I was greatly disappointed to learn that Vieux Farka Touré performed last week at the Tel Aviv Opera House on November 26, 2010. The son of the late, world-renowned Malian guitarist and singer Ali Farka Touré, Vieux Farka Touré has gained prominence in the international music world in recent years as one of Africa’s leading musicians. His eponymous debut album was released in 2006, and he has since released three albums and performed at the 2010 World Cup in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Vieux Farka Touré’s performing in Tel Aviv is a clear breach of the international movement for boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israeli apartheid in Palestine—whose inception was in Occupied Palestine by Palestinian civil society. As an artist hailing from post-colonial Mali—a country well familiar with the ravages of colonialism and western imperialism—I had hoped and expected that Touré would have the moral courage to stand against participating in the normalization and legitimization of Israel’s colonization of Palestine.