunger strike against their prolonged confinement and mistreatment. The men, mainly Sikhs from the Punjab region of India, are being force-fed either through plastic nasal tubes or intravenous lines, inserted several times a day. At least 30 men are participating in the hunger strike, include some from Cuba as well as the majority from India.

Force-feeding through nasal tubes is a method of torture, used at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp and other CIA-run secret prisons overseas, which has been condemned by international human rights groups. The American Medical Association bars its members from participating in such mistreatment. So long as the hunger striker is making a conscious and reasoned decision to refuse food, the AMA guidelines say, a medical doctor should respect their right to do so.

Democratic Party politicians who are making a show of opposition to Trump’s demands for a wall on the US-Mexico border have nothing to say about the brutal treatment of immigrants and asylum seekers in ICE detention centers that have provoked the hunger strikes and other protests. On the contrary: the legislation now being discussed in a House-Senate conference committee would provide billions more for ICE to expand the American gulag.

The detainees, held at the ICE El Paso Service Processing Center in the west Texas city, have asked immigration advocates visiting them in detention to make their struggle known to the public. The hunger strike was first reported Thursday morning by the Associated Press. A lawyer for one of the detainees and a volunteer immigration advocate both spoke to the World Socialist Web Site about the conditions the men face.

Ruby Kaur is a Michigan-based immigration attorney who speaks Punjabi, the first language of many of the prisoners, who are Sikhs from the north Indian state of Punjab. She represents one of the hunger strikers and said her client had been put on an IV and then force-fed after more than three weeks without eating or drinking water. “They’ve been held for at least six months,” she said. “They are distinguishing them for treatment primarily on the basis of race.”

Kaur said that her client and the other strikers were protesting mistreatment and physical abuse in the detention, and the response of ICE to the hunger strike was even greater mistreatment. “Physical abuse to me is when they’re being force fed,” she said.

She said that the lawyers for the hunger strikers were still gathering information about the physical condition of their clients. “We are not sure about that yet, because we are still in the process of meeting individuals,” she explained.

“I’m very passionate about immigrants’ rights,” Kaur said, adding that some of the hunger strikers had been placed in solitary confinement, which is also classified as a form of torture by international human rights groups.

She told the Associated Press, “They go on hunger strike, and they are put into solitary confinement and then the ICE officers kind of psychologically torture them, telling the asylum seekers they will send them back to Punjab.”

Margaret Brown Vega from Advocate Visitors with Immigrants in Detention, an immigrant support group based in New Mexico, gave additional details about the conditions at the El Paso ICE facility. She is a volunteer for a group that organizes visits to people in detention, to try to minimize their isolation and despair.

“We became aware of the hunger strike,” she told the WSWS. “Three of us volunteers went and visited with four of the men to talk to them about their situation. El Paso Service Processing Center, the ICE facility, it’s a prison. If you look at the standards they operate under, and how they refer to the detainees, it is a prison. They are very much treated like prisoners.

“It’s very hard to get information about them. I spoke to one individual. Another volunteer spoke to two individuals. A third volunteer spoke to the fourth individual.

“Force-feeding is very troubling. They’re very weak. They walk very slowly, shuffling their feet. Their eyes are very tired looking. The man I saw showed me his arms. He’s been getting three or four IVs a day and he said he thought he would be put on a feeding tube through the side of the nose. I believe this is on an ICE protocol.”

The detainees are required to present themselves for their own torture, she explained: “They’ve complained about having to walk to the medical area instead of being brought in a wheelchair.”

Vega added, “What’s difficult for people to understand is that the conditions in immigration facilities are such they bring people to this point. It’s psychologically very challenging. Sometimes it’s physically challenging.

“I think people underestimate how bad it is to be held indefinitely in a place where you don’t get enough food, where you’re constantly berated, where people place obstacles in your way and play games with you. And the worst thing is never knowing when it’s going to end. It’s pretty bad, when it’s day in and day out.”

Vega said that there had not really been much of a change from the Obama administration to the Trump administration, in terms of conditions inside the detention facilities. “I would say that many people feel this is not new,” she continued. “In these facilities, going back ten years, people have noticed these conditions. Even though there are supposedly standards that guide how these places are run.

“I have encountered people in detention who went to a port of entry and applied for asylum. I met one individual who was detained and never given parole. In the El Paso area we’re seeing 100 percent denial rates on parole. We encounter asylum seekers who are not a flight risk, who are not a threat to the community, but they’re not released.”

