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Cablegate: Gabon: First Daniel Pearl World Music Days a Popular And

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R 241223Z NOV 09
FM AMEMBASSY LIBREVILLE
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 1544

UNCLAS LIBREVILLE 000518


DEPT FOR AF/PD TIJEN AYBAR; LYNN ALISON; LYNN ROCHE, PATRICIA
EHRNMAN, ECA/PE CHRIS MINER

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KPAO PHUM OIIP AO GB
SUBJECT: GABON: FIRST DANIEL PEARL WORLD MUSIC DAYS A POPULAR AND
DIPLOMATIC SUCCESS

1. (U) Summary. The first-ever Gabonese Daniel Pearl World Music
Days celebration was held in Libreville from November 17-20, with
the participation of partner embassies Spain, Japan, Korea, and
France making it truly a multicultural event. A two-night music and
film festival was open to the public at the local American School,
the film biopic "A Mighty Heart" was broadcast on local television,
and a concert for local students was held at the Ambassador's
residence. For a Public Diplomacy-lite post, the week-long events
required a strong team effort, which was rewarded with equally
strong praise from participants, partners, and the public alike.
End Summary.

---------------
A JOINT EFFORT
---------------

2. (U) Embassy Libreville invited several diplomatic missions to
join us in the inaugural Daniel Pearl events to truly convey the
message of music transcending borders. The Korean Embassy
contributed a performance of traditional Korean drumming and an
accompanying exhibition of the instruments used in the film. The
Japanese Embassy provided a modern selection of "J-pop" videos
screened during the mini film festival. The French Embassy donated
a musical documentary about the cultural heart of Paris, Montmarte.
The Spanish Embassy provided the film biography of celebrated
flamenco singer Camaron that entertained the Gabonese viewers.

---------------------
SPREADING THE HARMONY
---------------------

3. (U) To promote the message "Harmony for Humanity", Embassy
Libreville turned to creative and innovative ways to raise awareness
of Daniel Pearl and his foundation's purpose. Post enlisted IVLP
alumnus and local popular political cartoonist, Lybek, to educate
the public regarding Daniel Pearl's life and death. A series of
five strips ran in the largest local paper "L'union" featuring
themes of multiculturalism, musical diversity, and standing up for
one's beliefs. American graphic artist Sonya Soroko/Grey Hat
Designs donated a striking design featuring the flags of participant
countries. Post printed hundreds of t-shirts, which were given out
to promote the events and to every program attendee. Post sent
printed programs and brochures in advance to local schools and our
diplomatic partners. PD Officer appeared on a popular local midday
television program to talk about Daniel Pearl and the philosophy
behind the events. She also was interviewed on pan-African radio
station Africa1 and local network RTN, in addition to newspaper
coverage.

--------------------
MUSIC IS THE MESSAGE
--------------------

4. (U) Post obtained permission from Paramount Studies to broadcast
"A Mighty Heart" on television in Gabon on November 19. The week
ended with an early evening concert at the Ambassador's residence on
November 20. Invited schoolchildren and their parents joined
representatives from the diplomatic community to enjoy the Martin
Luther King School Choir's traditional song, dance, and an inspiring
sketch whose resounding refrain "Yes we can!" was shouted en mass by
the enthusiastic audience.

5. (U) Kuomi Gabon, a local youth group dedicated to improving
multicultural understanding, brought hearing-impaired children to
dance to traditional and modern songs that they "heard" through
vibrations in the stage against their bare feet. The message of
understanding and appreciating our differences was starkly
illustrated as the deaf children danced and amazed with acrobatic
feats in time to sounds they could not hear, only feel.

6. (U) Post did not have to look far for a headliner for the
evening. Community Liaison Officer and singer Megan Clark, wowed
the crowd with a strong selection of American popular songs. The
children were so carried away that they joined Clark on stage as
background singers, dancing and liberally peppering her American
country-tinged vocals with their own musical flavor. It was a
perfect example of how music defies national boundaries, transcends
cultural differences, and brings people together to share a great
time.

----------
COMMENT
----------

7. (U) Gabon's first participation in the annual Daniel Pearl World
Music Days was a success, with strong media coverage, wide local
participation, and most importantly, showing by example that music
transcends cultural and political borders to bring people together.
Participating embassies involved found the experience rewarding and
look forward to next year's events. The Korean Ambassador
personally thanked Embassy Libreville for providing a forum to share
his culture. The Daniel Pearl Foundation called it a "truly amazing
event" which no one in Libreville would ever forget. It is our hope
that in the future, perhaps with more resources (both financial and
human), we can expand the program to Sao Tome and include additional
diplomatic partners in the events. End Comment.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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