NAIROBI: Five elderly people suspected of practising witchcraft were burnt to death in western Kenya, police have said.
“They include four women and a man in their 80′s who were accused of having abducted a child,” Kisii deputy police Commander Manasseh Musyoka said yesterday.
The killings occurred at Bomatara Village in Mosocho Division.
A resident who declined to be named said the abducted child was found dumped on the roadside.
“He was unconscious and when he regained it, he was able to tell the names of his abductors. That is when a decision was reached in the village to hunt them down. And they were all burnt in their houses,” he said.
In March last year, 12 people, mainly elderly men and women were burnt to death in Nyamira district in similar circumstances.
|(From The Times of India)|
Archive for February, 2009
“New Yorkers are spoiled because we have access to instant news and the people who make it, so getting us quiet and anticipatory on the edge of our seats isn’t easy — until you hear Elie Wiesel talk about Madoff. It wasn’t just that both he personally in addition to his foundation lost everything, it was that this is a crime so despicable Wiesel will never forgive Madoff — and this from a man who has forgiven a lot in his life.
While we tried to tout out labels like psychopath and sociopath, Wiesel called him a common thief and a crook. And when asked what punishment would be appropriate, Wiesel imagined perhaps solitary confinement with a video screen that played pictures of his victims… over and over again.”
(from Huffington Post)
DUBLIN — When nature calls at 30,000 feet, is $1.40 a wee price to pay? Or could it force passengers without correct change into a whole new kind of holding pattern?
The head of budget European airline Ryanair unleashed a flood of indignation and potty humor Friday when he suggested that future passengers might be obliged to insert a British pound coin for access to the lavatory to get some in-flight relief.
Airline chief Michael O’Leary suggested that installing pay toilets would lower ticket costs and make flying, somehow, easier for all.
(from Huffington Post)
David Sedaris is the funniest guy. I never laugh so much reading a book as when I read Me Talk Pretty One Day. I love funny. Don’t say “who doesn’t”, because I know certain people who don’t have any sense of humor. People who think funny is overrated. Sad people.
I don’t think everything considered funny is hilarious; there is this new “men don’t grow up” theme in movies that I think is awful. But I laugh watching “America’s Funniest Home Videos”, Dave Letterman, Jon Stewart (in fact, all the late night guys..). I laugh at Seinfeld, Ricky Gervais, Eddie Izzard, Ellen. There’s nothing better than Bill Cosby some 20 years ago. Once I almost died watching “Trains, Planes and Automobiles”, with John Candy and Steve Martin. Too funny.
And many years ago I almost fell from the balcony in a theater watching Les Luthiers, a group form Argentine.
That’s to say that I love funny. And David Sedaris is funny.
David Sedaris é o cara mais engraçado. Eu nunca ri tanto lendo um livro como quando eu li “Me Talk Pretty One Day” (Eu Falar Bonito um Dia, Cia das Letras). Eu adoro coisas engraçadas. Não diga “e quem não gosta?”, porque eu conheço certas pessoas que não têm nenhum senso de humor. Pessoas que acham que coisas engraçadas são supervalorizadas. Pessoas tristes.
Eu não acho que tudo que é considerado engraçado é hilariante; tem um tema nos filmes hoje em dia, “homens que não amadurecem”, que eu acho horrível.
Mas eu dou risada assistindo Video Cassetadas, Dave Letterman, Jon Stewart (na verdade todos esses caras que fazem os programas tarde da noite…) Eu rio do Seinfeld, do Ricky Gervais, do Eddie Izzard, da Ellen. Não tem nada mais engraçado que o Bill Cosby uns vinte anos atrás. Uma vez quase morri assistindo “Trens, Planes and Automobiles” (Antes Só do que Mal Acompanhado), com John Candy e Steve Martin. Engraçado demais. E uma vez, faz muitos anos, quase caí do balcão do Municipal em São Paulo assistindo ao Les Luthiers, um grupo da Argentina.
Isso tudo prá dizer que adoro coisas engraçadas. E que o David Sedaris é engraçado.
I went to see The Reader this week. It’s a movie that has been generating a little bit of controversy. Some critics think the movie is denying the Holocaust, and being too simpathetic to the character of the camp guard. But the director and the producers, and a lot of Jewish organizations and Holocaust survivors (Elie Wiesel and the ADL National Director, for instance), don’t agree with that opinion. They welcome the debate and say that the movie is about “ what Germany did to itself and its future generations” (E. Wiesel). It’s about “the generation of Germans who lived in the shadow of one of the greatest crimes of the 20th century”.
