Keeping sane.

Jahanzeb Hussain is the editor of Collateral Damage Magazine http://collateraldamagemagazine.net [Keeping Sane]







Entwining Tales of Time, Memory and Love

The personal gave way to the historical in some novels that dealt on an epic level with the tortuous history of Latin America. “The Autumn of the Patriarch” created a hallucinatory portrait of a tyrant who seems like a mythic composite of every dictator to strong-arm his way to power on that continent: a once-feted hero, who sells out his country to the gringos, murders his opponents, rewards himself with medals, unimaginable wealth and the modest title “General of the Universe,” and who ends up completely isolated, discovered dead in his palace, pecked at by vultures.

As for “The General in His Labyrinth,” it performed a kind of free-form improvisation on the life of the 19th-century revolutionary Simón Bolívar, who becomes in Mr. García Márquez’s telling a close relative of many of his fictional heroes — a spoiled dreamer, torn between martyrdom and hedonism, extravagant ambitions and crashing disillusion.

(Source : The New York Times)

Salman Rushdie: Angel Gabriel

The damage to reality was – is – at least as much political as cultural. In Marquez’s experience, truth has been controlled to the point at which it has ceased to be possible to find out what it is. The only truth is that you are being lied to all the time. Garcia Marquez has always been an intensely political creature: but his books are only obliquely to do with politics, dealing with public affairs only in terms of grand metaphors like Colonel Aureliano Buendia’s military career, or the colossally overblown figure of the Patriarch, who has one of his rivals served up as the main course at a banquet, and who, having overslept one day, decides that the afternoon is really the morning, so that people have to stand outside his windows at night holding up cardboard cut-outs of the sun.

El realismo magical, ‘magic realism’, at least as practised by Garcia Marquez, is a development of Surrealism that expresses a genuinely ‘Third World’ consciousness. It deals with what Naipaul has called ‘half-made’ societies, in which the impossibly old struggles against the appallingly new, in which public corruptions and private anguishes are more garish and extreme than they ever get in the so-called ‘North’, where centuries of wealth and power have formed thick layers over the surface of what’s really going on. In the work of Garcia Marquez, as in the world he describes, impossible things happen constantly, and quite plausibly, out in the open under the midday sun. It would be a mistake to think of Marquez’s literary universe as an invented, self-referential, closed system. He is not writing about Middle Earth, but about the one we all inhabit. Macondo exists. That is its magic.

(Source : lrb.co.uk)

Gabriel García Márquez: Why Allende had to die

On 4 September 1970, as had been foreseen, the socialist and Freemason physician Allende was elected president of the republic.

During the first year, 47 industrial firms were nationalised, along with most of the banking system. Agrarian reform saw the expropriation and incorporation into communal property of six million acres of land formerly held by the large landowners. The inflationary process was slowed, full employment was attained and wages received a cash rise of 30 per cent.

The previous government, headed by the Christian Democrat Eduardo Frei, had begun steps towards nationalising copper, though he called it “Chileanisation”. All the plan did was to buy up 51 per cent of US-held mining properties and for the mine of El Teniente alone it paid a sum greater than the total book value of that facility.

Popular Unity, with a single legal act supported in Congress by all of the nation’s popular parties, recovered for the nation all copper deposits worked by the subsidiaries of the American companies Anaconda and Kennecott. Without indemnification: the government having calculated that the two companies had made a profit in excess of $800m over 15 years.

For the United States, the election was a much more serious warning and went beyond the simple interests of expropriated firms. It was an inadmissible precedent for peaceful progress and social change for the peoples of the world, particularly those in France and Italy, where present conditions make an attempt at an experiment along the lines of Chile possible. All forces of internal and external reaction came together to form a compact bloc.

(Source : newstatesman.com)

Someone made a made a “halal” version of the Happy British Muslims video and cut out all the women.

"

A promethean president, entrenched in his burning palace, died fighting an entire army, alone… One million people have fled Chile, a country with a tradition of hospitality - that is, ten per cent of its population. Uruguay, a tiny nation of two and a half million inhabitants which considered itself the continent’s most civilized country, has lost to exile one out of every five citizens. Since 1979, the civil war in El Salvador has produced almost one refugee every twenty minutes. The country that could be formed of all the exiles and forced emigrants of Latin America would have a population larger than that of Norway.

I dare to think that it is this outsized reality, and not just its literary expression, that has deserved the attention of the Swedish Academy of Letters. A reality not of paper, but one that lives within us and determines each instant of our countless daily deaths, and that nourishes a source of insatiable creativity, full of sorrow and beauty, of which this roving and nostalgic Colombian is but one cipher more, singled out by fortune. Poets and beggars, musicians and prophets, warriors and scoundrels, all creatures of that unbridled reality, we have had to ask but little of imagination, for our crucial problem has been a lack of conventional means to render our lives believable. This, my friends, is the crux of our solitude…

"

Gabriel García Márquez, Nobel Prize acceptance speech, 1982.

thank god king joffrey is dead ‪#‎GameOfThrones‬

can someone send me a steam link for the 2nd episode of GOT ? Please

Why We’re in a New Gilded Age

Still, today’s economic elite is very different from that of the nineteenth century, isn’t it? Back then, great wealth tended to be inherited; aren’t today’s economic elite people who earned their position? Well, Piketty tells us that this isn’t as true as you think, and that in any case this state of affairs may prove no more durable than the middle-class society that flourished for a generation after World War II. The big idea of Capital in the Twenty-First Century is that we haven’t just gone back to nineteenth-century levels of income inequality, we’re also on a path back to “patrimonial capitalism,” in which the commanding heights of the economy are controlled not by talented individuals but by family dynasties.

