Wednesday, August 31, 2011

South Africa continues to jump into bed with China

Does the ANC really still believe that being comrades in arms with China is the good and revolutionary thing to do? Like the ministers in many other African countries, South African government ministers continue to allow China access to resources in exchange for infrastructure funding.   Recently, the most egregious display of this pandering, sycophant-ish behaviour has been on display on the international political stage:  South Africa and China have prevented UN resolutions condemning the bombing of civilians in Southern Sudan:
"South Africa and China are preventing action in the U.N. Security Council, and he [Daniel Beleke of Human Rights Watch is] hoping this report of ongoing airstrikes will get the international community's attention. The government of Sudan, though, is also trying to get the U.N. Security Council's attention."
Where is their integrity?  Where is their humanity?  Where are the ideals they fought for for so long?

Monday, August 22, 2011

In Stegner's Footsteps

To Be Sung UnderwaterTo Be Sung Underwater by Tom McNeal

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A truly remarkable work of fiction. Beautiful writing, interesting characters, great story. And, the author was a Stegner Fellow!: he learned the lessons of Wallace Stegner well.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A good summer reasd

Stone ArabiaStone Arabia by Dana Spiotta

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The author has great insight into the hyper-reality and excessive empathy generated by heart-rending news stories. A good take on the old Shakespearean notion of appearance versus reality and self delusion and self reinvention.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Latakia in a quieter time and under siege

Latakia assaulted from the sea by Bashar the Butcher on 13 August:

Today's NYT reports on the continued shelling of Latakia
This photograph is from the NYT article, followed by one we took overlooking Latakia in June 2010.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Uncomfortable Reading

 PropertyProperty by Valerie Martin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

  Stories about slavery and the consequent distortions of relationships, ideology, and   behaviour always make uncomfortable reading.  Valerie Martin has written a spare, insightful story about two women: slave and owner.  As usual, who is truly enslaved is the crux of the story.  A previous book by Martin, Mary Reilly, is about the servant of Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde.  Martin's characters have depth and she explores some of the more unsavory sides of people's personalities.

Pendleton Woolen Mills & American Indian College Fund

Pendleton Woolen Mills creates beautiful blankets to benefit American Indian College Fund.  The latest design is based on the magnificent glass sculptures of Preston Singletary.