“The best act of resistance is to touch people’s hearts”
Damon Albarn, lead singer of Blur, agreed to respond about the Paris attacks. But when he answered the phone in London, a Radisson Hotel in Bamako was being the victim of a terrorist attack.
After Paris, now is Bamako, a place you know well, who is under a terrorist attack…
I was shocked by what happened at the Bataclan. One of my close friends left the room ten minutes before the attack. I can not believe this is happening again in Bamako. Paris will recover from this, they will emerge even stronger, but the economy is so fragile in Bamako that this kind of event can have serious consequences on people’s lives. I will return in January to give concerts in Bamako with Africa Express. The music world can do a lot for Mali. I’m nothing on my own, but I am part of a very large family. Our network extends in all cities, all villages. The resistance is there, they will never wipe us off the map.
Do you feel particularly moved by the fact that music and music lovers have been threatened with what happened in Paris?
When Bono – U2 singer – says it’s the first attack to music, he is talking bullshit. Music is a prime target of this sect of Islam. One of our big problems is we just get to feel things when they arrive home. But the truth is that terrorist attacks like this one are daily things in Tripoli, Damascus, Beirut or Baghdad.
Will these events make us more aware of the value of music?
I do not believe in revenge. I implore to all those tempted by a spirit of revenge to renounce to it. New bombings won’t heal this mental illness that is terrorism. We need to think more deeply about why young people leave us brainwashed to become suicide bombers, consider their emptyness, their anger. How did they come to believe that such act is justifiable? I have so much pity for them. But, whatever the atrocity and absurdity of their behavior, the answer can not be an escalation of violence. I felt a great affinity with France in 2003, when they refused to join the war in Iraq. But today, Hollande starts behaving like Bush. We can not eliminate this problem by force. This violence will eventually turn against us, maybe not tomorrow, maybe not next year, but in ten years.
What role can musicians play on this?
Our responsibility is to try to cure it our way. Music does not preach violence, it doesn’t hate anyone. It is a meditation. Music is a religion that everyone can share. Is an answer much better than bullets, to those who think that their culture and ours can not coexist. For a musician, the most beautiful act of resistance is to touch people’s hearts. No shoot them. Even terrorists.