Stories from Quick Reads and North America
Sean Jacobs writes about American author and poet Maya Angelou, who died at age 86 yesterday May 28, 2014:
In 1961, Maya Angelou, already a civil rights worker, and her then partner Vusumzi Make, an exiled activist from South Africa (he was a leading Pan Africanist Congress member), moved to Cairo, Egypt, where she found work at a small radical newspaper. One year later, Angelou and Make broke up and she moved to Ghana with her son. There they joined a small, tight-knit expatriate African American community that included the great scholar and activist W. E. B. Du Bois, the writer William Gardner Smith, lawyer Pauli Murray, journalist Julian Mayfield, and sociologist St. Clair Drake. Angelou continued her work as a journalist and also worked as an administrator at the University of Ghana. Angelou made such an impression on her hosts honored her with a postal stamp. It was also during this time that Malcolm X visited Ghana; a meeting which prompted her move back to the US in 1965 to help Malcolm X build his Organization of Afro-American Unity. Shortly after her return, Malcolm X was assassinated.
Mexican Alfredo Cortés de Café Financiero reflects [es] after a trip to Canada about things and attitudes that in this country mean to belong to the “first world”:
I want to mention the simplest things I observed, that we all could accomplish; and as a whole this is what makes that countries such as Canada have very high standards of living. It all starts in its people, and if it all starts with us, why don't we start building a first world country?
French economist and Associate Chair at the Paris School of Economics, Thomas Piketty recently published a book called “Capital in the Twenty-First Century” that has generated quite a buzz among fellow economists and political leaders. Piketty's central thesis is that inequality is not an accident, but one of the consequences of the excess of capitalism. Piketty also opines that inequality could threaten the democratic process as recently seen in Greece. Critics of his thesis on inequality also abound.
Egyptian blogger Nadia El Awady wrote a blog post in which she questions if women wearing Hijab face discrimination in western countries or not. Nadia, as an Egyptian who grew up in the US and lived prolonged periods in Europe, adds from her personal experience in regards to reactions she received in both Eastern and Western countries when it comes to wearing the Hijab or even taking it off.
During all those years, I have been without the hijab, with the hijab, wearing a very long hijab (called a khimar), wearing a face veil (called a niqab), back to wearing a shorter hijab and finally, now, no hijab at all. I’ve done it all. I’ve seen all the reactions. The way I have dressed over the years may have been accepted by some in my inner circles and criticized by others; this is true. How a woman dresses is a highly contentious subject no matter where you are in the world. When I donned the face veil, my own father was against it. When I took off my hijab, I lost at least one good friend and was tsk tsked by many others. These are normal reactions and they are to be expected. I do not categorize these reactions as discrimination. Friends and family have definite ideas of how they expect me to live my life. They believe they know what is best for me.
Ricey Wild, a Native American blogger at the Indian Country Today, writes about wolf slaughtering in Minnesota, USA.
[...]My beloved friend Melissa came to get me last month to rally against the wolf hunt in Minnesota and everywhere. We went way up north and joined other people who care and are disgusted with the massacre taking place upon the wolf population.
[...]I look at my Mitzi and I can’t tell that her nearest relatives are okay to slaughter just because. I imagined a pack of Mitzi’s being pursued by ‘hunters’ and her wondering what she ever did to them? Why are they murdering her family? So yes, I cried and vowed to make my voice and presence acknowledged..
Her original post, entitled “It ain't easy being Indian”, was published in December 2013 and you can find it here.
With a historic rule by a federal court in New York on May 22, 2014, former Guatemalan president Alfonso Portillo was sentenced to five years and 10 months in jail for money laundering and taking bribes from Taiwan.
— Prensa Libre (@prensa_libre) Mayo 22, 2014
VIDEO: Alfonso Portillo gets verdict of five year and ten months of prison.
With this verdict, Portillo becomes the first former Latin American ruler to be condemned and jailed in the United States.
The United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) invites young people under the age of 25 to submit original 5-minute videos on migration, diversity and social inclusion to the Plural+2014 film festival. Three winning videos will receive $1000 and the makers will be invited to New York City to attend an award ceremony.
The deadline is June 27, 2014.
This is a fascinating love story between Sam from Kibera, a slum in the city of Nairobi, Kenya and Alissa from Minnesota, USA:
This has to be the love story of the year!!!!! Alissa is from Minnesota while Sam is born & bred from Kibera. So how did these two lovebirds come to meet?
Alissa had come to Kenya and for several months she had been working with the people living in Kibera. For several months as she took the Matatu (Public transport) home she would spot Sam, a young talented man who ran his own Africanised jewellery store just by the road side. One fine day, as Sam was having a banana next to his shop, he spotted a beautiful white lady seated on the right hand side of the Matatu. He was mesmerised by what he saw and with the last remaining 5 shillings that he had in his pocket, he decided to buy her a banana too. So he asked the nice lady at the shop for another banana and went to give it to the beautiful lady that he had just spotted. Luck was not on his side, since as soon as he got to the window next to where she sat, the matatu sped off. He ran after it but it was too late, the matatu had left and so had the girl of his dreams.
Bedridden with a chronic illness called myalgic encephalomyelitis, online media virtuoso Jen Brea is launching a new interactive video series using Google Hangout called Thrive Show on how to live well with invisible and chronic illnesses.
Brea is the director of a forthcoming film about M.E. called Canary in a Coal Mine that raised more than $200,000 on Kickstarter. She was also a Global Voices editor for stories from Francophone regions until 2010.
Patrick Lozada from Beijing Cream discussed the phenomena that many dissidents who have left China would turn up joining the Right Wing organizations in the U.S. He pointed out the dilemma of the current situation:
I understand why they do it. You can say bad things about China in China and go to jail, or you can have conservatives pay you enormous amounts of money to do it in the US. Regardless it causes these activists to lose credibility as agents of change in China, and the impact they can have from the States is minimal.