Monday, March 26, 2007
Salutations and welcome to another edition of the Boylan Blog! There won't be an edition next week, as we will be enjoying our Spring Break just like we hope all of you do. On to the weeks announcements:
The English Major's Conference will be held this Thursday in the Oriental/Occidental Lounge of SUBO. Come hear fellow bc students as they give oral presentations of some of their best work. You may walk away enlightened.
Open Mic time is rolling around again this year. Sign up sheets will be posted on the door of 3416 B right after Spring Break. We hope as many wonderful readers show up this semester as last.
About the author:
The Clean Plater
Some singers sing of ladies' eyes,
And some of ladies lips,
Refined ones praise their ladylike ways,
And course ones hymn their hips.
The Oxford Book of English Verse
Is lush with lyrics tender;
A poet, I guess, is more or less
Preoccupied with gender.
Yet I, though custom call me crude,
Prefer to sing in praise of food.
Just any old kind of food.
Pheasant is pleasant, of course,
And terrapin, too, is tasty,
Lobster I freely endorse,
In pate or patty or pasty.
But there's nothing the matter with butter,
And nothing the matter with jam,
And the warmest greetings I utter
To the ham and the yam and the clam.
For they're food,
And I think very fondly of food.
Through I'm broody at times
When bothered by rhymes,
Some painters paint the sapphire sea,
And some the gathering storm.
Others portray young lambs at play,
But most, the female form.
“Twas trite in that primeval dawn
When painting got its start,
That a lady with her garments on
Is Life, but is she Art?
By undraped nymphs
I am not wooed;
I'd rather painters painted food.
Just any old kind of food.
Go purloin a sirloin, my pet,
If you'd win a devotion incredible;
And asparagus tips vinaigrette,
Or anything else that is edible.
Bring salad or sausage or scrapple,
A berry or even a beet.
Bring an oyster, an egg, or an apple,
As long as it's something to eat.
If it's food,
Never mind what kind of food.
When I ponder my mind
I consistently find
It is glued
Pterostilbene, a compound recently identified in blueberries, is a natural antioxidant that mops up highly reactive molecules called free radicals that can trigger cancer growth. The American Cancer Society has confirmed that similar antioxidants have already been identified in grapes and red wine. Researchers from Rutgers University and the US Department of Agriculture suggest the compound could be put into a pill. Such researchers, including lead author Dr Bandaru Reddy said that their work showed the need to include more berries in the diet, "especially blueberries." Rats given a cancer-causing agent but then fed pterostilbene had far fewer pre-cancers in their bowels than other rats.
The blueberry compound also reduced inflammation and the rate of cell division in the bowel, which are both considered to be cancer risk factors. Although experts do not know the exact causes of cancer, the disease has been linked to a high intake of saturated fats and calories. Dr Reddy and colleagues believe pterostilbene may be able to reverse this process, possibly by lowering fat levels like cholesterol. Experts already recommend eating plenty of fruit and vegetables - at least five portions a day - to guard against cancer and other diseases. Pterostilbene is also found in cranberries, sparkleberries, lingonberries and grapes. Ed Yong of Cancer Research UK said: "While pterostilbene could lower the risk of bowel cancers in rats, it is unclear if it will produce the same benefits in humans. "More research will help to determine whether this chemical could have a role in the fight against cancer." "For the moment, the best advice is to eat a healthy, balanced diet rather than rely on specific 'superfoods,'" he added.
Source: BBC News
Dipstick ‘finds food poison bugs’
Though certain foods start to smell bad or show obvious signs of mold when they spoil, not all do. Scientists are therefore developing a dipstick test that will allow those who use it to spot if food is spoiled and potentially poisonous. The dipstick test, which can be administered in a mere five minutes, checks for the presence of chemicals emitted by disease-causing bacteria. Results of the test are easy to read: a color change from dark purple to red means that the food is in the process of spoiling, while a change from dark purple to yellow means the food has gone bad and is unsafe to eat.
The dipsticks, disposable and easy to use, are yielding impressive results: preliminary tests on foods such as salmon and tuna showed that the dipsticks performed accurately 90% of the time. Scientists believe that the dipsticks will work on fruits and vegetables as well as fish and meats, though study results are pending.
