Portfolio Sonore : À la rencontre des spectateurs du nouvel an Chinois

Moi même et Nastasia Peteuil avons réalisé un petit portfolio sonore pendant le défilé du Nouvel An Chinois à Paris en février dernier. L’occasion de rencontrer les spectateurs et d’en savoir plus sur les raison de leur venu. 

Retrouvez plus de photographies ici.


Michel, the melancholy, and Lara Fabian

Portrait.  In one of my class we were asked to reveal the secret of one of our classmates. Here his what  Michel was hiding.  

Michel Serra is a sensitive man. You might not guess it at first sight, since he is a relaxed masculine guy from southern France. Interesting and easy to talk to, he has this chanting accent that only people from Marseille have when they speak. Chatting with him, you would think that he is the type of guy who likes to play football and drink beer at the weekend with his buddies on weekends. But when asked about his musical tastes he gives an answer you would not be expecting. «I’m a really big fan of Lara Fabian» he says without a hint of irony. He makes a pause, blushing a little, giving me some time to digest what he just said. Fabian is a Belgian pop singer who used to be huge in the 90’s. She mostly sings ballads and love songs. Not what you would expect Michel to listen to.

Born in Sofia (Bulgaria) and raised in Aubagne in Southern France, Michel got into Lara Fabian’s music when he was 11-years-old. And surprisingly enough he did not like it at all at first. «I hated it. I only listened to her because of one of my friend. She and I had what we could call a fling, and I did it for her» he explains. She still seems to be a big part of Michel’s life. «Listening to Lara Fabian takes me back. It’s like opening an old book that you love. It’s always hard for me to put it down because there are no more pages to write» he says, his eyes looking for something that’s not in the room. Once again, he stops talking for a bit. With his eyes looking somewhere else, Michel looks like a very melancholic person.

When pointed out that it’s rather unusual for a guy to be a fan of a ballads singer, Michel raises his voice : «So what ? I’m not ashamed of it. She has beautiful lyrics and she’s not like all those products, those singers who bring nothing new to the music world. I’d rather kill myself than go to a Lady Gaga concert ». He met Lara Fabian a few times : «The first time I was 13, she was signing her latest CD. I saw her again, at various events. But I think she knows who I am. When I go to her concerts I’m always in the front row, I want her to notice me. I don’t like blending in, I want to stick out». Because this is actually who Michel is, a self-confident guy who you wouldn’t mess with. «One more thing about her, she is hot and she smells like sex when she is on stage» he adds with a big smile.

Outside Lara Fabian’s songs, Michel is into 60’s, 70’s and 80’s rock music. Not what you would expect from a French pop lover. But she is different : «Lara is also a songwriter and she has an amazing voice. Her lyrics are very deep and beautiful». He takes a deep breath and adds  : «She brings out my artistic side. I’ve been singing and playing guitar for 10 years. I’m also interested in photography, she was my first and she is still my favourite model». When asked about the impact of Fabian’s music on his personality, Michel smiles, closes his eyes for a second and says « What was the question again ? Oh yes… I guess you could say I’m a sensitive guy».

Fabien Jannic

You can check out Michel’s blog here. Be sure to read his fabulous articles.

À Paris, une soupe pas si populaire que ça

Reportage rue Santeuil où le centre social de la Mairie de Paris ne désemplit pas. Avec la crise, de plus en plus de jeunes et de salariés sont touchés viennent chercher de quoi se nourrir parce qu’ils ne peuvent plus s’alimenter correctement.

Deux jeunes hommes d’origine asiatiques en doudounes dorées passent les deux portes battantes. Riant et discutant en japonais, ils rejoignent, insouciants, la file qui se crée à l’intérieur du bâtiment. A les regarder, on pourrait croire à la queue pour un concert de musique pop. Pourtant, la file qui s’allonge est bel et bien celle de la soupe populaire de Paris, située rue Santeuil dans le 5ème arrondissement. Surprenant ? Ils ne sont pourtant pas les seuls jeunes à venir chercher des rations alimentaires. Devant-eux patiente une jeune fille aux vêtements fatigués et à la chevelure blonde tirée. Jetant des regards à la cantonade elle s’impatiente, triturant son petit ticket bleu.

