Saturday, February 02, 2008

On notice?

The Book of Negroes wasn't the only book Hill published in 2007. The day after its release, The Deserter's Tale: The Story of an Ordinary Soldier Who Walked Away from Iraq was published. Hill wrote The Deserter's Tale in collaboration with Joshua Key, the titular soldier.
Hill said he heard Key interviewed on CBC and thought his story was fascinating and the next day his publisher approached Hill about doing the story.
The Deserter's Tale doesn’t explicitly deal with the same issues of race as Hill's other books--The Book of Negroes, Black Berry, Sweet Juice: On Being Black and White in Canada, Any Known Blood and Some Great Thing--he said there are similarities between his two 2007 publications.
"[The main characters are] both ordinary people who are drawn into a canvas of world events that they didn’t ask to be drawn into," he said.
Hill also said he didn’t mind stepping out of his comfort zone when it came to telling Key’s story.
"In the case of
The Deserter's Tale, I was pleased to break out of the mold of writing about black issues."
He also broke out of his typical writing mold by writing non-fiction. The Book of Negroes was a stylistic departure for Hill: his other books often use humour to soften tough issues. Hill said he looks forward to pushing boundaries in his style.
"If you accept that writing is a moral challenge--to empathize with other human beings--then it would be pretty self-limiting to just stay in your own backyard and write about yourself over and over again," he said. "The challenge of writing fiction is to engage with and love other people, many of whom couldn’t possibly be you."

The above, noted by Vince, is from Angela Hickman's "Merging history and fiction: Lawrence Hill, author of The Book of Negroes, talks about recognizing the human emotion behind
history" (Queen's Journal) and, in the United States, the book was published under the title Someone Knows My Name and was inspired by coming across a British military document from the past (entitled The Book of Negroes) charting over 3,000 African-Americans journey to Nova Scotia following the US Revolutionary War -- some of whom were free citizens and some of whom had been forced into slavery in pre-colonial US. Note that sometimes the article uses "The" and sometimes "A" for the first word of the Key book, I've changed it to "The" throughout when I put in the link.

Earlier this week, an Iraqi correspondent addressed "methods of corruption" (Inside Iraq, McClatchy Newspapers):

Many parties finance their militias by stealing Iraq's fortunes every where in Iraq. If we want to weaken the terrorism we should destroy its mold the corruption. May be you will say that I'm exaggerate of that, but if you live in Iraq you will see this fact.
Ten days ago we knew from newspapers that the integrity commission uncovered the deal of buying cars for the cabinet that amounted millions of Dollars. After week they deposed the head of the commission and declare to Iraqis that the deposition has no relation with the cars deal (I'm trying believe them). MOI decided to prevent Iraqis from traveling without its knowledge to open a new gate for corruption by bribe the employees there (the citizens will be obliged to pay money in order to hurry their travel).
The evidence burned to hide the corruption proofs like what happened in the...... ministry before three years and like what happened yesterday when the corrupted burned the building of Central Bank with the office of inspector general (according to one MP's statement).

At the Los Angeles Times' Babylon & Beyond (a blog) the topic of Iraq is dealt with in "Iraq kerosense blues" by an Iraqi journalist who notes that Iraqis are supposed to recieve 200 liters of kersone for about $17" but instead are paying "$300 alone on heating oil at a time when you are lucky to make that much in salary per month:"

People wonder why electricity and fuel supplies were better in Baghdad under Saddam Hussein. Some think it’s because of corruption, and others believe it is a conspiracy now by the government and the Americans to make people exhausted. People don’t know anymore what to believe.

Meanwhile AP offers a by the numbers look at contractors (196,000 employed by DoD in both Iraq and Afghanistan).

Turning to Super Duper Tuesday:

Patrick Kelly
ILGP Media Coordinator
Phil Huckelberry
Chair, ILGP Government & Elections Committee