I personally didn’t feel any sympathy for Hannah, the camp guard. And I’m very thin-skinned regarding any movie or book about these subjects – Holocaust, camps, Germans in the war, etc. On the other hand, I’m quite tough about anti-semitism. For instance, I don’t go to places where I’m not welcome. Egypt, Dubai, Morocco, some Eastern European countries are not in my travel plans. Even Germany, despite all its efforts to repent, doesn’t attract me. So my radar about any tolerance in this matter is very sensitive. I didn’t feel anything like that in this movie.
Kate Winslet’s job portraying the German woman who doesn’t understand what she did wrong is perfect. Her eyes, her posture, the way she talks, it’s all German. I’m beginning to think that she really is her generation’s Meryl Streep of.
Fui assistir O Leitor (The Reader) essa semana. É um filme que tá gerando um pouco de controvérsia. Alguns críticos acham que o filme nega o Holocausto, e é simpático demais com a personagem da guarda de campo de concentração. Mas o diretor e os produtores, e um monte de organizações judaicas e sobreviventes do Holocausto (Elie Wiesel e o diretor da Anti Defamation League, por exemplo) não concordam com essa opinião. Eles aceitam o debate e dizem que o filme é sobre “ o que a Alemanha fez a si mesma e a suas gerações futuras” (E. Wiesel). É sobre “a geração de alemães que viveram na sombra de um dos maiores crimes do século 20”.
Eu pessoalmente não senti nenhuma simpatia por Hannah, a guarda de campo de concentração.
E eu sou sensível em relação a qualquer filme ou livro sobre esses assuntos – Holocausto, campos de concentração, alemães na guerra, etc. Por outro lado, eu sou super dura sobre anti-semitismo. Por exemplo, eu não vou para lugares onde não sou bemvinda. O Egito, Dubai, Marrocos, alguns países do Leste Europeu não estão nos meus planos de viagem. Mesmo a Alemanha, apesar de seus esforços de arrependimento, não me atrai. Então meu radar sobre qualquer tolerância sobre esse assunto é bem sensível. E eu não senti nada a esse respeito quando assisti ao filme.
O trabalho da Kate Winslet representando a mulher alemã que não compreende o que ela fez de errado é perfeito. Seus olhos, sua postura, a maneira que ela fala, é uma alemã sem tirar nem por. Tô começando a achar que ela é realmente a Meryl Streep da geração dela.
That’s what I was reading this week: The Winter’s Tale, by Shakespeare. I’m going to see the play in New York and if I don’t read the screenplay first I miss a lot. It’s not easy to read Shakespeare; at least for me (I believe most people have the same problem…). I usually buy editions with lots of notes so I can understand it better. But I haven’t found my favorite edition yet. I know it’s out there and one fine day we’ll meet!
The Winter’s Tale is a drama in the first 3 acts, a romance/comedy in the last two. It’s considered one of Shakespeare’s “problem plays”. I enjoyed reading it. I’ll write more after I’ve seen it on stage.
Foi isso que eu li nessa semana: Conto de Inverno, do Shakespeare. Eu vou ver a peça em Nova York e se eu não leio o texto antes eu perco muita coisa. Não é fácil ler Shakespeare; pelo menos prá mim (acho que a maioria das pessoas tem o mesmo problema…). Eu normalmente compro edições com bastante notas prá poder entender melhor. Mas ainda não achei ainda a minha edição preferida. Eu sei que ela existe e que um dia vamos nos encontrar!
A História de Inverno é um drama nos 3 primeiros atos, e um romance/comédia nos últimos dois. É considerada uma das “peças problemas” de Shakespeare. Eu gostei de ler o texto. Escrevo mais sobre depois de vê-la no palco.
Susan Sontag’s son, David Rieff, wrote this book after she died. He is a writer and a journalist, very accomplished. It’s a small and powerful book, written with such an open heart, expressing the love/admiration he had for his mother – and the guilt for having survived her. He’s a self confessed “cold person”; he talks about his short comings as a person and as a son facing a momentous occasion – his mother disease and death. He talks also about SS attitude regarding death, her will to live; it’s very interesting, because he describes in detail all the process that a person goes through when facing death. Of course he’s talking about this specific person, but made me think that each person, when dying, faces the most essential and dramatic moments in life. It’s very sad and scary.
