Desmond Tutu: Speaking Truth to Power

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“Mr. Zuma, you and your government don’t represent me. You represent your own interests. I am warning you out of love, one day we will start praying for the defeat of the A.N.C. government. You are disgraceful.” (Archbishop Desmond Tutu, speaking in 2011 during Jacob Zuma's period as President of South Africa, as quoted in … Continue reading Desmond Tutu: Speaking Truth to Power

Abdulrazak Gurnah’s Nobel Speech: “A kind of beauty”

. . . writing cannot be just about battling and polemics, however invigorating and comforting that can be. Writing is not about one thing, not about this issue or that, or this concern or another, and since its concern is human life in one way or another, sooner or later cruelty and love and weakness … Continue reading Abdulrazak Gurnah’s Nobel Speech: “A kind of beauty”

Writing Fiction: “A Degree of Possession”

Whether or how much a book draws from real life isn’t strictly quantifiable . . . Part of this mystery is due to the chaotic consciousness native to the novel-writing process, which requires a degree of possession . . . To dig a book out of the ground can be backbreaking, hand-tearing work; you need to forget what you … Continue reading Writing Fiction: “A Degree of Possession”

27 Million Reasons Why

The city of Minneapolis has agreed to pay $27m to settle a civil lawsuit with the family of George Floyd, who died under the knee of a white policeman. The Guardian cites the family’s lawyer, Chris Stewart, about the huge settlement figure: . . . what happens is that trickles down to decisions in the communities across this country. … Continue reading 27 Million Reasons Why

Quote of the Week: A Shipwrecked Mother Tongue

For me, linguistic displacement is a mark of origin. When I was five years old, I learned French at the Alliance Française in Santiago; at seven years old, when we moved to California, I learned English and forgot my French. From that moment forward, I have remained sandwiched between Spanish and English, feeling comfortable to a … Continue reading Quote of the Week: A Shipwrecked Mother Tongue

Quote of the Week: Querying the Maori Canon

Canons have real-world effects. When I first talked about teaching Māori literature in an English department in New Zealand, a number of people questioned whether there would be enough writing to justify a whole course, let alone a whole job. This assumption is not accidental – it grows out of a colonial view that Indigenous … Continue reading Quote of the Week: Querying the Maori Canon

Excerpt of the Week: China as a Mere “Borderland” in Eyes of Ancient Indian Buddhist Clergy

According to academic Tansen Sen, the curious issue of a "borderland complex" among Buddhist clergy --- earlier suggested in the work of Faxian (337-442) --- is clearly expressed in the account of Xuanzang's travel to India, Great Tang Records on the Western Regions. Writes Tan: In a conversation between his Indian hosts at the Nalanda … Continue reading Excerpt of the Week: China as a Mere “Borderland” in Eyes of Ancient Indian Buddhist Clergy

Excerpt/Quote of the Week: “Meine Liste ist fertig”

Opening of the 2020.5.11 newsletter (Unser Newsletter zu Özgürüz) from Can Dündar, former editor-in-chief of Turkey’s Cumhuriyet newspaper, and now exiled in Germany: Letzten Sonntag haben ein paar Sätze in einer TV-Sendung die Türkei zum Schaukeln gebracht. Die, die es sagte, war keine wichtige Person, aber das, was gesagt wurde, war wichtig. Sevda Noyan, die … Continue reading Excerpt/Quote of the Week: “Meine Liste ist fertig”

Quote of the Week: Can Dündar on Leadership in the Time of the Coronavirus

Leider können sich die Menschen vor einer schlechten Führung nicht effektiv schützen, selbst wenn sie sich jede Stunde die Hände waschen, eine Maske tragen und Abstand halten. (Translation from the German original: Unfortunately, people cannot effectively protect themselves from poor leadership, even if they wash their hands every hour, wear a mask, and maintain distance … Continue reading Quote of the Week: Can Dündar on Leadership in the Time of the Coronavirus

Quote of the Week: Fear in the Time of the Coronavirus

With F.D.R. and the Great Depression, the only thing to fear was fear itself. With Trump and our new abyss, we have to fear not only fear but also the ignorance and misdirection of the White House and the profiteering of senators. Not to mention the virus. (Excerpted from NYT columnist's Thank God the Doctor … Continue reading Quote of the Week: Fear in the Time of the Coronavirus