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BBC: Guinea’s musicians echo decline

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Things aren’t going so well in Guinea. The long-time president, Lansana Conté, passed away last Monday. While he had held the country pretty stable, quite a feat considering the instability of some of its neighboring countries, he also didn’t allow a country rich in natural resources achieve it’s full potential; corruption was rampant and not much would get back to the people of Guinea.

Now he’s passed away; his legal successor has been deposed by a military coup, and guineans are scared, angry and restless: is this the beginning of the end of the hardships they have been through in the last decades, or the beginning of a new era of hardships?

An increasing awareness is a blessing and a curse; as I read thought-provoking and informative posts from fellow bloggers, my eyes are opened to the world in ways they never were. It’s very empowering, because my role as concerned citizen is clarifying itself. However it’s also very distressing and sometimes discouraging to see just how bad the situation really is.

There are no reasons for me to make the connection, but when I read about what is happening in Guinea, I am haunted by the stories and pictures from Zimbabwe from the last couple of weeks. The two countries are extremely different, from their location to the primary practiced religion to their language to their customs, there is nothing much that brings the two together.

Nothing, that is, save the hardships of both countries’ population.

I don’t know much about Zimbabwe’s music industry, but, blessed with amazing friends from Guinea, I have been told of its musicians. Until today, I haven’t been in a position to share it with anyone (you try finding guinean rap on Youtube). But today, as I was surfing the Net looking for more information on the situation in Guinea, I tumbled on some songs embedded in a BBC article about Guinea’s musicians.

Guinea’s musicians echo decline

By Will Ross, for BBC News, Conakry

The frustrations of young Guineans have boiled over into mass riots and military mutinies and this has been reflected by a new generation of musicians, breaking a long tradition of singers praising national leaders.

“When injustice becomes law, to revolt becomes one’s duty,” says Guinean rapper Phaduba Keita.

Most rap stars may not quote French philosophers, but for this 27-year-old, the words of Albert Camus ring true.

“I don’t think there’s anywhere in the world with more corruption than Guinea,” he says.

“Today Conakry the capital is the darkest capital in the world – a capital without electricity, water or infrastructure,” says Keita.

On his album À Quand L’Aubaine? (When Will The Windfall Come?) the Guinean rap star asks when things will improve for people in and outside the country.

“It is not just to the political leaders here but also to the powers in the West, because the future of Africa is in the hands of these two groups. It’s the intellectuals who hold the power.”

Exodus

There is no doubt that most Guineans are thoroughly fed up with their situation: huge mineral wealth underground but mass poverty above it, and the fingers are pointing en masse at the politicians. (…)

Another young musician, Ablaye M’baye – aka Skandal – also lashes out at the country’s leadership before singing a line from his hit reggae song Levez les Rideaux! or Open the Curtains!

“Everyone says they want change but the politicians want to stay,” he says.

“They have tasted the power and they are not working but still get lots of money very easily – the population’s money.

“They live well with their families when the population is suffering from hunger.”

Skandal, who performs with Degg – J Force 3, says the Guinean people have to “Open the Curtains” and change their mentality.

But he also knows the population has few options.

When they took to the streets early last year to protest against poor governance and lack of leadership, the military and police replied with bullets.

More than 130 people were shot dead.

With the opposition weak, people had put their faith in the trade union leaders who called the strikes that brought the country to a standstill.

Read the rest of this article here.

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