Despite the obvious usefulness of this test, degree of food spoilage cannot be conclusively equated with the risk of poisoned food, as food that appears fine to eat can have hidden bugs that the test does not spot. In addition, the dipsticks (which detect compounds made as the food proteins undergo bacterial decay) cannot indicate which food-poisoning bacteria are present. Even more complicated is the fact that mold on some foods – such as blue cheese – are desirable.
It is assumed that the dipsticks will prove most beneficial to food outlets. A spokesman from the Food Standards Agency warned consumers “a test of this sort must not be used instead of efficient storage and preparation techniques.” The goal of the dipstick development was to reduce the cases of food poisoning in the general population, of which half are bacterial-related. Though victims of food poisoning (typically either salmonella or E.coli) usually have mild symptoms, some develop serious enough illnesses that require hospital treatment. Hopefully the dipsticks will reduce the likelihood of such cases.
Source: BBC News
Democracy Abroad, Not At Home
The Bush administration has warned Congress it intends to veto a bill that will give the 580,000 residents of the District of Columbia a voice by granting them a seat in the House of Representatives. Currently the residents of D.C. do not have representation in either the House or the Senate. Speaker for the group DC Vote Ilir Zherka said, “Our supporters are disappointed in this White House where you have a president who talks so much about voting rights abroad but can't do it two blocks from the White House.” A march for DC Voting Rights is scheduled to occur on April 16.
Source: Democracy Now!
Rural Depression High in Australia
On March 21, 2007, at the Parliament House in Canberra, the Rural Doctors Association (RDA) of Australia launched a campaign to help farmers and rural workers suffering from depression. The RDS claims that one in five Australians will experience depression at some point in their lives, especially those in country areas. Peter Rischbieth, president of the RDA, said that the organization is working together with beyondblue – an Australian non-profit association that tries to raise awareness of depression, and improve treatment. He also remarked that “it is crucial [that rural workers] know there are health professionals and other resources available to help them if they are feeling anxious, down, stressed or depressed.” Jeff Kennett, chairman of beyondblue, said: "This is just one part of our broad ongoing campaign to let people know that if they are having a tough time, help is available and they shouldn’t be afraid or embarrassed to put up their hand.”
Source: IBN News
This week, Maria Rubio and Ingrid Feeney asked BC students the following question:
"What are you doing for Spring Break?"
“Prying into the deep dark secrets of the inner recesses of Brooklyn
College. Also, catching up on my work.” – Leah Golubchick
“Pesach.” – Elisheva Rison
“Hopefully, going to the museum. Hopefully, a small, quiet, Central
picnic. Other than that, spring break is only a week. I'll probably be
scrambling to do the assignments given to us to do during our ‘break.’”
“I'll be observing Passover in New York, visiting museums and catching
sleep.” – Ezra Rich
“I'll be studying (i have midterms when we get back). Not exciting, I
but necessary :)” – Krishna Sury
“Probably working. Here. Not having fun.” – Annamarya Scaccia
“Working, as always...” – Lande Yoosuf
“I'm staying in NYC. I'm gonna be trying to spend time with my
get a tattoo, work, and write my thesis!” – Marylu Espinoza
“I’ll be in California, meeting my boyfriend’s dad, taking in the sites
the west coast, and relaxing.” – Maria Rubio
Monday, March 19, 2007
Greetings readers and welcome back to the Boylan Blog!
Pulitzer Prize winning poet Paul Muldoon will give a reading in the State Lounge on Monday, April 23. If you've never read him before, don't let yourself pass up this opportunity!
My favorite poem, and one I think is just as relevant today as it was nearly 70 years ago, is Langston Hughes’ Let America be America again. At the time he wrote it neither the American military nor Supreme Court had abolished segregation and the Civil Rights movement was decades from achieving its greatest triumphs. This poem is about those Americans throughout history who have had to struggle with the inherent hypocrisy in the American Dream. It is about fulfilling the promise America has made to all its citizens, but granted to too few, made all the more poignant by the widening gap between the rich and the poor, racial profiling and those unjustly imprisoned.
Let America Be America Again by Langston Hughes
Let America be America again.
Let it be the dream it used to be.
Let it be the pioneer on the plain
Seeking a home where he himself is free.
(America never was America to me.)
Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed--
Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
That any man be crushed by one above.
(It never was America to me.)
O, let my land be a land where Liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life is free,
Equality is in the air we breathe.
(There's never been equality for me,
Nor freedom in this "homeland of the free.")
Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark?
And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?
I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,
I am the Negro bearing slavery's scars.