Thomas DARAM from flickr

Seuil de pauvreté. Une petite foule compacte patientait déjà dehors dès 17h30, l’heure de l’ouverture du centre. Un vieux monsieur bien habillé fume une cigarette à côté d’un homme au regard méfiant. En ces temps de crises économique, ce ne sont plus seulement les sans-abris qui se retrouvent ici. Des sans-papiers et des sans-abris, mais aussi des chômeurs et des salariés. En 2009 près de 14% de la population se situait sous le seuil de pauvreté selon l’INSEE. Une situation qui alarme les associations d’aides au plus démunis. Celles-ci craignent que de plus en plus de personnes se retrouvent en difficulté avec les mesures d’austérité annoncées par le gouvernement.

Mardi dernier, le Secours Catholique à lancé une campagne de don axée sur les jeunes majeurs. L’association a constaté qu’ils sont de plus en plus a venir frapper à sa porte. «Être jeune, c’est souvent multiplier les handicaps» indique l’organisme sur son site internet «les jeunes n’ont aucune aide, aucun droits. Toutes les conditions sont réunies pour que ça s’aggrave». Toujours selon l’INSEE, en 2009, près d’un quart des 18-24 ans vivaient sous le seuil de pauvreté. Une situation qui n’a cessée de se détériorer ces dernières années d’après les associations d’aide aux personnes.

Coupon. Quand les portes de la soupe populaire ouvrent enfin, c’est sans empressement que la quinzaine de personnes présentes pénètrent dans le bâtiment vétuste. Pendant l’heure qui suivent des dizaines de personnes vont se succéder. La plupart sont détentrices d’un coupon, rose ou bleu, qui fait office de seule preuve que ce n’est pas leur premier passage. Trop dignes pour parler de leur situation, la plupart préfère regarder dans le vide. Plus q’une volée de marches à monter pour rentrer dans la cafétéria. Le chemin s’arrête là pour ceux qui ne sont pas venus manger.

Fabien Jannic

This is Uganda, not Ugayda

Described as one of the worst place for LGBT people to live in by Human Rights Organisations, the African country is planning to adopt a law that would punish homosexuality by death. Will the UK’s threat to cut economic aid change anything? 

“The UK is showing a bullying mentality. We are tired of them treating us like children”. This statement was not from the Iranian government, it is not denouncing British foreign policy towards them. It is from Uganda, and it is about gay rights. That is how the African country’s Prime Minister called the intention of the UK to cut aid to Commonwealth countries that do not respect Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transexual (LGBT) rights. Reactions were strong from all over the African continent last month, when British PM David Cameron, announced his intentions, especially in the little Ugandan Republic, Where many people see homosexuality as violating their religious and cultural beliefs and homosexual acts have been illegal in the country since 2000.

Like in many other African countries, it is not a good idea to be openly gay in Uganda. Though, according to the BBC, almost one million LGBTs are living in the country, on a total population of 31 million, Uganda is one of the 70 countries where homosexual acts are illegal, and penalties can go up to life imprisonment. Laws prohibiting homosexual activities were first put in place under British colonial rule in the 19th century. In 2005, a law banning gay marriage was passed, making Uganda the second country in the world to do so. LGBT people face discrimination on a daily basis and harassment at the hands of the media, the police, and the government. The U.S. State Department’s 2006 Country Report on Human Rights for Uganda stated that homosexuals “faced widespread discrimination and legal restrictions”.

Yet, Uganda possesses a strong gay rights movement.  The Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMU), an LBGT umbrella organisation, was able to express itself and its views inside and outside the country, even though its members routinely shift locations in Uganda for their safety.  On the 10th of November, Frank Mugisha, a LGBT rights activist, was awarded the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award. “It gives me more courage to continue doing the work I’m doing” Mugisha said to The Associated Press “It sends out a message, not only to my country but to other countries that criminalise homosexuality”. Ty Cobb, the head of the Human Rights Campaign, said Mugisha is a role model for gays and lesbians in Africa and the world.

From blackwine on Flickr

The award gave some hope to the Uganda LGBT community. Since 2009 a Anti-Homosexuality Bill, inspired by Christian Evangelists, has been under observation in Parliament. The law would create a new type of criminalisation for LGBT people, named “aggravated homosexuality”.  It is defined to include homosexual acts committed by either a person who is HIV-positive, is a parent or authority figure. Such an offence would be sentenced the death penalty. It also includes provisions for Ugandans who engage in same-sex relations outside of Uganda and includes penalties for individuals, companies, media organisations, or non-governmental organisations that know of gay people or support LGBT rights. Called by the press tbe “Kill the Gays Bill”, it received a lot of coverage from international medias. After being pressured by the international community, the country’s President Yoweri Museveni postponed the application of the law pending further investigations during most of 2010. Last October, the debate was re-opened, making it an immediate threat for the Ugandan LGBT community.

