George Bush go home
It's not in our power to stop Bush's visit. It is in our power to protest it, and we will.
The following is a quote from Zakia Jafri's foreword to Dionne Bunsha's recent book Scarred: Experiments with Violence in Gujarat. (Zakia Jafri is the widow of the late Ahsan Jafri, an ex MP, who was lynched by a mob during the Gujarat riots in 2002.)
... passes away.
'Sahithya Varaphalam' first appeared in the now-defunct 'Malayala Nadu' weekly, later in 'Kalakaumudi' and now in 'Samakalika Malayalam' weekly. An authority on world literature, he introduced to the common reader masterpieces in English, European languages and also Latin American and Japanese literature. As a reviewer judging literary works, he never went by the reputation of the writer but by the true value of the piece under judgment.
The Berlin-based Peter Weiss Foundation for Art and Politics, which organizes the annual Berlin Literature Festival, said Wednesday that public readings will be held on March 20 in dozens of cities in Europe, the United States, Asia and Australia to raise awareness of the substance and form of political lies.
The events are to include a reading of Eliot Weinberger's What I Heard About Iraq in 2005, which was first published in the London Review of Books. It is a compendium of statements from American government authorities and their allies before and after the war and places them in counterpoint to the observations and experiences of soldiers and Iraqis and compares them as well with the progress of the reconstruction, the abuse at Iraqi prisons and the reliability of prewar intelligence.
Among the writers signing the call for the 'day of political lies' were Britain's Doris Lessing and Nobel Prize winner Harold Pinter, India's Amitav Gosh, Turkey's Orhan Pamuk, Americans Paul Auster and Russell Banks, and Germany's Peter Schneider and Ulla Hahn.
"What is wrong with them sitting on the bus together?" I asked artlessly.
"What's wrong -- she is unclean!" said my Rajput host, rising imperiously from the charpai and assuming the dignity of a retired transport commsissioner."They used to carry muck on their heads."
"That was probably two generations ago", I said, impatience showing in my voice.
Alex Cumberbatch writes in, reflecting on the Cheney incident.
As rigs that syphon gallons?
As boot of battalion?
Powell's surreal edition
Reads like crude fiction.
He delights in his old flame,
That damned awful name:
Bombastic beauty, Bin Baalzabooby!
Behold her hell bent fury,
Your only defence, Of Counsel
When scandals rock your smug cartel.
The unborn inveigh from the womb,
Against the sanguinary crew
Who millions slew and slew Hai!
Whispers in Yakusuni Tomb.
... were together all afternoon. Nobody was drinking, nobody was under the influence. [Link.]
That's Dick Cheney on Fox. Wonder why he had to stress "nobody was under the influence" if "nobody was drinking" anyway!
Here's Cheney on that day's hunting:
Dick Cheney: Well, it's brought me great pleasure over the years. I love the people that I've hunted with and do hunt with; love the outdoors, it's part of my heritage, growing up in Wyoming. It's part of who I am. But as I say, the season is ending, I'm going to let some time pass over it and think about the future.
... the team blog where I too am a member, is generating some good amount of discussions. Of course we'll be happy to see more people actively participating in the discussions over there.
Here are a few recent posts:
Betty Friedan died yesterday on her 85th birthday. The following is from R~.
The weekend was just like the previous weekend, and the one before. I was attending one more religious discourse, this time by Swami Chinmayananda. As I entered the packed grounds of Nizams college, Swamiji was already well into his discourse. He was asking the audience to imagine that God grants them all their wishes one fine day; a palatial house, swanky cars, power, position, beautiful wife, ...
My thoughts drifted at this point. Beautiful wife? Comparable to palatial houses and cars? But I didn't say anything to anybody. My much older cousin picked up a small book by the Chinmaya trust on our way out. She was reading parts of it aloud on our way home, and she told me: "he says young girls of the day should emulate strong women like Betty Friedan. Height of contradiction. Commodotizing women in talks while writing like this ..."
That's when I first heard of Betty Friedan. I picked up a copy of the Feminine Mystique in the local library. "I wasn't even conscious of the woman problem [until beginning to write the Feminine Mystique]," Friedan famously remarked in 1973. So true! I didn't seriously think of it myself until I started reading the book, in spite of several brushes with it in the past. The power of her writing, for me, lies in the way she is able to connect with the reader.
"Engineering? Why not home science or even literature?" Often a question I faced when I was trying to give my engineering exams ...
I grew up in a moderately conservative middle class south Indian setting. My family proudly says that the girls and boys in our family are treated exactly the same. And it would appear so. I studied what I wanted and where I wanted, lived the way I wanted, married who I wanted, etc. And so did the boys in the family. But that didn't quite turn out to be equal. The girls attended music and dance classes, while the boys went for volleyball and karate, I learnt embroidery in school (btw, this was in a class called Socially Useful Productive Work (SUPW)!), while my cousin brother learnt how to fix household appliances.
Now I didn't think anything was necessarily wrong with this model. I had no great interest in embroidery, but I didn't care about fixing appliances either. So it didn't matter. Or it didn't until I befriended this new girl who had just moved into the neighborhood. She desperately wanted to play basketball. But of course, she couldn't. Which girl in her right mind would want to indulge in non-delicate things like that. Besides, how was it going to help? You could do embroidery over a casual chat, you could teach your children how to sing and dance, but what on earth would a girl do with basket ball training? All I could do to help was to share my friend's pain and tears.
So, of course I can relate to what Friedan says:
I have had my share of discontent with Friedan. The very white upper middle class issues that she discusses, her opposition to the discussion of lesbianism or sexuality in NOW, etc. But what I am most grateful for is the wave of consciousness she created. She may not have raised all the questions, but she has certainly caused many relevant questions to be raised.
P.S: Two links:More on Betty Friedan @ Yossarian Lives.
Dionne Bunsha's book, titled Scarred: Experiments with Violence in Gujarat, is going to be released at 6.30 pm on February 8, 2006. The venue is Wilson College Hall, Chowpatty, Mumbai. The book launch will be followed by a discussion on "Life in Gujarat's Hindutva Laboratory". Haseena Sheikh (community worker and refugee from Pavagadh village), Bharat Panchal (who lost his wife in the Sabarmati Express tragedy), Tanvir Jafri (son of late Ahsan Jafri, ex-Member of Parliament) and Rohit Prajapati (peace activist, Paryavaran Sukarsha Samiti, Vadodara) will participate in the discussion. N.Ram, Editor-in-chief, The Hindu Group of Publications, will preside over the function.
Scarred: Experiments with Violence in Gujarat asserts the existence of a much larger politics of violence, and tells the story of a disaster in Hindutva’s laboratory which etched deep faults in Gujarat’s social landscape.
While capturing the predicament of the Sabarmati Express survivors, Scarred is an intense, moving portrait of refugees whose lives have been changed forever by the violence that followed. It tells the story of people fighting for justice amidst fear and turmoil, unable to return home. It is also an insightful look into the minds of the perpetrators of this violence, and the world they seek to construct—a world where the ghettoization and socio-economic boycott of Muslims have become the norm.
What exactly happened in Gujarat in February 2002? Why did the country’s political leaders fiddle while Gandhi’s Gujarat burned? In this honest and thought-provoking book, Dionne Bunsha tries to answer these and many of the questions that we are still left with.
A few pages to check out.