German band Mellow Maroc delights Jeddah audience

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The German band Mellow Maroc delights its audience at the consul general’s residence in Jeddah on March 8. 2018.
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The German band Mellow Maroc delights its audience at the consul general’s residence in Jeddah on March 8. 2018.
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The German band Mellow Maroc delights its audience at the consul general’s residence in Jeddah on March 8. 2018.
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The German band Mellow Maroc delights its audience at the consul general’s residence in Jeddah on March 8. 2018.
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Updated 09 March 2018
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German band Mellow Maroc delights Jeddah audience

JEDDAH: German band Mellow Maroc proved a big hit with their distinctive blend of reggae and soul during a concert on Thursday night (March 8) at the German consul general’s residence.

The trio — reggae artist Mellow Mark, Mohammed Reda Djender and Mohammed Raafat — have a big following in their home country, and have taken their politically charged songs protesting war and social injustice on tour around the world, performing in countries including Thailand, Cuba, Russia, Morocco, Costa Rica, Senegal, Egypt, Iraq, South Africa and Serbia.

Their performance in Jeddah was their second in Saudi Arabia, following a well-received show at the Janadriyah festival in Riyadh two years ago.

With their gentle guitar sound and soulful singing, Mellow Maroc’s music really resonated with the crowd, combining reggae and soul that evoked joyful feelings and positive vibes throughout the show.

After the show, Djender highlighted the theme of social inclusiveness promoted by the band’s music.

“We are Germans but our drummer is originally from Egypt, I'm originally from Algeria, and our singer, Mark, is a Muslim,” he said. “The thing that joins us is the philosophy of being a German. Of being an open-minded free person working for one society, for one idea called Germany of today. This is the most important juice of our discourse. This is why we see Germany as a very tolerant Country today.”

German consul general Holger Ziegeler said he has been a fan of Mellow Maroc since seeing the band in Riyadh.

“In the true spirit of the close Saudi-German relations, I relate back to two years ago in 2016, when Germany was the selected as host country for the Janadriyah festival in Riyadh,” he said. “We showed that we are not only a country of people that work hard but also a country of people who love to play and love to have fun.

“Our theme for the festival was, ‘Germany: Land of Ideas’ and one of the cultural demonstrations that we had there was the group Mellow Maroc. When I heard them I said it’s not enough to just see them in Riyadh, I need to bring them to Jeddah as well because Jeddah is a place that is also very open to culture historically, and even more so now with the cultural development of Saudi Arabia through vision 2030.”

The formal nature of the evening on Thursday was offset by the casual, laid-back ambiance of the show, as a delighted crowd of distinguished guests was treated to a memorable and heartfelt performance from the band.

“My idea of serving here in Saudi Arabia is building bridges that people can walk in both directions, from Germany to Jeddah, and from Jeddah to Germany,” said Ziegeler.


South Sudan surgeon wins UN prize for treating war-hit refugees

Updated 25 September 2018
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South Sudan surgeon wins UN prize for treating war-hit refugees

  • South Sudan, the world’s youngest country, has been ravaged by civil war since 2013 after clashes erupted between troops loyal to President Salva Kiir and his former deputy Riek Machar
  • At least 50,000 people have been killed and one in three South Sudanese have been uprooted from their homes

NAIROBI: A South Sudanese surgeon, who has spent two decades helping the sick and injured in the war-torn east African nation, was on Tuesday announced the winner of a UN prize for treating tens of thousands of people forced to flee violence and persecution.
Evan Atar Adaha — a 52-year-old doctor who runs the only hospital in northeastern Maban county — was given the 2018 Nansen Refugee Award for his “humanity and selflessness” where he often risked his safety to serve others, the UN said.
“I feel very humbled. I hope this award can help draw attention to the plight of refugees especially here in Africa where they are often forgotten about,” Adaha told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in an interview.
“You may hear and read about them, but it’s only when you are face-to-face with people who have left everything and are sick with malaria, or are malnourished, or have a bullet wound that you realize how desperate the need for help is.” Nansen Refugee Awardees are recognized by the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) for dedicating their time to help people forced from their homes. Former awardees include Eleanor Roosevelt and Luciano Pavarotti.
South Sudan, the world’s youngest country, has been ravaged by civil war since 2013 after clashes erupted between troops loyal to President Salva Kiir and his former deputy Riek Machar.
The government recently signed a peace agreement with rebels, but the five-year-long war has had a devastating impact.
At least 50,000 people have been killed and one in three South Sudanese have been uprooted from their homes. The country also hosts around 300,000 refugees fleeing violence in neighboring Sudan, according to the UN.
Adaha, known locally as Dr. Atar, has been running Maban hospital — which was once an abandoned health clinic — in the northeastern town of Bunj since 2011.
When he first arrived, he said there was no operating theater and he had to stack tables to create a work area.
Over the years, he has transformed the hospital and created a maternity ward and nutrition center, as well as training young people as nurses and midwives.
The 120-bed hospital now serves around 200,000 people living in Maban county — 70 percent of whom are refugees from Sudan — and conducts about 60 operations weekly but under very difficult circumstances.
Adaha said the only x-ray machine is broken, the operating theater has only one light, and electricity is provided by generators that often break down.
Although the hospital receives support from UNHCR, Adaha said a lack of funds remains his biggest challenge to treating everyone who needs help. “In the hospital, we will treat anyone. It doesn’t matter if you are a rebel, government soldier, refugee or a local person. We have pregnant women, malnourished children and even people who are wounded by bullets,” Adaha said.
“The one rule we have is that no weapons are allowed in the hospital. If you bring a weapon, then we will not treat you. Sometimes it is difficult, but most people now agree.”
The Nansen Refugee Award ceremony takes place on Oct. 1 in Geneva, and the winner will receive $150,000 to fund a project complementing their work.