I am the red man driven from the land,
I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek--
And finding only the same old stupid plan
Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.
I am the young man, full of strength and hope,
Tangled in that ancient endless chain
Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land!
Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need!
Of work the men! Of take the pay!
Of owning everything for one's own greed!
I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil.
I am the worker sold to the machine.
I am the Negro, servant to you all.
I am the people, humble, hungry, mean--
Hungry yet today despite the dream.
Beaten yet today--O, Pioneers!
I am the man who never got ahead,
The poorest worker bartered through the years.
Yet I'm the one who dreamt our basic dream
In the Old World while still a serf of kings,
Who dreamt a dream so strong, so brave, so true,
That even yet its mighty daring sings
In every brick and stone, in every furrow turned
That's made America the land it has become.
O, I'm the man who sailed those early seas
In search of what I meant to be my home--
For I'm the one who left dark Ireland's shore,
And Poland's plain, and England's grassy lea,
And torn from Black Africa's strand I came
To build a "homeland of the free."
Who said the free? Not me?
Surely not me? The millions on relief today?
The millions shot down when we strike?
The millions who have nothing for our pay?
For all the dreams we've dreamed
And all the songs we've sung
And all the hopes we've held
And all the flags we've hung,
The millions who have nothing for our pay--
Except the dream that's almost dead today.
O, let America be America again--
The land that never has been yet--
And yet must be--the land where every man is free.
The land that's mine--the poor man's, Indian's, Negro's, ME--
Who made America,
Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,
Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,
Must bring back our mighty dream again.
Sure, call me any ugly name you choose--
The steel of freedom does not stain.
From those who live like leeches on the people's lives,
We must take back our land again,
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath--
America will be!
Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,
The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,
We, the people, must redeem
The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
The mountains and the endless plain--
All, all the stretch of these great green states--
And make America again!
Confusion and Violence in Nepal’s New Democracy
In southern Nepal, violent clashes continue among political parties that are pro-republic, pro-monarchy, or in support of an ethnic minority known as the Madheshis. This occurs in the context of recent restoration of parliament through a mass pro-democracy uprising, after a decade-long civil conflict and the end of a Maoist insurgency. Over 50 people were injured last week. Many victims were Madheshi demonstrators killed by excessive force by the police. As there are both non-violent and militant groups among the Madheshis, some of them have attacked police and contributed to the turmoil.
The leader of the Madheshis is calling for an autonomous state within a federal system. One in three Nepalese is Madheshi, but they are underrepresented in politics and claim to be facing discrimination and exploitation. The prime minister has said that the constitution will be changed in order to give the southern flatlands region of Terai fairer representation in government, proportional to its population, under a federal system.
There is much confusion among the many political groups. Maoist youth and students from Nepal’s ruling coalition tried to break up some of the clashes, but injured five royalists during one attack. As the royalists were ridiculed in the streets, student leaders said they were against anyone trying to save the monarchy.
Due to the violence, many people have fled from the village sites of the attacks to towns. The clashes betray the still vulnerable nature of Nepalese democracy, complicate UN efforts for peace, and may cause elections in June to be held in abnormal conditions.
There are over 100 ethnic groups mixed into the Nepalese. The Nepali Times chief editor says, "We are now coming into a new arena of politics where the various ethnic, linguistic, cultural, geographical groups in Nepal are clamoring for identity," and, "We need a political system that gives them a voice."
Sources: BBC News Article #1 and #2
Bleak Findings For UK Children
According to a recent study conducted by UNICEF regarding the wellbeing of children and adolescents, the United Kingdom ranks at the bottom of 21 economically advanced countries. UNICEF ranked the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Spain as the top five, respectively, and Portugal, Austria, Hungary, the United States and the UK as the bottom five, respectively. The report claims that children in the UK suffer greater deprivation, and are exposed to more risks – such as alcohol, drugs and unsafe sex – than children from other wealthy countries in the world. UNICEF measured the treatment of children in six areas: material wellbeing; educational wellbeing, health and safety; family and peer relationships; and the children’s own assessment of their wellbeing.
The UNICEF report claims "The evidence from many countries persistently shows that children who grow up in poverty are more vulnerable: specifically, they are more likely to be in poor health, to have learning and [behavioral] difficulties, to underachieve at school, to become pregnant at too early an age, to have lower skills and aspirations, to be low paid, unemployed and welfare-dependent." Al Aynsley Green, the children's commissioner for England remarked: "I hope this report will prompt us all to look beyond the statistics and to the underlying causes of our failure to nurture happy and healthy children in the UK. These children represent the future of our country and from the findings of this report they are in poor health, unable to maintain loving and successful relationships, feel unsafe and insecure, have low aspirations and put themselves at risk.”
