Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Two stories caught my attention last week: The first was on PRI's The World about the government of Iceland banning strip clubs in an attempt to combat trafficking in women. Over the last several years, over 1000 women have been brought into Iceland (pop. 300,000) for the sole purpose of being put to work in the sex entertainment industry. Studies in other Scandinavian countries have found that for vulnerable women, there is a very short leap from strip clubs to prostitution. Check out the comments on the website to gain insight into opinions and thought(?) processes of some of the yahoos who listened to the show. One of the themes running through Stieg Larsson's trilogy (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets Nest)is trafficking in women and the horrors associated with this human rights abuse situation.

The second real life human horror story concerns the war on innocents in Congo being conducted by the Lord's Resistance Army. Jacob Acaye, a young man who had been captured at age 11 by this group and was able to escape after three weeks, was in Seattle last week talking about this in conjunction with the Peter Eichstadt, author of "First Kill Your Family". They were guests on KUOW's show Weekday.
There have been a number of documentaries made on various aspects of this crisis, especially about the child soldiers. Also check out the website of War Child International.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Early humans popping up everywhere!

A story in Scientific American about DNA analysis of a finger bone found in Siberia, indicates that this may be a previously unknown early human who is not us!

Friday, March 19, 2010

3 by Dove at PNB

Two reviews of last night's opening of PNB's current rep, one in The Seattle Times and the other in Spokane's examiner.com can only hint at how fabulous the whole evening was. The photographs by Angela Sterling accompanying the reviews attest to the incredible gift she has for capturing the essence of every dancer's body, soul, and professionalism. As wonderful as her photos are, they are no substitute for actually being there! Make every effort to get there and tell your friends!

Cape Cosmos

A while ago (1 February 2010), I wrote about a radio program I heard on KUOW about Race and the Space Race. The producer of the show, Richard Paul, just sent me the link to the new website that contains this story. It is well worth taking the time to find out more about black pioneers in space

Monday, March 15, 2010

Nelspruit and Athol Fugard

This last weekend, the New York Times reported on two South African-based issues: one depressing ,one uplifting (isn't that always the case with South Africa?). Let's start with the uplifting story first, shall we? Athol Fugard, the playwright who has been campaigning against apartheid all his life, has a new play currently being staged in a remarkable venue which is now home to a new all black company housed in the new theatre, bearing Fugard's name, located in District 6, site of one of apartheid's most shameful deeds.. The play deals with post-apartheid white shame and guilt.

The second story is about the shame, corruption, violent, and disgraceful behaviour of politicians and bureaucrats in Nelspruit, in their pursuit of fame and fortune in the wake of the World Cup, at the expense of children and vulnerable adults. Only four games will be played in the stadium and for this, two schools were bulldozed, nearby people live in mud huts with no "amenities"......water, electricity, roads. And who will be able to afford to attend these games? Only the local wealthy and foreigners.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A little too much edge.....

Too Much Happiness: Stories Too Much Happiness: Stories by Alice Munro

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I am a real Alice Munro fan. This group of stories I found as disturbing as her stories usually are, as well written as usual, but somehow, not as satisfying. The last story in particular, which lends it's title to the collection, was very much not in keeping with her other works. In most of her stories, all is not as it appears when the stories set out; the little twists and turns are often innocuous seeming but take on a edge that can disarm and disturb. This collection seems more that way than previous collections.

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Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Horrific, just horrific

A story on the BBC World service tonight about the birth defects in Fallujah was just horrific. It seems that rubble from the bombing and fighting has been bulldozed into the river and contaminated the drinking water. The descriptions of the conditions of these children is heart breaking....