Cultural exchange

We are all made of stars, part 3: from the Women’s March in Los Angeles back to Europe


Women’s March, Los Angeles, California, 21 January 2017

In Los Angeles, I remembered what was like to be in a liberal city. I realised that with the people I had met along the journey so far, I had to be careful about what I was saying to so as not to offend anyone.

We talked to a lot of the protesters who attended the march, and of course I related to most of them—but my vision of the US had changed. I could see how distant and disconnected these people were from the people I had met in the Southern states. We are fighting about a global ideology here, universal human rights. But can people care about the global when the local is in disarray?

To me, art and culture are the keys to social improvement. When I was walking with all those people in the Women’s March, I was thinking about that. What this country needs are serious links between the countryside and the cities. The local has got to be involved in the global and people are waiting for these bridges to be built. I believe that our journey could be such a bridge.

At the Women's March in Los Angeles (Photo: Marwen Farhat)

During the march, we met with a real-life star, Miley Cyrus, and of course we rushed to ask her about our favourite subject. She had some great answers; she defended universal values and welcomed Muslims in the US.

Los Angeles is definitely the city of stars. You walk and all you see are five-pointed stars, from the sidewalks to the store windows, and then you actually see famous singers or actors. Of course, it’s the kind of city where anything is possible, you can find your own path there and envision a brighter future. But I couldn’t stop thinking about the rest of the people I met throughout the country.

Flying back home, US to Europe, 31 January 2017

I was leaving the US, and I had been through a lot. I now need to do the same journey through Arab countries, because although the US and the Arab world are asymmetrical on paper, after my journey, I can confidently say that they are built on the same basic principles. It’s like an axial symmetry, it looks different but it’s actually the same on the inside.

Many societies promote their own ideologies using the same symbols, but they divide instead of unify. It’s very paradoxical to me… but it happens everywhere. We all chase after the stars, dividing instead of uniting.

I am going back to Europe and feel scared because the same thing is happening over there. The next presidential elections are in France, my second home, and I don’t know what the future will bring.