If David Cameron thought his declaration regarding aid cuts would have a positive effect, he was wrong. Not only Uganda’s President rejected the threat by saying “Uganda is, if you remember, a sovereign state and we are tired of being given these lectures by people” adding, “If they must take their money, so be it”. But even LGBT activists joined him to call off the measure. The director of the British Human Rights Lobby, Peter Tatchell, noted that: “Although these abuses are unacceptable and violate international humanitarian law, cuts in aid would penalise the poorest, most vulnerable people”. Uganda would lose £700 million if Britain were to cut its financial aid.

David Cameron’s move is seen as counterproductive by the Ugandan LGBT activists. Most of them are not expecting the public opinion on homosexuality  to evolve in a positive way if the aid was cut. According to the Pew Global Attitudes Project poll of 2007, 96% of Ugandans said that homosexuality should be “rejected by society”, making it one of the highest rejections of homosexuality in any country. And it is not likely too change anytime soon. Last year, the tabloid Rolling Stone published a story featuring the names, and in some cases photographs, of 100 homosexuals under the headline “Hang Them, they want our children”. At the beginning of 2011, David Kato, whose picture was among the 100 listed in the Rolling Stone article and was featured on the cover of the edition, was assaulted in his home in Mukono Town by an unknown male assailant. He later died on route to the Kawolo Hospital. A man was sentenced last week to 30 years in prison for his murder.

For most of the Ugandan LGBT community, it is hard to see any hope of change in the near future. For Samuel, a 30 year old gay activist interviewed by the French gay magazine Têtu, “If we all leave they will have won. Even though for most of the people, the first reaction is reject, I think they will realise someday that we are not so different”. The activist remains optimistic, because he knows that things can change quickly : “Look at South Africa, they legalised gay marriages! It’s incredible, who would have thought that an African country would have authorised LGBT union before most European countries?

Fabien Jannic

Un mois avec sursis pour le jeune réfugié Libyen

Makram M. était jugé au TGI de Paris lundi dernier pour présence illégale sur le sol Français. Compte rendu de l’audience.

Fraternite - Liberte - Egalite de ·júbilo·haku·, sur Flickr

Lunettes en écailles posées sur le coin du bureau, le Président secoue la tête d’un air contrarié. « Qui est le suivant ? Je ne retrouve plus ma feuille de passage » soupire-t-il en regardant sa montre. Il est 15h24 au tribunal de grande instance de Paris et en ce lundi de novembre, le suivant c’est Makram M. Le jeune Libyen d’à peine 22 ans semble ne pas savoir ce qu’il fait dans le box des accusés. Son regard perdu traîne pendant quelques instants sur les boiseries et la tapisserie jaune de la chambre 23. Quelques secondes plus tard et après un regard désapprobateur de l’un juges, ses yeux se fixent sur son traducteur.

Makram est accusé d’être présent illégalement sur le sol Français. Il possédait 1,2 grammes de cannabis lors de son arrestation à la station de métro Strasbourg Saint-Denis samedi 26 novembre. Le prévenu fait l’objet d’une interdiction du territoire. « Je ne comprends pas trop ce que vous faites là » s’interroge le juge en plissant des yeux « vous étiez dans cette même salle il y a huit mois pour les mêmes raisons. Vous n’aviez pas compris qu’il fallait partir ? ». La défense du jeune homme tient en un mot « Je suis en transit. J’ai fui la guerre et je cherche à rentrer en Suisse pour déposer une demande d’asile » explique-t-il d’une voix faible.

« Paris, ça fait quand même un gros détour non ? » interroge le procureur dans son très court réquisitoire. Le traducteur ne prends même pas la peine de retranscrire le discours au jeune Libyen. Celui-ci regarde en l’air, cherchant quelque chose des yeux dans les dorures du plafond. Quand le procureur se rassoit et se replonge dans ses dossiers d’un air satisfait, c’est au tour de l’avocate de la défense de prendre la parole. Les cheveux tirés en arrière et le regard fuyant, elle défend mollement son client. « Je ne conteste rien de ce qu’a fait M. M. , mais pense qu’il mérite seulement une peine d’avertissement » annonce-t-elle « après tout il cherche juste à quitter la France ».

Enfin, c’est au tour de Makram de parler. Dans un souffle il explique qu’il n’a pas l’intention de causer de problèmes et qu’il compte rejoindre la Suisse dès que possible. Et d’ajouter  : « Je n’ai plus de famille, j’ai appris la semaine dernière que mes parents étaient morts ». Temps d’arrêt dans la salle. Il n’y plus personne pour regarder les dorures  de la chambre 23.

Fabien Jannic