With the recent departures of former Sen. John Edwards and Rep. Dennis
Kucinich and other candidates, the Illinois Green Party called on
progressives and populists abandoned by the Democratic and Republican
Parties to consider voting Green in Tuesday's elections, the first
statewide Green Party primary in Illinois history.
"Illinois voters who have been supporting Kucinich and Edwards will
likely find the Green presidential candidates appealing," said Phil
Huckelberry, national Green Party Co-Chair. "All of our presidential
candidates staunchly oppose the occupation of Iraq and would bring our
troops home now. Green candidates also support single-payer universal
healthcare, a living wage, and other efforts to alleviate poverty.
To supporters of the Republican Rep. Ron Paul, the Green Party is the
last best hope of bringing about a swift end to the disastrous Iraq
occupation and restoring the civil liberties that have been eroded in
the past several years through policies like the Patriot Act,
warrantless wiretapping of U.S. citizens and torture of so-called enemy combatants
-- just to name a few.
"Our refusal to accept contributions from corporations and opposition
to their consolidation of political power speaks to our genuine concern
for the people in America and across the world," said said Charlie
Howe, a local McKinney campaign organizer and candidate for state
representative (115th district).
Green Party presidential candidates on the Illinois ballot are:
KENT MESPLAY - Air Quality Inspector at the Air Pollution Control
District, San Diego, and also a Substitute Teacher; registered
Green since 1995 in California, a delegate to the Green National
Committee since 2004, and served as the President of Turtle Island
HOWIE HAWKINS (RALPH NADER) - Co-Founder of the US Green Party, a
Green activist and past U.S. Senate candidate from Syracuse, New
York, and a Co-Chair of the Draft Nader Committee has consented to
serve as a "placeholder" candidate until Ralph Nader, longtime
consumer rights activist and Green presidential nominee in 2000, who has
recently announced his presidential exploratory committee. If Nader
does declare for the Green nomination, Hawkins will pledge his
delegates to support Nader at the convention.
CYNTHIA MCKINNEY - First African-American Congresswoman from Georgia,
she served in Congress from 1993-2003 and 2005-2007. She has been an
advocate for Hurricane Katrina victims and voters disenfranchised in
the 2000 and 2004 elections.
JARED BALL - Assistant Professor of Communications Studies at Morgan
State University, an independent journalist, radio host with Pacifica
Radio Washington, DC, the Editor-at-Large of Words, Beats and Life
Global Journal of Hip-Hop Culture, and a Desert Shield / Desert Storm
Navy veteran. Jared Ball has recently withdrawn his candidacy and
has endorsed Cynthia McKinney.
Primary voters may also see the names of Green candidates for Congress,
state representative, county offices, even precinct committeeperson
offices in record numbers -- a direct result of lower ballot access
requirements earned in the the 2006 election, when Rich Whitney received 10% of the
popular vote to "establish" the party.
"The message voters sent in 2006 was very clear: It's time to change
the two-party system," said Howe. "Asking for a Green Party ballot on
Feb. 5 is the best way to begin."

Ralph Nader has created a presidential exploratory committee for a 2008 run. Third Party notes Nader's "No Debate:"

It was billed as the great debate that, in the words of moderator Wolf Blitzer, "could change the course of this presidential race and the nation."
Situated at the packed historic Kodak Theatre-site of the Hollywood Oscar awards, thousands of people, including anti-war protestors, were outside, where tickets were being scalped for $1,000.
The burgeoning excitement swept up Mr. Blitzer into an introduction reminiscent of a heavyweight boxing title fight. Referring to the "glamour on this of the great stages of all time," he declared that "this will be the first time that Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama will be debating face to face, just the two of them, one-on-one." The crowd ROARED!
When it was over two hours later, here is how the reporters, not the columnists, of the New York Times described the showdown: "Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama sat side by side here Thursday, sharing a night of smiles, friendly eye-catching and gentle banter…It was almost as if the battle was to see which of them could outnice the other."
Since neither scored a knockout, a knockdown, and neither stumbled, the audience left without many feeling the pain of their champion being bested. Even the Times' critic, Alessandra Stanley, she of the usual barbed pen, could only marvel at the smooth harmony ideology both candidates decided to adopt. She wrote: "They let their eyes make nice...As they stood in front of the audience before the debate, Mr. Obama leaned down to Mrs. Clinton and whispered a few words in her ear, as if continuing the fun chat they had just shared backstage."
The two candidates were unperturbed by any questions from the reporters that they had not answered before or they were soft balls they could hit out of the ball park.
As in all debates involving presidential candidates, the reporters were unwilling or incapable of asking the unconvential questions reflecting situations and conditions widely reported or investigated by their own colleagues.

Third Party also notes, "Alex Cockburn seems to have forgotten that he once critized Obama, the way he forgot he once published Jason Leopold?, and it's no surprise that when Nader asks him what question he would have asked for the debate, he zooms in on Hillary and gives Bambi a pass. The entire Cockburn family has obviously gone batty, from the niece all the way up."

