Friday, February 22, 2008
"To answer this question, outsiders must pay greater attention than they have yet to a key factor in the unfolding crisis: Kenyan politics. Politics in Kenya is almost the national pastime. Everyone, young and old, has an opinion to share. Everyone who can reads at least two newspapers a day, and can recount the detailed background behind political headlines that stump the casual browser.Most Kenyans will tell you that their politicians are corrupt. But at least until this last week, they would do so with the rueful relish of Americans who tell you their pop idols are strung out (again). And Kenyans follow their politicians' every move with the attention Americans reserve for celebrities, even giving them affectionate nicknames (Raila Odinga is "hummer"; Kalonzo Musyoka is "wiper"). When a new tabloid hit newsstands this past year, it was quickly forced to back down from its pledge to feature only idle gossip and lifestyle concerns. Consumers weren't buying it, and so politics soon entered its headlines, along with everyone else's."
A few months ago, I'd come across a piece of writing that was not just well put together, but also encompassed a very interesting thought: the concept of love, eternity and grammar in Arabic.
"At the heart of all things is the germ of their overthrow", it says, quoting from Adhaf Soueif's The Map of Love. But the author was, at the same time, talking about language. About the word 'enquilab' which means 'overthrow' (or revolution, as we interpret it) which is derived from the word 'qalb', which means 'heart' or the core.
Isn't that fascinating? That, buried within a revolution is a heart, and that the heart of anything contains the seed for the overthrow of that thing. Or all things.
The essay goes on to talk about words of love, what they really means, the fine shades of difference between them, and what god might have enjoined upon those who believe in god.
Thursday, February 14, 2008
In the last post, I had linked to some contests. Here is a set of links to those who made it to the final shortlist (I'm simply copy-pasting from the Caferati site). Go read.
Flash Fiction - http://www.caferati.com/contests/finalists?contest=ff
SMS Poetry - http://www.caferati.com/contests/finalists?contest=sms
Flash Essay - http://www.caferati.com/contests/finalists?contest=essay
Poetry Slam - http://www.caferati.com/contests/finalists?contest=ps
Here are the winners:
Flash Fiction - http://www.caferati.com/contests/winners?contest=ff
SMS Poetry - http://www.caferati.com/contests/winners?contest=sms
Flash Essay - http://www.caferati.com/contests/winners?contest=essay
The Poetry Slam final was a live event, and we don't have recordings, alas. The top 3: 1. Mukul Chadda, 2. Tarun Durga, 3. Arka Mukhophadyay)
We also had an Open Book Pitch, where people could submit sample manuscripts and publishers would dip into them and express interest, if they felt any. Happily, at least one-fourth of those who pitched attracted some publisher's eye. You could go look at that list, here:
Congratulations, winners. And may many more of you win, in the future.