Both Ruby Kaur and Margaret Brown Vega made it clear that the prisoners had taken the initiative in seeking to have their hunger strike become public, known to a far wider audience than the ICE agents who run the El Paso center.

“Our first priority was to make this situation known,” Vega said. “It’s a matter of First Amendment rights. We feel like it’s our responsibility to help them amplify their voices. It’s very difficult to go even a couple of days without eating. They’re putting their bodies at risk.”

A federal judge has authorized the force-feeding, according to a spokeswoman for ICE, who did not address the charges of physical and psychological abuse by ICE agents. The El Paso facility is directly operated by ICE, not through a subcontractor as at many other detention centers.

When a hunger strike passes the one-month mark, as is the case with the immigrant detainees, there is mounting danger of irreversible physiological damage.

The Associated Press report quoted Amrit Singh, the uncle of two men participating in the hunger strike. “They are not well. Their bodies are really weak, they can’t talk and they have been hospitalized, back and forth,” Singh told AP. “They want to know why they are still in the jail and want to get their rights and wake up the government immigration system.”

There have been repeated hunger strikes by immigration detainees over the last several years, but in most cases the strikers agreed to take food and water under threat of court-ordered force-feeding. It is the continued worsening of conditions, as well as the prospect of indefinite confinement, that has driven some prisoners to take this latest desperate step and defy the threat of torture.

The Freedom for Immigrants organization, the umbrella group to which AVID is affiliated, has documented nearly 1,400 people on hunger strike at 18 detention facilities since May 2015.

The author also recommends:

Thousands seeking asylum in US to be pushed back into Mexico
[26 January 2018]

The death of Felipe Alonzo-Gómez: A crime of US imperialism
[27 December 2018]

TRUMP: WALL GETTING DONE WITHOUT CONGRESS President Donald Trump said he would go forward with plans to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border unilaterally after growing frustrated with Congress. Speaking to The New York Times, he said: “I’ll continue to build the wall, and we’ll get the wall finished.” [HuffPost]

As Trump threatens national emergency. Democrats offer increased spending for border policing: here.

Mariah Carey, Tiësto, as ‘progressive’ fig leaves for Saudi regime


This 14 January 2019 video about Saudi Arabia says about itself:

While US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is in Riyadh, he is expected to bring up sensitive issues like the wars in Yemen and Syria and the backlash against the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. Many are hoping that human rights will be among them.

Alia al-Hathloul is calling on Pompeo to raise the plight of all activists in Saudi jails. She describes how her sister Loujain has spent months in prison without being charged. In the New York Times article, her sister accuses royal advisor Saud al-Qahtani of laughing while he watched the torture being carried out. Al Jazeera’s Raheela Mahomed reports.

This 15 January 2019 video says about itself:

The sister of detained women’s rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul has revealed for the first time the details of her alleged torture in Saudi Arabia.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

Controversial Saudi performance by Tiësto and Mariah Carey will go on

A controversial performance by Dutch DJ Tiësto and singer Mariah Carey will go on tonight. …

Human rights organizations had urged the artists to withdraw, because the kingdom is acting harshly against dissidents. Women are oppressed, activists end up in prison and crown prince Mohammed is allegedly behind the notorious murder of the Saudi journalist Kashoggi in Istanbul.

And the killing of yet another journalist … the killing of pro-democracy demonstrators … Saudi armed forces killing in Bahrain … killing in Yemen. Etc.

“Tiësto can not pretend that Saudi Arabia is a country where nothing is going wrong”, said a spokesperson for Amnesty International. “If the DJ will perform, then he must be aware that he is being used by the Saudi public relations machine, which wants to pretend that the country is progressive.”

The Brabant province DJ has not yet responded to the commotion; Mariah Carey has. She points out that she is the first big female star to perform in the country, after years of strict rules about music and entertainment. …

Carey and Tiësto are performing tonight at a golf tournament in King Abdullah City, a city specially founded for trade, a two-hour drive from Mecca. The concert fits in with the efforts of the Saudi royal family to give the country a more modern image.

Basically, what is ‘modern’ about the Saudi government are the ‘modern’ royal palaces constructed in Mecca after destruction of historic buildings there from the time of the prophet Mohammed. And their ‘modern’ warplanes and other weapons, sold to them by merchants of death from NATO countries. Also ‘modern’ is the electricity with which women, arrested for activism for the right of women to drive cars, are tortured now.

Recently, shows by DJ David Guetta, The Black Eyed Peas and US American wrestlers were also staged.