Papa Wemba: musical king of the Society of Ambianceurs and Elegant People

Here is my brother Tom’s alternately lyrical and learned tribute to the great Congolese singer Papa Wemba, who died after collapsing on stage in Abidjan earlier this week. Among Wemba’s many achievements, Tom Salter argues, was his embodiment of what is described as ‘a very Congolese cultural trajectory – the creation of ways of being modern that were not Western’. Photo credit above: Congo’s most famous musician Papa Wemba, performing at a concert in Kinshasa in 2004. Reuters/ David Lewis Papa Wemba: musical king of the Society of Ambianceurs and Elegant People Tom Salter, 27 April 2016, The Conversation Sadly, we have lost another great of… More

Bombay: Music and Heartbreak

Bombay: Music and Heartbreak Final port of call at this year’s Stockholm Indian Film Festival: Nachom-ia Kumpasar, a bittersweet, tenderly observed Konkani work that made it into this year’s Oscar lists. A paen to the unsung Goan musicians who populated the Mumbai jazz scene  through the  60s and 70s. And what a singer lead Palomi Gosh is too – ‘Lisboa’, a stirring period hymn to a Lisbon lover included.   G M T <optio Text-to-speech function is limited to 100 characters Options : History : Help : FeedbackClose

‘Arshinagar’ at the Stockholm Indian Film Festival

‘Arshinagar’ at the Stockholm Indian Film Festival Think Mumbai slum meets West Side Story meets the delicate tightrope of Hindu-Muslim relations . . that at least gives you some idea of where Arshinagar is coming from in its take on Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo & Juliet’. Caught this lovely slice of Bengali cinema at yesterday’s opening evening of the Stockholm Indian Film Festival,. Catch it if you can! (Festival programme: )  

Trump’s Putin Fantasy

Here’s noted US historian Timothy Snyder’s excellent dissection of what a Donald Trump victory in forthcoming presidential elections would mean for US-Russian relations – and a whole lot more besides. Trump’s Putin Fantasy Timothy Snyder, New York Review of Books, 19 April 2016 Donald Trump in Syracuse, New York, April 16, 2016; Vladimir Putin in Moscow, Russia, April 14, 2016. Carlo Allegri/Reuters; Maxim Shemetov/Reuters.   Few foreign leaders seem enthusiastic about the prospect of a Donald Trump presidency. But there is one who should be pleased: Vladimir Putin. Or so Trump seems to think. Most prominent Republicans criticize President Obama for… More

Nonsense About Norwegians: The Struggle Continues

Another week …and yet again the need to counter a particularly fatuous ‘review’ of my Sri Lanka book that featured on the pages of The Island newspaper last week, claiming that in reality I ghost wrote the whole thing on Erik Solheim’s commission and to his political specifications. Forgive any grammatical infelicities detected – this was written in something of a hurry. The main points, however, stand firm I hope! Misery, Kamal Wickremasinghe Style The Island, April 17, 2016 Mark Salter addressing a gathering at ICES, Colombo at the launch of To End a Civl War recently. From (L-R). Jehan Perera, Dr. Dayan Jayatilleke,… More

The war on terror: an interim report

With Obama reiterating gung-ho visions of the imminent/inevitable defeat of global terrorism – focused on the growing presence of IS in Libya this time round – this is a good moment to take heed of a rather more sober assessment of the actual ground situation. The war on terror: an interim report Paul Rogers, openDemocracy, 7 April 2016 Al-Qaida and ISIS bookmark a fifteen-year era of global conflict marked by western hubris and failure. Chambers Street, New York, 11 September 2001. David Farquhar/Flickr. Some rights reserved In the wake of 9/11 there was widespread support across western governments for strong… More

Confusion Reigns: Roberts On The Sri Lankan Conflict’s Final Stages

Here’s my latest effort to rebuff some of the nonsense peddled about the Sri Lankan conflict – in this instance pulling my recent book into the morass. Confusion Reigns: Roberts On The War’s Final Stages Colombo Telegraph, 12 April 2016 From Michael Roberts’ latest essay ‘Attempts To Rescue Pirapāharan Et Al In 2009’ (Colombo Telegraph, 5 April 2016) I see that I have joined the list of authors whose work has been subjected to his less than forensic critical attentions. In this instance his focus is the final stages of the Sri Lankan conflict. Rarely one for modest enterprise in this context,… More

Sri Lanka: in defence of Oslo

Sri Lanka: in defence of Oslo Another week – and another rebuttal letter published as a full page feature in Sri Lankan newspaper The Island. Wonder how long I can keep this up for . . . Salter adds to war of words on CFA The Island, April 7, 2016 Gamini Gunawardene’s comments on my most recent response to your correspondent Shamindra Ferdinando (The Island, 5 April 2016) have been brought to my attention. I don’t propose to respond on every issue he raises, just those that relate directly to my earlier reply – Gunawardene’s scattershot historical assertions are probably… More

Amnesty International charges Turkey with ‘illegally returning Syrian refugees’

Thousands of Syrian refugees are living in Turkish refugee camps “In their desperation to seal their borders EU leaders have wilfully ignored the simplest of facts: Turkey is not a safe country for Syrian refugees and is getting less safe by the day, The large-scale returns of Syrian refugees we have documented highlight the fatal flaws in the EU-Turkey deal. . . .It is a deal that can only be implemented with the hardest of hearts and a blithe disregard for international law.. . . Far from pressuring Turkey to improve the protection it offers Syrian refugees, the EU is… More