Wednesday, October 19, 2016


Am reading and being unpleasantly informed about about what it was like to live as a dissident under the Cuban regime: Becoming Reinaldo Arenas by Jorge Olivares, as 'Before Night Falls' was suggested by a bookclub member who always introduces surprising choices-- her first and last being the sex one by Anais Nin (interestingly born to Cuban parents).  The beginning of the Olivares book was a bit of an eye-opener but not that surprising to discover that Cuba like Russia heavily censored their artists, especially those not following the Party line (bizarrely artistic licence seems to be challenging the status quo to push boundaries).  I mused a bit as I remember given 'Mother' by Gorky to read by an aunt who espoused socialist ideas and was well read and  then returning the book with the comment that it seemed gloomy and boring; having been brought up on a diet of primarily Enid Blyton and not realising the (bad) golliwogs most probably referred to people like me!   Likewise in the climate of non-availability of books, my mission was to go into other people's houses and borrow their books, I made it to a prominent Portuguese family's house and while the father was railing at his fun-loving child for not reading I defended her by saying some of the classics were boring-- having just struggled through the first part of Lorna Doone and abandoning it mid-way, missing the whole point of the story as it seemed to be a novel about being cold and hungry and written in a way designed to bore an average 11yr old.  On the other hand I ended up reading porn quite by accident, thinking a book called the Honeypot was about Winnie the Pooh- not expecting to get it from a fairly conservative Muslim family's house - but that's Guyana for you!

On a separate note I was relieved to read that Amy Goodman, she of 'Exceptions to the Rulers' was freed of possible prison charges for merely reporting encroachment of an oil company on Native American reservation land!  Sad to think that the country crying freedom of the press/information is itself guilty of the sins they accuse others of! Although I did not agree that American agents should be exposed I was glad of the Wiki-leaks scandal as it confirmed a lot of things that people suspected - such as the US blocking an increase of the minimum wage of Haitians after the devastating hurricane-- and one should wonder what business it is of theirs to be involved in Haiti's public policy? Also looking bad for them is the terrible infringement of Human Rights to keep someone in solitary confinement  for ages-- the young soldier who gave the documents to Wikileaks people.

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