Yecheskel S. Schneider
Source: The Guardian
Setback on Gay Marriage in France
The first and only gay wedding in France that took place in June 2004, uniting two men and officiated by Noel Mamere, Mayor of Begles in south-west France, was declared illegal this Tuesday by the country's highest court. While France legalized civil partnerships between same sex couples in 1999, marriage with all its protections and benefits was not recognized.
Mr. Mamere, who was suspended for a month by France's current prime minister, noted that he was unsurprised by the court's decision, since "it is part of a conservative conception of marriage." He also says that "he tried to offer rights to people, while not taking away rights from others." He supports the couple's decision to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights.
The gay marriage debate has become a political issue now that the presidential elections are on the way. One of the leading candidates, Segolene Royal, had promised to legalize gay marriage, while her challenger, Francois Bayrou, supports gay adoption but says that "marriage should be reserved for heterosexual couples."
Meanwhile, Mr. Mamere, saying "I have no regrets. I subscribe to this cause and I will persist," is determined to continue the fight for sanctioning gay marriage.
Source: BBC News
The Plea for Europe's Aid in Africa
Source: BBC News
Wales Opens New College Focused on Chinese Culture
The Confucius Institute will open in Ceredigion, Wales this year and will be based at Lampeter University. It hopes to encourage awareness of Chinese culture and strengthen business links between the two countries.
Robert Pearce, the vice chancellor of Lampeter University, strongly encourages relations with China, in light of the economic and educational advances developing there.
The college, which is partly funded by the Chinese government, will be the first one to open in Wales. One hundred similar institutes are set to open world-wide.
Source: BBC News
By Sylvia Levy
Ice Caps Melting in the Arctic Ocean
In view of the growing concern for the environment (about time!), Maryana and Eugenia have asked fellow BC students the following question: what do you think should be done to reverse or alleviate the effects of Global Warming?
For one thing, people should realize that it is important to do so. They should drop the attitude of "I don't care if it's hell after I'm out of here" and start loving the planet and, well, themselves (as in Humankind). Only then action will follow.
We need to cut down on carbon emissions and save gasoline, can choose to walk places instead of drive, try to carpool, and avoid driving during rush hours, when there is a lot of traffic that slows you down.
Everybody should just start fucking walking, riding the bus, car pooling. Not every member of a household needs a car, and if they do, they should try to use it less.
People should work on trying to create alternate energy sources, like solar energy or the gas made from corn.
We should recycle more.
We should walk a lot more, drive a lot less.
Five things that can help to reverse global warming:
1. Give incentives to consumers for the purchasing of hybrid automobiles.
2. Ban all aerosols.
3. Stay out of the rainforests.
4. Use of green chemicals.
5. Keep making documentaries, such as "An Inconvenient Truth."
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
Submit 5 poems to the Department of English (2308B).
Use a Cover Sheet with Name, Address, Phone Number, and a List of All Titles.
*Do not put your name on any other page!*
Eligibility: Undergraduate students - all majors!
Prize: Cash Award and One-Year membership to the Academy of American Poets.
Winner will be announced at the English Majors' Tea this spring!
Please be advised that the deadline for the annual Undergraduate Shakespeare Competition had been postponed until Thursday, March 22!
It will take place in the Barker Room (2315B), 1:30-3:30pm.
The Sign-Up Deadline is Tuesday, March 20! Students MUST sign up in the English Department Office (2308B).
Students competing for the Shakespeare Essay Award, established by Brooklyn College Professor Randolph Goodman, will write an essay on an assigned topic, in which 4 plays by Shakespeare will be discussed in detail. The essay must cover at least 3 of the 4 Shakespearean genres in the course of its argument (comedy, history, tragedy, and romance); the 4th play can come from any genre (for example, an essay might discuss two comedies, one history, and one tragedy). Students should bring an edition of Shakespeare's plays and a dictionary to the exam.
This competition is open to all BC undergraduates. Contestants will use pen names to ensure anonymity when essays are judged. The pen names will be written on essay booklets and on application forms.