And what happened when these wealthy individuals died? They passed their wealth on—again, with minimal taxation—to their heirs. Money passed on to the next generation accounted for 20 to 25 percent of annual income; the great bulk of wealth, around 90 percent, was inherited rather than saved out of earned income. And this inherited wealth was concentrated in the hands of a very small minority: in 1910 the richest one percent controlled 60 percent of the wealth in France; in Britain, 70 percent.

No wonder, then, that nineteenth-century novelists were obsessed with inheritance. Piketty discusses at length the lecture that the scoundrel Vautrin gives to Rastignac in Balzac’s Père Goriot, whose gist is that a most successful career could not possibly deliver more than a fraction of the wealth Rastignac could acquire at a stroke by marrying a rich man’s daughter. And it turns out that Vautrin was right: being in the top one percent of nineteenth-century heirs and simply living off your inherited wealth gave you around two and a half times the standard of living you could achieve by clawing your way into the top one percent of paid workers.

You might be tempted to say that modern society is nothing like that. In fact, however, both capital income and inherited wealth, though less important than they were in the Belle Époque, are still powerful drivers of inequality—and their importance is growing. In France, Piketty shows, the inherited share of total wealth dropped sharply during the era of wars and postwar fast growth; circa 1970 it was less than 50 percent. But it’s now back up to 70 percent, and rising. Correspondingly, there has been a fall and then a rise in the importance of inheritance in conferring elite status: the living standard of the top one percent of heirs fell below that of the top one percent of earners between 1910 and 1950, but began rising again after 1970. It’s not all the way back to Rasti-gnac levels, but once again it’s generally more valuable to have the right parents (or to marry into having the right in-laws) than to have the right job.

(Source : nybooks.com)

Can someone please tell me what exactly goes on in the head of a suburban kid who takes Political Science 101 and think he/she can now go on and save the world starting with Africa?

“Waae Watan Hoshken Daar”

The book burning will continue in Balochistan because there isn’t a chance that political and radical books’ trade would ever become as lucrative as the poppy cultivation and heroin factories of Qilla Abdullah and merit patronage of Pakistani establishment. The Baloch youth should however continue to acquire knowledge through books of substance specially those which the Pakistani state considers a threat to its spuriously fabricated ethos that it wants to impose on Baloch and claims that religion is the basis of nationhood. It is this ethos which they claim to be superior to all that allows heroin and opium trade to flourish in Qilla Abdullah but oppresses those who seek knowledge and demand their rights. The choice for Baloch is unmistakable and it is up to them to decide if it is the Qilla Abdullah ethos they want to follow or the “Waae Watan Hoshken Daar” ethos.

(Source : nakedpunch.com)

Islamabad-Pakistan Taliban Peace Talks: Shifting Focus to Afghanistan.

The US-NATO drawdown did not convince the Taliban to forego violence and enter into negotiation with the government. Just last month, they launched a bloody armed campaign targeting election rallies in a bid to disrupt the election and vowed to continue fighting the new government. Meanwhile the same Taliban pushed the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), an umbrella organisation of the anti-Pakistan militant groups, to negotiate peace with Islamabad. This indicates that a joint campaign is underway for waging a concerted insurgency in Afghanistan in the coming years.

Addressing the menace of Taliban militancy in the broader Afghanistan-Pakistan region requires a holistic approach – military or political, which should involve true cooperation from both Afghanistan and Pakistan. However, the Islamabad-TTP peace talks and the Afghan Taliban’s constructive role in this regard indicate that a campaign is underway to address militancy in Pakistan and create a united Afghan-Pakistani Taliban front against the government in Afghanistan.

The peace talks with TTP has also overshadowed Pakistan’s claim of “no interference and no favourites” in Afghanistan. It appears mere rhetoric and the peace process carries a worrying prospect of intensity in violence in the coming years. The ongoing ceasefire between Islamabad and TTP has already led to an unprecedented spike in attacks in the Afghan provinces along the Durand Line and the trend could continue through the upcoming fighting season.

(Source : rsis.edu.sg)

Well done Atletico!

Neoliberalism and the Machinery of Disposability

At the heart of the oppression experienced by young people and others are ideologies, modes of governance, and policies that embrace a pathological individualism, a distorted notion of freedom, and a willingness both to employ state violence to suppress dissent and abandon those suffering from a collection of social problems ranging from dire poverty and joblessness to homelessness. In the end, these are stories about disposability in which growing numbers of young people are considered dispensable and a drain on the body politic, the economy, and the sensibilities of the rich and powerful. Rather than work for a more dignified life, most young people now work simply to survive - that is, if they can find work - in a survival-of-the-fittest society in which getting ahead and accumulating capital, especially for the ruling elite, is the only game in town. In the past, public values have been challenged and certain groups have been targeted as superfluous or redundant. But what is new about the politics of disposability that has become a central feature of contemporary American politics is the way in which such antidemocratic practices have become normalized in the existing neoliberal order. A politics of inequality and ruthless power disparities is now matched by a culture of cruelty soaked in blood, humiliation and misery. Private injuries are not only separated from public considerations by such narratives, but accounts of poverty and exclusion have become objects of scorn. Similarly, all noncommercial public spheres where such stories might get heard are viewed with contempt, a perfect supplement to the chilling indifference to the plight of the disadvantaged and disenfranchised.  

(Source : truth-out.org)

I dont know since when did being a loud mouth became a sign of intelligence 

Seeing basic white people occupy important positions in society is pretty infuriating