Friday, December 22, 2006

Adam Hochschild on Bush

In an LAT opinion piece today, Adam Hochschild (King Leopold's Ghost), explores the Bush-Leopold parallel and offers suggestions for further reading,
For your next assignment, Mr. President, how about a different sort of reading? Ask Laura to stuff your Christmas stocking with books about people who've had the courage to change their minds. One former tenant of the house you live in, Lyndon B. Johnson, entered politics as a traditional segregationist but ended up doing more for civil rights than any American president of his century. Another, Dwight D. Eisenhower, spent half his life in the U.S. military but gave us (a little late) an eloquent warning about the military-industrial complex.

Ha Jin goes to the Met

NPR has a piece on the premiere of Tan Dun's new opera "First Emperor" at the Met with pictures and sound samples. Ha Jin (Rights Readers selection The Crazed) co-wrote the libretto.

Monday, December 18, 2006

For April: Louise Erdrich's Tracks

We have selected Louise Erdrich's Tracks for our April 15 meeting,
Set in North Dakota at a time in this century when Indian tribes were struggling to keep what little remained of their lands, Tracks is a tale of passion and deep unrest. Over the course of ten crucial years, as tribal land and trust between people erode ceaselessly, men and women are pushed to the brink of their endurance--yet their pride and humor prohibit surrender. The reader will experience shock and pleasure in encountering a group of characters that are compelling and rich in their vigor, clarity, and indomitable vitality.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

The Write-a-thon Continues...

Holdiay Card Action comes to party-goers at the annual COLORS Christmas Party, a church-based anti-racism group and frequent collaborators of Group 22 Pasadena. (Click on pictures for larger versions).

Music inspires the writing! Stir it up!

In the spirit of the evening's celebration of multi-culturalism, a card in Chinese.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Our December Author: Hiner Saleem

Here are a few links for our December author, Hiner Saleem, (My Father’s Rifle: A Childhood in Kurdistan). Most concern his career as a film director, rather than a the book. You can start with his IMDB page for an overview, then check out articles regarding his most recent film, Kilometer Zero, set in Iraqi Kurdistan during the Iran-Iraq war: Cannes Film Festival summary, Guardian and Christian Science Monitor articles and here's a bit from the New York Times,
In exile since the age of 17, the director, like his hero, is an angry man, with the kind of suppressed rage that comes out in spurts. His previous film, ''Vodka Lemon,'' on the plight of Kurds in Armenia, won the San Marco award at Venice in 2003. ''Of course I'm the same person with the same sensitivity and aesthetics,'' he said, ''but 'Kilometer Zero' is inspired by one of my brothers, who was nabbed off the street and sent to fight for Saddam Hussein.''
and on the difficulty of filming in Iraqi Kurdistan from a CNN interview transcript(scroll down),
SALEEM (through translator): It was impossible to find a single camera in Kurdistan. There are no film crews, no professionals, no film stock. There was nothing, only people and fantastic landscape.

GLASS: It was just as hard to find an image of Saddam Hussein. Once ubiquitous, all of them have been destroyed. The statue that is endlessly transported across the screen was specially made.

SALEEM (through translator): Kurdish sculptors refused to make it. I had to commission an Arab in Mosul. For security reasons, it was build in Kurdistan behind a high wall. But when it rose higher and higher, people spotted Saddam's head peering over the wall. The police came and confiscated the statue and arrested the sculptor. I had to intervene and explain it was for a film.
Finally, here's another profile describing a different film, but perhaps more fun, at the same website there is a collection of Kurdish panoramas.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Happy Human Rights Day!

We did our International Human Rights Day celebrating yesterday at Cafe Culture at our second annual Global Write-a-thon. 205 letters and postcards for the day! That exceeds our pledge of 120. AIUSA's total pledges exceeded 60,000 at more than 900 events and this is not even including events in 40 other countries! Still not to late to download an action and join the party!

Many thanks to all our writers and especially to all the lovely people at Cafe Culture, both staff and customers!
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