The essay requires detailed discussion of 4 plays. One play must be selected from 3 of the following categories; the 4th play can be selected from any category:
* Comedies: As You Like It; Twelfth Night; The Merchant of Venice; Measure for Measure; A Midsummer Night's Dream; Much Ado About Nothing; Troilus and Cressida.
* Histories: Richard II; Henry IV, Part I; Henry V; Richard III.
* Tragedies: Romeo and Juliet; Hamlet; Macbeth; Othello; King Lear; Julius Caesar; Anthony and Cleopatra; Coriolanus.
* Romances: Pericles; Cymbeline; The Winter's Tale; The Tempest
A single prize of a substantial amount of money will be awarded if the best essay is judged worthy of it.
Monday, March 12, 2007
Welcome to this week's edition of the Boylan Blog!
The Poetry Club meets this Thursday in 2307 Boylan from 1:30-3:30p.m. to explore and write collaborative sonnets. Come share your love of writing!
In observance of Women's History Month, let us indulge in a juicy slice of the righteously feminine word smithery of Alfonsina Storni.
He aquí que te cacé por el pescuezo
a la orilla del mar, mientras movías
las flechas de tu aljaba para herirme
y vi en el suelo tu floreal corona.
Como a un muñeco destripé tu vientre
y examiné sus ruedas engañosas
y muy envuelta en sus poleas de oro
hallé una trampa que decía: sexo.
Sobre la playa, ya un guiñapo triste,
te mostré al sol, buscón de tus hazañas,
ante un corro asustado de sirenas.
Iba subiendo por la cuesta albina
tu madrina de engaños, Doña Luna,
y te arrojé a la boca de las olas.
I caught you by the neck
on the shore of the sea, while you shot
arrows from your quiver to wound me
and on the ground I saw your flowered crown.
I disemboweled your stomach like a doll's
and examined your deceitful wheels,
and deeply hidden in your golden pulleys
I found a trapdoor that said: sex.
On the beach I held you, now a sad heap,
up to the sun, accomplice of your deeds,
before a chorus of frightened sirens.
Your deceitful godmother, the moon
was climbing through the crest of the dawn,
and I threw you into the mouth of the waves.
Female Birth Weight Correlates with Depression
According to a report in the March issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, females born weighing less than 5.5 pounds are more prone to teenage depression than those born at a normal weight. In contrast, the same does not appear to be true for boys. Researchers at Duke University Medical School, Durham, N.C., studied the correlation between low birth weight and depression in 1,420 participants, including males and females spanning the ages of 9-16. Of the girls born weighing less than 5.5 pounds, 38.1% experienced some form of depression between the ages of 13 and 16. Of females with normal birth weight, only 8.4% experienced depression. With respect to boys, regardless of birth weight, no more than 4.9% suffered from depression. Furthermore, low birth weight did not correlate with any other psychiatric condition in either girls or boys.
"The findings need replication in larger samples that include prospective data from birth to adulthood. Important next steps will include separate examination of the many different hormonal, morphological, psychological and social aspects of puberty that might best explain the increase in risk seen in adolescence, herein indexed by age," the authors conclude. "For the present, the findings suggest that pediatricians and parents of girls who were of low birth weight should pay close attention to their mental health as they enter puberty."
Source: Science Daily
Key Differences in Addicts’ Brains
Recent studies by Cambridge University scientists indicate that physical differences in the brain may affect the chances that a person will take drugs. Currently, up to 500,000 people are addicted to hard drugs, such as cocaine and heroin, and countries spend millions instituting programs to send out anti-drug messages to target audiences. If the findings of the studies are correct, then it may be genes, rather than economic status or race, that play the more significant role in predisposing people to take drugs.
Studies of rat brains showed that variations from normal brain structure led to increased probability that the rats would opt for cocaine. Analogous differences in structure have been noticed in the brains of human drug users. Specifically, the researchers found differences in neurotransmitter receptors in certain parts of the rat brains. Rats having fewer than normal dopamine receptors, to which drugs like cocaine bind in order to produce their effect, were found to be much more likely to go for cocaine when it was offered to them – even if they had never been exposed to the drug before. It is possible that these brain differences, predating drug exposure, induce drug-prone behavior in humans.
Dr. Gerome Breen, from London’s Institute of Psychiatry, offers possible developments from these findings: “[These studies] pinpoint a potential cause of relapse in abstinent drug users - what makes them start taking a drug again despite all the problems they know it will cause them. This means that we can start to investigate treatments that, at least partially, correct this deficit in the hope that these will prove successful in preventing relapse.”
