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Celebration of 20 years of South African Democracy at Carnegie Hall: A Magical Night by Dr. Steeve Coupeau 15 October 2014

On Friday October 10th, Carnegie Hall presented an amazing performance as part of its Ubuntu: Music and Arts of South Africa. The series, which lasts from October 8th to November 5th, invites American audiences to appreciate the amazingly dynamic and diverse cultures of South Africa. The event, Twenty Years of Freedom, was particularly memorable with its impressive lineup including Hugh Masekela and Vusi Mahlasela. Invited guest Dave Matthews enchanted the audience while Somi’s mainstage debut was well received. Somi offered her own versions of Miriam Makeba classics in harmony with Dave Matthews and Vusi Mahlasela. Legendary activist and artist Harry Belafonte was also in attendance to cheer them on.

Hugh Masekela

Photo by Jack Vartoogian 2014

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Timbuktu: An Amazing Portrait of Life under Jihad Rule at the 52nd Edition of NYFF 2014, Lincoln Center by Dr. Steeve Coupeau, A NYIHA MEDIA Exclusive, 2 October 2014.

On Wednesday October 1st, New Yorkers had a chance to watch an amazing film by veteran filmmaker Abderrahmane Sissako on the humiliation and terror wrought by foreign Islamic Jihadists who occupy the ancient Malian city of Timbuktu. Acts of terror include public stoning of a couple whose crime was simply playing music. Another prohibited practice is playing soccer punishable by multiple slashes. In this coercive environment, many Malians of different traditions managed to resist terror. The portraits of the Jihadists painted in the film could be applied to many places endowing the film some elements of universality.

(c) Arnaud Contreras

When asked about the triggering event that led him to tell this story, the filmmaker stated that it was the stoning of people in a small village in Mali on 22 June.  The film decries indifference as the filmmaker perceives his role as a truth teller. In his words: ‘when thousands of men and women are held hostage in Timbuktu, no one talks about it. When a religion is taken hostage, no one talks about it.’ What a stunning way to reveal the true face of terror.

ROCKETSHIP TO PROFITS: Silicon Valley breeds corporate reformers with national reach By David Bacon 04 October 2014

Nearly every metropolitan area these days has its own wealthy promoters of education reform. Little Rock has the Waltons, Seattle has Bill and Melinda Gates, Newark has Mark Zuckerberg, and Buffalo has John Oishei, who made his millions selling windshield wipers.
Few areas, however, have as concentrated and active a group of wealthy reformers as California's Silicon Valley. One of the country's fastest-growing charter school operators, Rocketship Education, started here. A big reason for its stellar ascent is the support it gets from high tech's deep pockets, and the political influence that money can buy.

Rocketship currently operates nine schools in San Jose, in the heart of Silicon Valley. It opened its first school in Milwaukee last year and one in Nashville, Tennessee, this fall. Its first two schools in Washington, D.C., where almost half the students already attend charters, open next year. Rocketship plans include running eight schools in Milwaukee, in Nashville, and in D.C. in the near future.