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Algerian singer Idir, a Berber icon, has died in Paris - The Boston Globe
Idir, an Algerian singer who gave voice to the Berber and Kabyle cultures, has died in Paris. He was 70.
PARIS Idir, an Algerian singer who gave voice to the Berber and Kabyle cultures, has died in Paris. He was 70. Saturdays death of the singer, whose real name was Hamid Cheriet, was confirmed on a post on his official Facebook page that read we regret to announce the passing of our father (to all), Idir. Rest in peace. French media report that he died from pulmonary disease after being hospitalized on Friday. President Abdelmadjid Tebboune of Algeria paid tribute to him on Twitter, saying that with his passing, Algeria has lost one of its monuments, and referred to him as an icon of Algerian art. Mr. Idir was a national treasure in his native Algeria. Born on Oct. 25, 1949 in Ait Lahcene, near the Kabylie capital of Tizi Ouzou and part of French Algeria at the time, he studied to be a geologist, but his life took a twist in 1973 when he was called up as a last-minute replacement on the radio to sing A Vava Inouva. It was a lullaby with the rich oral traditions of the Berber culture and became a beloved song in the country. Mr. Idir moved to France in 1975, after finishing military service, where he recorded his first album, also titled A Vava Inouva, and a series of popular North African-style songs in the same decade. The style of his music, with lone vocals and acoustic guitar, championed the sounds of Kabyle music, and as such he was widely considered an ambassador of the Kabyle culture. The Berber-speaking Kabyle people are a sub-group of North and West Africas wider Berber ethnic population. In Algeria, the Kabyles are a minority that have historically been repressed by the central government and are indigenous to the north of the country, spanning the Atlas Mountains. Many Kabyle settled in France following the Algerian civil war.
A beloved teacher dies from coronavirus. Unconscious bias in health care may have hastened her death. - The Boston Globe
An indictment of this nation’s typical indifference to Black lives.
In recent weeks, the inevitable has become impossible to deny. Communities of color are disproportionately represented in coronavirus infections and COVID-19 deaths in many cities, including Boston. Nationwide, Black people account for 30 percent of coronavirus cases, though they represent about 13 percent of the population. Racism and health disparities still continues . . . [and] the ZIP code in which we live still predetermines the type of care we receive, Mia Mungin, a registered nurse, posted on Facebook after her sisters death. A Wellesley College and UMass Amherst graduate, Mungin was a social studies teacher at a Brooklyn charter school. She is at least the 28th teacher to die from COVID-19 in New York City, the pandemics epicenter. As her family has shared, Ranas battle with COVID-19, is a painful example of the disproportionate impact COVID-19 is having on African American and Latinx families across the country, Paula Johnson, Wellesleys president, said in a statement. Racial and gender disparities in health care are a moral and systemic failure. We can and must do better." Mungins symptoms began with a fever on March 12. Three days later, with a cough, shortness of breath, and a headache, she went to an emergency room. She asked for a coronavirus test; what she received was medication for her asthma and headache, according to her sister. Her breathing difficulties worsened. On March 19, Mia called an ambulance. As Mungin was examined, she repeated, I cant breathe. Thats when, her sister says, a paramedic insinuated she was having a panic attack. Once at the hospital, Mungin again asked for a coronavirus test. This time, a doctor said, "'Her lungs are clear. Were not going to test for corona, because we dont have enough tests, her sister said in a March interview with a New York television station. Governors, doctors, and nurses nationwide have been demanding more tests. Without them, doctors must choose who will and who wont receive one even when a person is exhibiting likely coronavirus symptoms. In a medical industry riddled with explicit and unconscious bias, that has dire consequences for people of color. Mungin was someone I could particularly identify with as a young Black professional woman, and it just emphasized to me that even across socioeconomic backgrounds, we as Black folks have these disproportionately poor health outcomes due to the way we are treated by the health care system, Dr. Uché Blackstock, a Brooklyn physician and founder and CEO of Advancing Health Equity, told me. Before coronavirus, her patients were racially and socioeconomically diverse. Now, theyre "blacker and browner. From a clinicians perspective, I understand that when you have limited resources you cannot test everybody, she said. But I also know that embedded in that is racial bias as well. Those inequities can be perpetuated again and again. When Mungin went to the hospital for the third and final time, she wasnt breathing, her sister said. She was intubated and put on a ventilator. Her family tried unsuccessfully to get her approved for the remdesivir clinical trial. Thats the drug that Dr. Anthony Fauci recently touted as a possible treatment for COVID-19 patients. I asked Blackstock how people of color can better advocate for themselves during this unprecedented health crisis. She said it was unfair that the question even has to be asked. There are so many structural barriers and structural inequities, its like everything is stacked up against us, she said. You can go in fully informed, you can bring someone with you, and that doesnt change outcomes. The work to be done doesnt need to be on our shoulders; the work needs to be done within the system. Real structural changes need to be made in health care, and in this country. If those changes ever come, theyre too late for Mungin, who loved teaching, family, and her puppies, Bandit and Rosie. No one can say if she would have survived COVID-19 had she been tested and admitted on her first hospital visit. That we even have to wonder at all is an unwavering indictment of this nations historical and ongoing indifference to Black lives. Renée Graham can be reached at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @reneeygraham.