Source: BBC News
Zimbabwe Doctors Return to Work
Zimbabwe’s explosive inflation has made wages for doctors, nurses and paramedics nearly worthless. The situation had become so intolerable that doctors launched a strike over two months ago, demanding an 8000% increase in their pay. After two months of negotiations and the worsening of a healthcare system already overburdened with HIV/AIDS cases, government officials have worked out a deal reasonable enough to persuade the country’s doctors to end their strike. Now the government must find a way to reverse its economic crisis or run the risk of their own employees walking out in strike.
Source: The L.A. Times
Iranian Women Fight for Legal Equality and Respect
Horrifying statistics detail the misogynistic overtone of legal issues worldwide, and in Iran women are struggling to overcome these hurdles. Risking physical cruelty and even death, these brave women aim to collect at least a million signatures in the name of equal rights. They hope that the garnering of a million signatures will urge legislators to repeal several Islamic laws that discriminate against women.
One of the prime examples brought up as a legal issue is the fact that women are denied the ability to divorce their husbands. At the mercy of the court system, unhappy wives are not granted divorce on the grounds that they are better off married – even if their husbands are abusive. Custody of children is automatically granted to the husband, as long as the boys are two or more years of age and the girls are seven or more years of age. In the very rare case that a marriage is dissolved, blame and ridicule are often bestowed upon the woman, while property and good will are granted to the man.
Women’s rights activists face an uphill battle in Iran. Many are quick to dismiss women’s rights as a “western” trend, and apathy engrosses many women who are enmeshed with the reality of their lives.
Source: BBC News
In observance of Women's Herstory Month, this week we're asking:
What female icon (literary, fictional, political or otherwise) would you like to see honored?
Either Oprah Winfrey or Angelina Jolie – women who are using their fame and wealth to do something for people in other countries. Oprah has just set up – at her own cost – a school for young girls in Africa, and Angelina, as the Goodwill ambassador, travels all over the world trying to understand and help people in need. Truly deserving women like them should be honored.
Krishna Sury, BC College Student
Seriously, Eleanor Roosevelt.
Clint Hazzard Walker
Jenna Jameson... ooh baby!
Anna Nicole Smith. Hands down.
Amory Meltzer, Vassar
The Burmese political prisoner, Aung San Kyi.
Hahna Yoon, CUNY Baruch
Jessica Rabbit, hands down. Changed my whole view on cartoons.
Sandra Day O'Connor, first woman on the Supreme Court.
First woman elected to congress was from Montana. Let's honor her!
Asya Izraelit, Columbia Student
Xena, the Warrior Princess, of course. She was and is truly an inspiration for so many women so late in the post-feminism era.
In the simplest terms, I think 'MOM' should definitely continue to receive great honor for just about giving all for the sake of every one of us...
Nancy Drew. The Hardy Boys don't hold a candle to her.
Betty Friedan or Elizabeth Cady Stanton...two women who had a vision and fought for it!
Ezra N. Rich
They are uncovering her as we speak from the depths of centuries, of sand, hidden in "the song of songs," of Solomon. Many are puzzled by her exotic nature and mystified by her origins, many stories are told but the attempts fall to shallow. Her stature obscure with too many cultures trying to claim her as they still do to women all across the earth... I present her in reverance, the Queen of Sheba or Saba.
Nina Simone, for being an icon of the music world and standing up for her political beliefs.
Monday, March 05, 2007
Thanks, all of you who submitted works to the English Major's Zine this year!
We hope to release another stellar issue of the Zine this year and with your help it looks like we will succeed.
Here are a couple of announcements for the upcoming week:
A poetry reading will be held next Tuesday, March 13, from 2:00 to 3:30pm in the Glenwood Lounge featuring distinguished poet Lisa Jarnot.
The office of Affirmative Action, Diversity and Compliance together with the Women's Center present a discussion with pioneer writer Shelly Jackson next Wednesday March 14, from 5:00pm-6:30 pm in 227 New Ingersoll
Author of such provocative books as Armed Madhouse and The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, Greg Palast is the journalist who has broken some of the most important stories of our time, stories those in power don’t want the average American to know. When I think of a journalist who shows us American journalism needs a swift kick in the butt, I think of Greg Palast. He reports the stories mainstream media has no interest in telling us, the stories the public has not the right but the necessity to know. He uncovered the State Departments secret documents outlining a plan to seize Iraq’s oil reserves, exposed Tony Blair’s “Lobbygate” scandal and dug up the frauds behind the Exxon Valdez incident which resulted in a jury awarding some of the highest damages against a company in U.S. history.
