Manu Chao in Arizona

You won't hear much more from me this side of January but some more news from Arizona caught my eye lately.

So you know the way Manu Chao is such a cool f**ker , in the sense of knowing where real people are at? Well at the end of his US tour in September, he held a free gig in a car park in Phoenix, Arizona as a protest against that state's (particularly odious, I think it's fair to say) immigration policies. The gig was held in conjunction with the National Day Labourer Organising Network (NDLON), which has a particular interest in assisting migrants, through its Alto Arizona campaign.

Arizona is home to an interesting spot called Tent City, set up by Sherrif Arpaio of Maricopa County. This place would rank high on a list of grotesque human creations, on account of the major Guantanamo vibe it has going on. Illegal or undocumented migrants are held here in (you guessed it) tents, and undergo degrading treatment, including the full extremes of desert temperatures. Chao, with bandmate Madjid Fahem, visited Tent City and performed his song Clandestino. Alex Rivera filmed the proceedings and the footage is being hosted by NDLON - for full details. The clip is below.

The whole thing would tend to remind one of Woody Guthrie's travels through the US in the 1930's (when coincidentally, another economic depression was taking place), visiting labour camps and workers' strikes, and penning tunes like Vigilante Man along the way. Anyway, kudos to Manu Chao for drawing attention to cause that lies somewhere north of unfashionable.


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