a curious Yankee in Europe's court

blog about living in Europe, and Italy

A courageous man: Vittorio Arrigoni

Posted on the July 6th, 2011

Vittorio Arrigoni was a young Italian activist who dedicated his life to defending human rights. In 2008, this commitment led him to Gaza aboard one of the Free Gaza Ships. Arrigoni chose to remain in Gaza to work with the International Solidarity Movement.

In April of this year, Arrigoni was abducted and killed. The documentary below, “Staying Human,” was made before Arrigoni died. In the film, he talks about his life and his work as an activist and why he chose to live amid the dangers and deprivation of Gaza.

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Art’s got to be controversial: Jovanotti

Posted on the May 5th, 2010

Q. What do you think the Iranian government is afraid of? Essentially the question is, why do governments censor music?

A. Of losing control. They’re just afraid of losing control, I think. Control is what they’re afraid of losing. Because a free guy.. a guy who is free to express himself is… uh… how do you say in English? … is a pain in the ass. For the power, for the government, he’s a problem.  (Excerpt from Jovanotti talk at Harvard)

The world has many wonderful musicians. And then, in those rare cases, there are musicians who also are poets. Jovanotti is one of the latter. (Bios here and here.)

His music often celebrates joy and expresses a deep love of living. He also is a political and social activist, especially in regard to human rights.

Last month, Jovanotti was invited to be the star speaker in a panel discussion at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. The subject was about how music and social activism intersect (“Music and Human Rights: Success and Limits” April 27, 2010).

Fortunately, the Harvard people made a video of the talk (1:40 — not the best production, but pazienza) which I’ve posted below. I’m also first posting a video of Jovanotti’s extraordinary music video (and one of his most famous songs) – Mi fido di te (I trust you).

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