Just recently Palast has spent the past months researching vulture funds—a type of company that profits off the efforts of economic justice organizations by buying the debts of poor nations just as they’re sold at bargain prices, then taking those countries to court and forcing them to pay the original amount plus interest, garnering profits up to ten times the company’s initial investment. Mr. Palast’s writing has forced the nations of the world to take responsibility for their own words, holding up the light of day to the reality of the pledges, made by the G8 in 2005 and President Bush in his State of the Union, to provide aid to developing nations by reducing their debts. His is the kind of journalism sorely needed in this country and around the world, a journalism that leads to positive action for the common good by the nations of the world. His articles have spurred the U.S. government to investigate these dishonest businesses and finally put an end to their practices. May he continue to ferret out the injustices in our world and bring them to our attention so we can do something about them.
This week's poem is meant to commemorate the end of the Black History Month with its inspirational message. The wonderful writer and poet Maya Angelou is a powerful voice
for freedom and equality. For all of us who have ever felt oppressed, underestimated, or plain old blue, "Still I Rise" is the perfect source of encouragement and elevation.
A bit about the poet:
Maya Angelou (original name Marguerite Johnson) was born April 4, 1928 in St Louis, Arkansas. Maya Angelou is one of America’s leading contemporary poets and probably the most famous black female poet. However, Maya Angelou has also achieved much in the fields of theatre, acting, novels and also as a member of the Civil Rights movement.
Still I Rise
You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I'll rise.
Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
'Cause I walk like I've got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.
Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I'll rise.
Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?
Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don't you take it awful hard
'Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines
Diggin' in my own backyard.
You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I'll rise.
Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I've got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?
Out of the huts of history's shame
Up from a past that's rooted in pain
I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
Into a daybreak that's wondrously clear
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
This week, Sylvia Levy and Jade Zirino asked BC students:
Can you describe your most recent remembered dream?
I had a dream I was hanging out with some old friends, just talking and laughing. It felt very natural. It was weird to have this dream because just a few days before my old friend called, said she hadn’t seen me in such a long time. She probably wouldn’t recognize me.
I can’t tell you, you’re my mom.
I was piloting a 747, flying along, didn’t know how to land. I think it was because I started wearing my nicotine patch at night.
I was at work, but in the corridor towards the elevators they were many steps. As I approached there were washing machines and driers. In the detergent I found a pet frog that belonged to a co-worker of mine, who apparently was neglectful and left it there. It looked sickly, and next to it was a plump beetle, who seemed to be eating a lot of food. I took both of them and explained to the frog that it must eat the beetle; I felt for the frog. It then ate the beetle, and I literally felt the life being sucked out of the beetle. I knew that I was meant to take care of the beetle.
I had a dream about a dining room made of gold. I remember looking in at gold dishes and then the monkeys from the wizard of Oz started smashing the dishes.
A Tree Grows In The Congo
The Congo Rainforest houses the endangered bonobo and many other species, and is also the home of the Twa and Bantu ethnic groups. In 2002, The Congo Government introduced a moratorium forbidding the renewal and allocation of rainforest logging permits. More than twenty-one million hectares of rainforest in the Congo are now illegally logged. The moratorium, which had been reaffirmed by Presidential decree, has been widely ignored.
Greenpeace has recently reported that companies, such as ITB (Industrie de Transformation de Bois) are actively logging in the rainforest, using permits issued after the 2003 moratorium. Greenpeace is demanding that all forest titles in breach of the moratorium be immediately voided. Pasteur Matthieu Yela Bonketo, coordinator of CEDEN, a Congolese NGO active in Equateur province, has remarked: "Logging companies promise us wonders: work, schools, hospitals, but actually, they seem to be only interested in their own short term profits. What will happen when our forests have been emptied? They will leave and we'll be the ones left with damaged roads, schools with no roofs and hospitals without medicine." Greenpeace is planning a conference on this issue in the near future.
