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Articles tagged "Colonialism"

Peshawar

I liked Peshawar. I preferred it to hot, racing Rawalpindi, or grand, haughty Islamabad. I think I preferred it to any other city in the world. Indolent in the autumn sun, it was the perfect place for waiting. Although formally it was part of the state of Pakistan, Peshawar belonged to Afghanistan by now. It lived according to Afghan laws and rules, it thought and felt the Afghan way, it spoke Afghan and it looked Afghan. And Afghanistan meant eternal waiting—always,...

Beyond the Fog

1 Throughout the day English sahibs, memsahibs, and their baba log cross the bridge on mules and horses or riding in rickshaws and dandis. In the evening, the same bridge becomes the site of milling crowds of Indians. The swarm of rushing humanity going up and down the slopes huffing and puffing looks like the surge of a massive tidal wave. Movies starring Esther Williams, Joan Fontaine, Nur Jahan, and Khursheed are playing in the local cinemas. Skating continues in the rinks. In the...

His Majesty: The Stomach

"His Majesty: The Stomach" is a play about the effects of colonial history on players who are deflated and absurd in the wake of it. It is particular to the postcolonial history of Africa, but it is also an allegory of absolute power and the grotesque narcissism the rulers exhibit even as their empire crumbles. It is also particular to the personal history of Sony Tansi, whose recurring theme of bodily malfunctions and disease mirror not only the politics he is critiquing but his own...

1808

How a mad queen, a fearful prince, and a corrupt court deceived Napoleon and changed the history of Portugal and Brazil forever At the end of the summer of 1808, exactly 200 years ago, an unusual event took place as the inhabitants of Rio de Janeiro looked on incredulously. Early in the afternoon on March 7, a naval squadron carrying the crown prince of Portugal, Dom João, and the Portuguese Royal family sailed into Guanabara Bay, fleeing French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte's...

Comrade António and the Cuban Teachers

"But Comrade António, don't you prefer to live in a free country?" I liked to ask this question when I came into the kitchen. I'd open the refrigerator and take out the water bottle. Before I could reach for a glass, Comrade António was passing me one. His hands made greasy fingerprints on the sides, but I didn't have the courage to refuse this gesture. I filled the glass, drank one swallow, two, and waited for his reply. Comrade António breathed. Then...

from Desertion

The wakil leading the way in front of him was a thin, wrinkled, fair-complexioned man with the curved spine that Frederick assumed came from a lifetime of crooked clerking. (A wrinkled old man of monkey cunning, Frederick tried the phrase to himself two or three times, to lodge it in his mind until he could write it down.) He was dressed in a white cotton jacket buttoned up to the neck; tight-fitting trousers, tan leather slippers and the green-gold embroidered cap. His movements were...

from Splendorville

Splendorville is set in the 1920s and written from the perspective of a youngish woman, Dr. Esparto, who lost her mother early and was brought up by a tribe in the desert of North Africa where her archaeologist father was busy with excavations. After training as a doctor, Esparto has as the novel opens been in general practice in a small town in the desert for some years. She has a close friend in the local police chief, Fred, who like her is of European origin (he is from France) in a...

from “The Perfect Novel”

Chapter Five We were working on "recording" the following scenes from my novel: the Sunday lunch in the garden at Manuel's house, where the two families part amicably, mothers and aunts included; Manuel's family life, Ana's, their respective conjugal misery, their children, the frustrations and pleasures of their daily lives and routines; we were about to arrive at the adulterers' next rendezvous which would end with the tragedy that would give rise to the plot of the...

Shreds

I was born in Surinam in the district of Commewijne. Some of the plantations in that fertile, once-wealthy district had meaningful names: Mon Souci, Mon Trésor, Peace and Delight, Mutual Care. I come from Spite and Remorse. Most of the plantations no longer exist. Abandoned by their inhabitants, the buildings collapsed. Sluices silted up and fields became swamps and breeding grounds for caiman. The trading stations fell prey to parasites, weeds and choking liana. Slowly, the...

Passage of Eden

The old man was standing cautiously behind the table on which he displayed the treasures of the passage's bookshop: used English paperbacks, bound photocopies, ancient and incomplete collections of newspapers. He might have been seventy, maybe more. Above his balding head dangled a sign that said "Au Singe Vert, passage de l'Eden." I opened books at random, leafing through the pages without reading, careful not to tear the brittle paper. "Do you have a map of Saigon, I mean from...

Iraq Stories

Journalists who visit Iraq hear many stories, yet they are prevented from recording the majority of them because they must chase after the hot story, the quick journalistic news piece. A journalist might sit down in her hotel room to record the things she has observed, but in the frenzy of filing her report, not only will she forget these stories, but they will appear to her afterward as something faded, having lost its luster. It might even-and this is quite conceivable-appear to her...

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