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Articles tagged "Race"

The Last Farm Novel?: An Interview with Michiel Heyns

I met Michiel Heyns—author, translator, and professor of English at Stellenbosch University from 1987 until 2003—last year when he was here in the U.S. as a visiting professor at the University of Tulsa, Oklahoma. He's a tall, large-framed man who easily dissolves into crinkles of laughter, quickly revealing a gentle spirit beneath the somewhat imposing exterior. He's an ideal dinner companion—charming, erudite, gracious, and full of wit. And though our...

The Trial of Jean-Marie Le Pen

By the time it starts the Blistier trial has already been known for months as "the trial of Jean-Marie Le Pen." Civil rights groups were the first to call it that, but by now the phrase, borne along on waves of public indignation, is showing up in all the headlines. Shouldn't the leader of the National Front be held responsible for the murder committed by one of his brainwashed teenaged supporters? Shouldn't Le Pen appear before the court, at least as a witness? Pierre Mine is...

Allah Is Not Obliged

The full, final and completely complete title of my bullshit story is: Allah is not obliged to be fair about all the things he does here on earth. OK. Right. I better start explaining some stuff. First off, Number one . . . My name is Birahima and I'm a little nigger. Not 'cos I'm black and I'm a kid. I'm a little nigger because I can't talk French for shit. That's how things are. You might be a grown-up, or old, you might be Arab, or Chinese, or white, or...

The Grammar of Easter (You Don’t Say That in English)

The rate at which Christian festivals were upstaging the local, traditional ones was accelerating. To the older generation, who professed the traditional religious faith, the rapid transformation was simply stupefying. To the middle-aged, younger generation, the educated elite, the change was a welcome miracle, an evangelical achievement, the rewards of which they hoped to reap in paradise. They returned to their small villages in full Christian fervor and forced their parents to renounce...

The Water Cathedral

On sunny mornings the walls are white wine, the columns are ginger ale, the towers are immense bottles of beer, the high steeples drip amber. Down in the naves you feel the freshness of orange-water and the main altar is a wave of bee honey, and the saints in the chapels have the coolness of that tea they give to the sick. But in the afternoons, in the twilight hour, the walls turn into thick blood, the colonnade moves on legs of red wine, the towers are that false liquid of red-hot...

Omega:  Definitions

I am a Muslim feminist from the Fertile Crescent. I have a tattoo on my right wrist. It's of God. I designed it. Do you know where the Fertile Crescent is? One day when we were alone together Shah treated me in a way I didn't like at all. Shah means King in Persian. I don't remember the details. But it was theatre. I don't think it made any difference. I don't usually talk about my religion. Some Muslims might not accept me as one because I sometimes...

Drama Queen: An Interview with Ellen Stewart

Words Without Borders is proud to present the following interview conducted by Liesl Schillinger, speaking with Ellen Stewart in May, 2004. Ellen Stewart had just completed her epic Classical cycle Seven, with a wild new take on Antigone. Ellen Stewart founded the LaMaMa Experimental Theater Company in 1961, and her groundbreaking vision helped establish the careers of Sam Shepard, Philip Glass, Harvey Fierstein, Robert Wilson, Mabou Mines, and many others. Now in her 80s, she is...

from “The True Story of the Labyrinth”

One "Early in the morning, when the sun begins to reveal the objects around us, for me it will be late: another day to fill me with fear," Clara confessed to herself as she looked at her reflection out of the corner of her eye. She considered her almond-shaped eyes, pale face, and squalid body, lost in the folds of man's clothes she had put on before running away from home. It was Saturday. She could not leave the room where she had taken refuge. She had not spoken to anyone in a...

from “Dear Shameless Death”

In memory of my mother Huvat Aktas travelled for a whole day and a night, ending his journey at noon by the sheepfold in the village of Alacuvek. This time he brought a bright blue bus with him. The bus had collected quite a bit of dust along the way but it still stood gleaming like a mirror in the fiery rays of the sun. At first the villagers were horrified by this outlandish contraption the likes of which they had never seen. But in that moment of pure amazement, while some blew...

from Troublesome Love

I gave up on changing my clothes, and stayed in my dusty, wrinkled dark dress. I could barely find the time to change my tampon. Uncle Filippo, with his attentions and his angry outbursts, didn't leave me alone for a minute. When I said that I had to go to the Vossi sisters' shop to buy some underwear, he was bewildered, and remained silent for a few seconds. Then he offered to go with me to the bus. The day was airless, and getting darker, and the bus was crowded. Uncle Filippo...

The Lanterns of Seville

To Julienne Peters of Brussels, who was moved to tears by the beauty of the Alcazar in the Seville of the Arabs, I dedicate these lanterns. "Would you look down on a cousin of yours if he addressed you in a language other than his own?" said Professor Alsido—for this is how the dancer with the magical eyes had introduced me to him—as he gulped his first drink. "I've heard you speak fluent French, so allow me to converse with you in that language." I nodded in agreement and...

The Black Storyteller

If you believe my grandmother's version of the story, then her mother-my great-grandmother Rose Garden-must have been fifty years old when she finally decided to live with "Black Anees" under one roof. And all of the stories agree-that is, the stories of the neighbors, which my grandmother heard when she got older-that Rose Garden was beautiful, in addition to having remained a strange and puzzling character to the women in the Saa'i quarter (I'll leave aside for now speaking...

Adventures

1 In 1930, in September, on a boat trip to Cairo, I fell into the Mediterranean Sea; I fell with a mighty splash, since at the time the sea was smooth, unruffled by any wave. Nevertheless, my fall was noticed only a minute later, after the ship had already sailed a kilometer and a half on-and when it was finally turned around and sent back in my direction, the agitated captain gave it too much speed and the immense vessel's momentum carried it past the place where I was choking on...

Iran as Cinema

The movie theater I found myself in was called Freedom; it stood on the corner of two main boulevards that, like the majority of streets in Tehran, are named after martyrs of the revolution: Martyr Beheshti, Martyr Eslamboli. Several hundred people could have easily fit in that space, but at most only twenty were there. Three soldiers sat a few rows ahead of me, munching on bags of salted melon seeds, cracking jokes every time the film we all were supposed to be watching failed to deliver...
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