Yecheskel S. Schneider
Green Revolution’s Stickers Threaten Kenyan Farmers’ Livelihoods
Two million Kenyan farmers who rely on western markets for their flowers, fruit and vegetables, are becoming the victims of a green campaign that uses airplane labeling to persuade European consumers to buy local instead of air-freighted produce. Kenya’s horticultural industry accounts for 65% of the developing country’s export economy and has been characterized by close planning and cooperation with UK supermarkets, the BBC reports. Now, however, the Kenyan horticultural industry claims that those supermarkets are announcing measures to reduce the carbon footprint at the expense of African livelihoods, without even consulting their African partners.
According to Bill Worley, a leading official in the UK’s International Institute for Environment and Development, if consumers boycott goods air-freighted from Africa, the UK’s total carbon emissions would be reduced by less than 0.1%. The loss to Kenyan farmers would be much more significant. More than two thirds of the crops they grow for foreign markets are not consumed locally. Without this market, the farmers would lose their livelihood and may no longer be able to pay for such things as their children’s education. They would be victims to the West’s green revolution without contributing to emissions or even knowing the meaning of global warming. As “carbon-counting” airplane stickers hit the produce isles in Europe, consumers should become aware of the possible consequences of their decisions. The choice is, in the words of Hilary Benn, UK development secretary: “Should I only buy local and boycott produce from abroad, especially things flown in - or should I support poor farmers to improve their income, to take care of their families, to work and trade their way out of poverty?"
Source: BBC News
Two Named By International Criminal Court in Connection with War Crimes in Darfur
On Tuesday, the chief prosecutor of the new war crimes court, Louis Moreno Ocampo, named Ahmad Harun and Ali Muhammad Ali Abd-al-Rahman as the first people to be tried for atrocities in Darfur. Summonses will be issued for the two based on more than 100 pages of evidence that were presented to the court’s judges. Investigation into the carnage and inhumane activity has been on going for more than 20 months.
The court was opened in The Hague in 2002 to address large scale human rights violations. The case in Darfur was presented to the court by the UN Security Council two years ago, but the court operates independently. The question of the court’s jurisdiction is a major concern. The prosecutor has presented key evidence that the two men acted together and played major roles in attacks on four villages in 2003. Nevertheless, the Sudanese minister of justice in Khartoum refuses to recognize the court's jurisdiction. They claim that they will not hand over anyone to the court and that they will try suspects in their own systems.
This leaves the court in a predicament similar to the ones faced by UN war crimes tribunals in the past that dealt with the genocide in Uganda and the wars in the Balkans. The International Criminal Court and the prosecutors investigating human rights violations in Darfur are confronted with the issues of “how to investigate, let alone put on trial, officials of sitting governments.” The Court is obliged to investigate war crimes and crimes against humanity, yet they do not employ police officers to enforce its summonses or arrest warrants. And so it is left depending on the very governments it may be investigating.
In this particular case, Harun ,who served as minister of state for the interior and head of the "Darfur Security Desk" was in charge of state and local military, police and intelligence agencies. The prosecutor is charging Harun with recruiting, arming and funding the janjaweed militia with an unlimited, unsupervised budget. He is currently minister of humanitarian affairs.
The prosecutor says that Abd-al-Rahman, the local militia leader also known as Ali Kushayb, personally led attacks on villages and towns. He is accused of leading thousands of janjaweed militia in the pillaging and burning of homes and stores, as well as rape and participating in executions. He is currently being held in Sudan on charges unrelated to this case. At this point it remains uncertain as to whether the top leaders responsible for this devastation will ever be held accountable. The prosecutor insists, however, that he will continue to investigate crimes by leaders on both sides of this conflict.
Source: The International Herald Tribune
No More Children!
Acting upon its ordinary citizens' complaints, the Chinese government has introduced new measures to prevent rich people from having more children than allowed by the one-child policy established in the 1970s. Whereas strict fines are imposed upon the violators, wealthy Chinese can afford to pay and are therefore less likely to comply with the family size limitations. To rectify the problem, China proposed to punish those having 2 or more children by "recording violators' names and making them ineligible for citizenship awards." The primary transgressors are the rich and famous Chinese, most of whom "have two children, and 10% of them have three."
The move to enforce new measures coincided with the report from the National Bureau of Statistics, which indicated that the gender imbalance in China is growing with alarming speed. In 2006, with the Chinese population reaching 1,314,480,000, "males accounted for 51.5% of the population." If the trend progresses, state media reports, "there could be 30 million more men of marriageable age than women in as little as 15 years."
Source: BBC International