Archive for February 7, 2007

If the world was a village of 100 people…

This video was sent to me by a friend. It’s very sobering and gives us some sense of perspective… You can watch a Spanish or Portuguese version here.

February 7, 2007 at 11:56 pm 1 comment

Tribute to Our Friends

Monday evening, (see Alex’s blog here) Alex and I went to a photo exhibit in a bookstore, Libraria Baïbars, up on calle Muntaner. The author was Moussa ag Assarid, from a nomadic Berber tribe called the Touareg. To read all about Moussa, go to Alex’s site here. You must read about this amazing individual but this post is not about Moussa per se.

Anyhow, we arrived at the bookstore and listened to Moussa tell us “une petite histoire” about how he came to be here in Barcelona. While he was speaking I had a very strong feeling of familiarity. Not a feeling of “deja vu”, but a feeling of knowing. I couldn’t communicate the feeling to Alex because I myself did not understand it. We talked about it and I just couldn’t say why because I really didn’t know.

Well, Alex is very good in getting me to understand what’s going on and after a few days of discussions I think I now know why I had this feeling. Moussa is an individual whose personality is simalar to almost all of our friends here in Barcelona. This connection also made me understand another feeling I frequently get when we are with a group of our friends.

All my life, I have been conventional, ok, almost conventional. You know, the mainstream ideology. Since we arrived here, not one person we have come to call a friend is from the same background as me. They are all fiercely independent, adventuresome, free spirited individuals who do what their hearts drive them to do, doing what they enjoy doing, being in places they want to be part of. They are all extremely creative as scientists, chefs, artists, cinematographers, fashion designers, musicians, educators. Their educations range from high school to Phd’s and they are all share the same drive and passion as Moussa. I suppose while listening to him speak I had a subconscious link to those personalities but couldn’t consciously figure it out.

It explains also why I sometimes feel like a fraud when I am with my friends. I feel like I am only there because of circumstance, not through any planning on my part.

I realized too, that the same applies to our friends in Toronto. They have those same adventuresome characteristics

and Montreal …..

Anyhow, this is a tribute to you all (and you all know who you are). I’m very proud to be your friend.

February 7, 2007 at 9:47 pm 7 comments

Monday with Moussa

Yesterday evening we went to Libraria Baïbars to catch the opening of Moussa ag Assarid’s photo exhibit of the children of the Sahara. As I explained before, Moussa is a Touareg, a nomad Berber tribe that roams the Sahara desert. Possessed of a keen curiosity about the world around him, Moussa went to school and eventually won a scholarship to study in France. He has since written a book about his experiences in France, and has dedicated himself to raising awareness to the plight of the nomadic peoples of the desert, promoting Touareg culture, and raising support for a school for Touareg children. The stop in Barcelona was part of his Caravan of the Heart, a journey towards his home country going from Paris to Tombouctu, crossing five countries.

The place was packed as everybody waited for the members of the caravan to arrive.

Baibars

Moussa gave a little talk about his book, answered questions and then signed books. The book-signing wasn’t planned, someone asked and he graciously accepted. I lined up with the rest and watched as he signed the books – he actually took the time to write a different message on each book he signed! He was very kind and I exchanged a few words with him when my turn came. I told him I would bring his words to Canada and he immediately sounded interested “vous habitez là-bas?” he asked. I said I did and he asked where. Toronto & before that Montreal. I’m originally from Brazil. He smiled and said “vous êtes partout le monde.” I said yes, I’m a citizen of the world. He asked what I did and I answered I study history. “Ça, c’est très important”. I smiled, he finished signing my book, and we shook hands. It was a really nice moment. Meeting people like Moussa and having a chance to exchange a few words is good for the soul.
Moussa & I

Here’s what he wrote:

signature

Moussa in the news here (in Catalan)

February 7, 2007 at 1:15 am 3 comments


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