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Articles tagged "Racism"

The True Story of “Faccetta Nera”

“I was on a TV talk show the other day, and something curious happened.” Those are the opening words of a Facebook post that Maryan Ismail, an Italo-Somali political activist, published recently. The curious thing that happened occurred in a television studio. Maryan, who is a longtime political activist working in Milan, has made up her mind to express her defiance of racism by speaking openly everywhere she can, including on TV. Of course, she doesn’t talk about...

Poor Grandpa!

I never wanted to remember at all, let alone write about, what transpired when I took a walk with Grandpa to the sprawling Kariobangi slum area, that part of the slum known as Korogocho. I didn’t want to look back again, to reopen an old wound. An open sore for which there is no remedy, one that has refused to improve to a scar. An open sore. A huge open sore. It oozes with pus and discomfort, and constantly fills me with fright. However, my friends have urged me to write in detail...

The May Crowning

For five years, Berenice waited for a chance to dematerialize her cousin, an objective she almost fulfilled the first time Dorotéia took part in the May Crowning, in the church on the square. It was an event staged on several tiers of wooden bleachers, where blue, pink, and white angels were arranged according to the vicar’s whim. The latter were the elite. Only elegant, fair-skinned, well-behaved girls got to wear white. On the top tier, suspended only by the Virgin...

The East

The high school was a large red-brick colonial building on a hill covered in scrawny pine trees at the edge of Bukavu. There were better schools in town, but you had to take an entrance exam and Elias realized that would reduce Zikiya's chances. He knew the headmaster and slipped him some money, so Zikiya was admitted without any problem. The boarders slept in bunk beds, wore a blue-and-white uniform, and had three meals a day—it would leave Zikiya with a profound hatred of...

Pears from Gudauty

We could hear the dry coughing of our landlord, Khuta Kursua, through the partition wall, and Mother's eyes were wide with fear. I was ten, my own lesions had barely healed, and now we were neighbors of tuberculosis again. Our landlord was a handsome, thin man, all smiles with his paying guests but ferocious with his wife, although, actually, I was not too interested in the people around me. I had seen the sea for the first time that year and spent the rest of the month savoring the...

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...

How I Went to School

My mother said to me: "You must go to school, or they will lock up your father." There were five of us children at home, four girls and one boy. The eldest was my sister, then me, one year behind her. But I was stronger than her. And naughtier. So my mother said: "You will be the one who goes to school, because at home you only make trouble." My sister was to stay at home with the little children. She carried them around on her back, washed their nappies, wiped their noses and their...

On the Death of the Author

Written on my soul is your face And when I write about you it is you that I desire -Garcilaso de la Vega There are stories that seem impossible to tell. It must be at least ten years since I traveled through California and since then, I've been trying to relate, without much success, the story of a great ending: that of Ishi, a Yahi Indian who was found in a state of nature in the remote cowboy town of Oroville, in the month of August 1910. I had always wanted to take a road trip...

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...

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