Cultures Of Resistance Travelogues: Festival Au Desert, Mali

Musicians at Festival Au Desert, MaliThe facets of a monocultural empire are various and completely integrated--economic hegemony opens the door for cultural dominance and, ultimately, erasure.  Cultural "exchange" is, rather, an injection.  Sometimes cultural "things" are extracted to season the empire stew, but for the most part it remains an injection, a sterilization against original and independent cultural development.

In January 2009 the CULTURES OF RESISTANCE film crew danced the resistance at the Festival Au Desert in Mali--a music festival drawing on the Tuareg tradition of meeting seasonally to peacefully settle disputes, compare and exchange the bounty of their travels, and to party up with nonstop music, dancing, games, and other activities.  Festival Au Desert, MalliThe Tuareg are a nomadic people of west and north Africa who freely traveled the Saharan interior of what is now about a half dozen countries.  The modern international community of poorly devised nation states is not conducive to such a rich, nomadic lifestyle, however, and so the Tuareg run the grave risk of becoming little more than a myth of yore or an evocative name to sell SUVs.

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