Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Rights Readers Round-up

Our periodic round-up of what's been happening with our favorite authors:

Martha Minow (Between Vengeance and Forgiveness) has been appointed Dean of Harvard Law School.

A retrial has been ordered for some of the alleged conspirators in the murder of Anna Politkovskaya (Putin's Russia).

Amira Hass (Drinking the Sea at Gaza) speaks with Amy Goodman about editing her mother's Holocaust memoir (Diary of Bergen-Belsen: 1944-1945--Hanna Levy-Hass).

In the wake of the sentencing of two American journalists to hard labor in North Korea, the NYT discusses sources of information regarding life in North Korea which of course includes Kang Chol-hwan's (The Aquariums of Pyongyang: Ten Years in the North Korean Gulag). Also noted is this video of the camp where Kang lived. Take action for Laura Ling and Euna Lee here.

Greg Mortenson (Three Cups of Tea) received the Jefferson Award for public service and more recognition from the National Education Association. National Geographic notes a Pakistani honor and investigates his project's Taliban problem.

Toni Morrison has been promoting a volume she edited on censorship (Burn This Book: PEN Writers Speak Out on the Power of the Word) which includes essays by Rights Readers favorites Salman Rushdie, Orhan Pamuk and Nadine Gordimer, The NYT reports,
Morrison, looking regal and speaking in a warm, languid voice, talked about how she had proudly framed and hung in a bathroom a letter that said that “Song of Solomon” could not be distributed among Texas inmates because “it might stir inmates to riot.” She let that sink in for a few seconds. “I thought, ‘what a powerful book.’ ”
Speaking of censorship... Jose Saramago (Blindness) has found himself at the center of the struggle for press freedom in Italy. The BBC has a good profile on the Nobel Laureate in anticipation of his forthcoming book, Death with Interruptions.

Marjane Satrapi (Persepolis) has sanctioned a reworking of some of her material to promote Iranian democracy. The Guardian quotes the creators of the mash-up,

"Her cartoon are about her life but to my generation of Iranians (at least in the West) they have become more than that, they have become iconic. The fact that images from 30 years ago can tell a story about what is happening now makes them all the more powerful.

"Unlike her original work, Persepolis 2.0 is filled with flaws and inaccuracies, but the bottom line is that it has helped spark hundreds of conversations and that's more than we could have expected."

Californians! Read Sister Helen Prejean's (Dead Man Walking) no-holds-barred letter to the Department of Corrections regarding revisions to California's lethal injection protoccol.

Were you aware of Amnesty International's contributions to the history of comedy? Fun interview with Monty Python vets from WNYC here.
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