by timothy. 0 Comments

Good Reads Mailing List | 2004 week 32 number 1

Readers of Tyler Green’s Modern Art Notes will recognize today’s must-read code-red as an article he has been promoting over the past few days. It is from the LA Times and will require a login if you haven’t visited before. The other two articles are from the New York Times, which I’ve urged people in the past to read asap because otherwise the articles get archived and are then only accessible for a fee. That is no longer necessary, as the NYT has modified urls available via their RSS feeds especially for bloggers to link to, which allow them to be active indefinitely. (Thanks to Chris Hand at Zeke’s Gallery for clueing me into this a couple of months back). – Timothy


Art of the Impolitic in Syria | Megan K. Stack
“‘I hate people when they’re like rabbits. Scared people, I can’t even look at them,’ he said. ‘I know my work can help my country so much. If you haven’t visited Syria, you don’t know what is Syria. And I know the culture is stronger than any gun.’ […]’The old prime minister [Mohammed Mustafa Miro] was joking with me one day. He said, ‘Yes, we know you have a lot of problems, but when you die we will build you a sculpture.’ I said, ‘Why don’t you help me now and forget about the sculpture?’ ‘ Touma isn’t afraid to fight dirty. He collected the private fax and mobile phone numbers of government officials, and dug up dirt �’ extramarital affairs and the like �’ on some of his adversaries in the party to keep them at bay. ‘Anybody you hate in the government, you can find somebody else who hates him,’ he said. ‘In any government in the world, there is somebody there who will help you, not because he likes you, but because he hates the other guy.'”
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As Repression Lifts, More Iranians Change Their Sex | Nazila Fathi
“After decades of repression, the Islamic government is recognizing that some people want to change their sex, and allowing them to have operations and obtain new birth certificates. Before the Islamic Revolution in 1979, there was no particular policy regarding transsexuals. Iranians with the inclination, means and connections could obtain the necessary medical treatment and new identity documents. The new religious government, however, classed transsexuals and transvestites with gays and lesbians, who were condemned by Islam and faced the punishment of lashing under Iran’s penal code. But these days, Iran’s Muslim clerics, who dominate the judiciary, are considerably better informed about transsexuality. Some clerics now even recommend sex-change operations to those who are troubled about their gender. The issue was discussed at a conference in Tehran in June that drew officials from other Persian Gulf countries. […] One early campaigner for transsexual rights is Maryam Hatoon Molkara, who was formerly a man known as Fereydoon. Before the revolution, under the shah, he had longed to become a woman but could not afford surgery. Furthermore, he wanted religious guidance. In 1978, he wrote to Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who was to become the leader of the revolution but was still in exile, explaining his situation. The ayatollah replied that his case was different from that of a homosexual and therefore he had his blessing.”

Criticism Starts at Home | Henry Louis Gates Jr.
“It also starts with broken dreams. Near the end of Lorraine Hansberry’s 1959 play, ‘A Raisin in the Sun,’ a young woman challenges her African boyfriend’s fond hopes for decolonization: ‘You think you can patch up the world. Cure the Great Sore of Colonialism with the ‘penicillin of Independence.’ ‘ But what comes after? ‘What about all the crooks and thieves and just plain idiots who will come to power to steal and plunder the same as before, only now they will be black and do it in the name of the new independence?’ A year later, Nigeria and 15 other countries declared their independence. Yet today, according to the nonprofit organization Freedom House, only about a fifth of sub-Saharan Africa would qualify as ‘ free.’ Nor is democracy alone any guarantee of sound governance; Mr. Soyinka told me he likens South Africa’s president, Thabo Mbeki, who spent years denying the realities of H.I.V./AIDS (even as the epidemic’s toll exceeded the number of people shipped from Africa in the trans-Atlantic slave trade), to imams who fought a WHO campaign to eradicate polio: ‘I find his position virtually as illiterate as the position of Muslim fundamentalists here in Nigeria who say that they read somewhere in the Koran that polio immunization is anti-Islamic.’ “

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emailed by Timothy on Thursday 05 August 2004 @ 3:29 PM

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