Hi everyone,

I hope this post finds you all well. 🙂
I hesitated before posting this, as it might be slightly controversial; but I decided to go ahead, and here’s why: As we celebrate Black History Month, of course we also have on our mind the Civil Rights Movement, the fight for basic human rights to be respected all over the world, the access to food, education, health care… The need for someone who is living an honest life and working hard, to be treated as a decent citizen.

A few weeks ago I was sent the following video, which was filmed in Paris during the 2008 riots, riots pertaining to what I described above, with French citizens protesting, among other issues, on behalf of undocumented workers.
I’m writing this post because I think it’s one of those topics some might rather avoid. One institution that did not shy away from the discussion is the Harvard Educational Review, volume 79 of Winter 2009, which focuses on the experience of undergraduate Latina/o students. I wrote a column in the 2010 Fall edition of The Multicultural Review about it; H.E.R. devotes a whole section to undocumented students, in their own voice.

The video reminded me that there are still people fighting for these basic needs, and many doing so through art. There was something about watching that woman sing in the midst of the riots with a smile and a message of peace… May peace also be found in all the parts of the world currently shaken by unrest.

French translations of the lyrics below. Wishing you all a wonderful weekend.

Without papers i was born, without papers i shall pass away.

Let me tell you about the immmigrant
Let me tell you “undocumented”
Put aside all clichés, all prejudices
All speeches, demagogic,
They are ready for everything, it is poignant.

Without papers I was born, without papers I shall pass away

I did not come to break,
I did not come to burn
I did not come to steal
I did not come to beg

It’s always the same song,
Never positive, still negative,
I tell you that the malaise comes from there,
It is always the same that they show!!!!

Let me tell you about the immigrant
I want to tell you about disparity
A lot of people laud justice
But make off behind the vice
All these faces which we undress
And these messages that are wasted

Without papers I was born, without papers I shall go away

*The singer, Maddy, is a French citizen.*

6 thoughts on “Black History Month Continues… In Music

  1. Dear Nathalie,

    I always opened your blog with enthusiasm because what you share moves a secret little corner in my heart. I am sure most of us the outsiders, the immigrants, are moved by the lyrics of this song. We have felt the fear and the rejection from others in our new country. I am sure that many of us have positive stories to tell, stories of kindness. I am fortunate to have many American friends, and this feeling of community is why I feel home here. I wish every immigrant receives love and kindness. There are communities in USA, and in the world opening their arms wide to embrace us all. Keep strong, keep the hope ! Thank you Nathalie for sharing this song.


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