On the topic of politics, KeShawn highlights this from Margaret Kimberley's "Progressive Agenda" (Black Agenda Report) :

Both Obama and Clinton need to be put on notice, before November and after, that business as usual will not be tolerated. They will then behave accordingly, not out of conviction, but out of political necessity.
Meaningful action can save the country, if the cynical madness of the primary campaign is treated like the distraction that it is. Republicans cannot be allowed to win, but bought off Democrats can't be allowed to think that acceptance of their corruption will be tolerated either. Fighting Bush can be important practice for fighting an Obama or Clinton presidency. Make no mistake, that fight will be necessary too.

Finally, a member notes Stephanie Bangarth's "Nikkei Loyalty and Resistance in Canada and the United States, 1942-1947" (Japan Focus)

Because the overwhelming majority of us are innocent, we protest against restrictions based on our racial ancestry; we protest against the fine technical distinctions of word and deed to cloak the facts; we protest against the arbitrary judgments on our loyalties; we protest against the indifference to and disallowance of our human qualities . . . all because we happen to be of Japanese descent. "Racialism is a Disease," Nisei Affairs (January 1946)
From 1945 to 1947, Muriel Kitagawa wrote numerous articles exhorting the Japanese Canadian community to respond to injustice, not unlike the call to action above. She believed that, if those who advocated the denial of Nikkei (persons of Japanese ancestry in North America) rights remained unopposed, other groups would soon feel the sting of oppression with the wholesale curtailment of their human rights. Although the leading Canadian and American public advocates for the Nikkei were almost exclusively white males from religious or professional backgrounds, they were not alone. American and Canadian Nikkei did not sit passively while others defended their rights over the course of the Second World War and beyond. Instead, many expressed their activism through the organizations that represented them and through their community publications. In the United States, the main organization was the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL). Its organ was the Pacific Citizen, the best-known Nisei publication. In Canada, the Nikkei found expression in the following groups (in order of the date of formation): the Japanese Canadian Citizens League (JCCL); the Nisei Mass Evacuation Group (NMEG); the Japanese Canadian Citizens Council (JCCC); and the Japanese Canadian Citizens for Democracy (JCCD). The New Canadian, initially Vancouver-based and later Winnipeg-based, voiced the opinions of the JCCL while the Toronto-based Nisei Affairs circulated the largely Nisei views of the JCCD during and immediately after WWII.
American and Canadian Nikkei involvement in the campaigns to safeguard their rights was not restricted to advocacy within organizations. In the United States, Gordon Hirabayashi, Minoru Yasui, Mitsuye Endo, Ernest and Toki Wakayama, and Fred Korematsu took very public and very individual actions to oppose Washington’s orders. Had they not opted, at great personal risk to resist the incarceration of Japanese Americans, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) could never have sponsored test cases. Unlike its American counterparts, the Canadian litigation had no identifiable defendant. The case was a reference case; that is, a submission by the federal government to the Supreme Court of Canada asking for an opinion on a major legal issue. Nonetheless, the Nikkei were involved there too: the legal briefs and representations they made to government officials played an integral role in halting objectionable government actions. Collectively the dissenting US voices loudly proclaimed the need to respect the Bill of Rights. Canadian advocates had no such legal document to appeal to. Although the courts in the United States served as a check on the powers of elected representatives, under the British system that Canada inherited, Parliament reigned supreme. In the absence of constitutional protections, the principle of parliamentary supremacy meant that the elected representatives were responsible for passing and revoking legislation and the justices of the nation’s highest courts would not impinge upon the exclusive authority of the Parliament. For that reason, Canadian advocates appealed to the emerging discourse of human rights and depended on the court of public opinion more than on judicial channels.[1]
In many respects, the struggles of Japanese Americans and Japanese Canadians to achieve voice, representation, and constitutional rights shared much in common; however, some of their approaches differed. Nikkei individuals and organizations cooperated with and received support from national organizations such as the Cooperative Committee on Japanese Canadians (CCJC), an umbrella group formed in 1943 comprised of individuals and organizations from across the country, and the ACLU, a long-standing civil rights organization; members of both groups came from largely "respectable" white, middle-class background. In the US, the JACL worked closely with the ACLU. Eager to demonstrate its loyalty, the membership of the JACL complied with the removal orders and urged all Japanese Americans to follow suit. It became more militant by war’s end as its leadership came to view test cases as an effective tool in dismantling the internment legislation. The initial reluctance to support test cases placed the JACL in conflict with the ACLU.

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