August 3, 2021

The Rolling Stones in the backyard | Opinion

The Rolling Stones visited Colombia for the first time in 2016.REUTERS

I remember the moment when I saw him come out on stage with his unique contortions hidden in a huge, sparkling cape. I relived it a few nights ago in the magnificent documentary Olé olé olé: a Trip Across America, by Paul Dugdale, on Netflix, which includes the tour they made through the countries of Latin America, Argentina, Uruguay, Peru, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Mexico until they reached Cuba, where they had never played in 50 years.

After almost two hours of enjoying every moment of those supernatural men in their 70s, their laughter and their energy, seeing the stadiums bursting with crying and delirious music lovers, work after scene, professionalism in the smallest detail, of rediscovering Keith Richards and seeing him cry because it is not possible to get used to feeling so adored, the almost stoic image of Charlie Watts, I was left with a reflection on Colombia that I will try to explain.

The documentary does not dedicate more than a few minutes to its arrival in Bogotá. In Colombia, the land of Gabo, that of magical realism, that of the cadence on the hips of the cumbia, that of the vallenato minstrels, of artisans, that of gold made into museums, that of the masterful lyrics of our new authors, nothing moved them. The images of their arrival were seen, as always, escorted by cars and police cars patrolling the threats of memory so that they would not be killed by our historical violence. At least they left out when Jagger went out to the streets of La Candelaria to eat a wafer. It would have been a bit cloying and noisy because in all the images of that day the sirens sound.

Do we lack the history of Argentina that banned rock during the dictatorship and after the Falklands war and its tango or the gastronomy and the Incas in Peru and Mexico that drowns in tequila the mariachi that sings with the soul ? They had already been in River Plate in 1995 and in Peru in 1968.

We were not the Cuba where they competed with the visit of Barack Obama in March 2016 and where many bars are named after songs by the other greats, the Beatles. Nor the Brazil where it was heard to the rhythm of samba Honky Tonk Women Y Sympaty for the Devil, if I remember well. Indeed, no. And although we are immensely rich in culture, we bear a great responsibility for not having inspired them. It is that we need to think more about cultural and less electoral traits.

A colleague recently told me that the continent’s elections were coming in Peru, Chile, Ecuador and Brazil with a tendency to elect leftist governments as Mexico did with López Obrador, but that it would only matter if Colombia won a leadership of the left hand. It is that geopolitically we are valuable. Because the backyard of the United States, I say, would break the balance on the continent. Profound and successful premise.

The other nations of Latin America have gained in the construction of their own, inspiring identity, capable of getting into the pores of the Stones and their five generations of rock and we, on the other hand, continue to build a narrative of atomized grandeur and sown with coca to be sprinkled with glyphosate.

The creators have insisted time and again on showing us to the world as extensions of Pablo Escobar. In good time for Ciro Guerra and his Embrace of the Serpent, Hector Abad with the Oblivion that We Will Be and Wade Davis with our arterial vein, the Magdalena River, to impose a look of who we really are and not continue to be the nation in which others but ourselves are supported. Not to become the scale again on a tour. At least Chile does not seem to have been so interesting either.

And I would have loved to see us portrayed from that point of view of the Rolling Stones, the one that the documentary promises at the beginning, that unique point of view in the world, which, as they say, no one can see like them.

Hopefully we have a new chance. There always is, especially to better choose the rulers in charge of making a country to nurture the identity of citizens, their sense of homeland, to recognize the value of indigenous and African blood, the subversive character of our dances and of our character. , and then yes say: Please to meet you, hope you guess my name…Please allow me to introduce myself: Colombia.