O filho da Susan Sontag, David Rieff, escreveu esse livro depois que ela morreu. Ele é um escritor e jornalista, de bastante sucesso. É um livro pequeno e poderoso, escrito com um coração tão aberto, expressando o amor/admiração que ele tinha pela mãe – e a culpa por ter sobrevivido a ela. Ele é “uma pessoa fria” confessa; ele fala sobre suas falhas como ser humano e como filho, em face de fatos importantes – a doença e a morte de sua mãe. Ele fala sobre a atitude da Susan Sontag em relação à morte, sua vontade de viver; é muito interessante, porque ele descreve em detalhe todo o processo pelo qual uma pessoa passa quando encara a morte. Claro que ele tá falando de uma pessoa específica, mas me fez pensar que cada pessoa, quando tá morrendo, vive os momentos mais essenciais e dramáticos de vida. É triste e dá mêdo.
A Lifetime’s Collection of Texts in Hebrew, at Sotheby’s
Is bibliophilia a religious impulse? You can’t walk into Sotheby’s exhibition space in Manhattan right now and not sense the devotion or be swept up in its passions and particularities. The 2,400-square-foot opening gallery is lined with shelves — 10 high — reaching to the ceiling, not packed tight, but with occasional books open to view. Each shelf is labeled, not with a subject, but with a city or town of origin: Amsterdam, Paris, Leiden, Izmir, Bombay, Cochin, Cremona, Jerusalem, Ferrara, Calcutta, Mantua, Shanghai, Alexandria, Baghdad and on and on.
You can’t read these books or pluck them from the shelves. But you feel their presence as you explore, particularly in adjoining rooms where volumes are open inside cases for closer scrutiny. These 13,000 books and manuscripts were primarily collected by one man, Jack V. Lunzer, who was born in Antwerp in 1924, lives in London and made his fortune as a merchant of industrial diamonds. The collection’s geographical scale is matched by its temporal breadth, which extends over a millennium. But this endeavor is not just an exercise in bibliophilia. These are all books written in Hebrew or using Hebrew script, many of them rare or even unique. Most come from the earliest centuries of Hebrew printing in their places of origins and thus map out a history of the flourishing of Jewish communities around the world. The collection’s historical gaps and boundaries are also revealing because they often implicitly mark periods of decline, which, we learn elsewhere, often meant public conflagrations of copies of these very books or even exterminations of the communities themselves.
The collection, named after the Italian town that Mr. Lunzer’s family has long been associated with, is known as the Valmadonna Trust Library. Sotheby’s has put it on sale as a single collection. Through next Thursday it is being handsomely displayed to the public, while luring the large institutional libraries and collectors who might be prepared to pay at least $40 million for what Sotheby’s, echoing scholars in the field, describes as “the finest private library of Hebrew books and manuscripts in the world.”
There are extraordinary items on display here, including a Hebrew Bible handwritten in England in 1189 — the only dated Hebrew text from England before King Edward I expelled the Jews in 1290. In 1190, the Jewish community of York was massacred and its property, including many books and manuscripts, was looted and sold abroad, where this volume was discovered. There is also an exquisitely preserved edition of the Babylonian Talmud (1519-23) made by the Christian printer Daniel Bomberg in Venice, an edition created with the advice of a panel of scholars that codified many aspects of how the Talmud is displayed and printed. This set made its way into the collection of Westminster Abbey, where Mr. Lunzer saw it, covered with dust, perhaps untouched for centuries. He ultimately acquired it in a trade, offering a 900-year-old copy of the Abbey’s original Charter. There is also a 12th-century scroll of the Hebrew Pentateuch that came from the Samaritans, a Jewish sect that still exists in Nablus on the West Bank, their ancient Hebrew script resembling inscriptions on archaeological finds rather than the letters that came to define mainstream Hebrew.
And there are manuscripts of almost voluptuous variety: a 19th-century copy of “A Thousand and One Nights” from Calcutta, its Arabic spelled out in Hebrew script; the first scientific work printed in Portugal in 1496 by Abraham Zacuto, a Jewish astrologer and mathematician; an early-20th-century manuscript from Pakistan with Hebrew and Marathi on facing pages — a guide for ritual slaughterers. Many volumes are prayer books or rabbinic commentaries, but seen here the collection becomes a reflection of almost doctrinal bibliophilia.
“Make books your companions” read the words of a 12th-century Spanish Jewish scholar, Judah Ibn Tibbon, translated on one gallery wall. “Let your bookshelves be your gardens.” Another gallery is inscribed with a blessing written by a Jewish scholar from 16th-century Prague, David Gans, that may be unique in the world’s religions: “Blessed be He… Who has magnified His grace with a great invention, one that is useful for all inhabitants of the world, there is none beside it, and nothing can equal it among all wisdoms and inventions since God created man on the earth: The Printing Press.”
We know of the printing press as a German invention, whose first use was the printing of a Bible by Johannes Gutenberg. But Jews were not allowed into German printing guilds, so they flourished in Italy, beginning in Rome in 1470 and then in other towns where licenses to publish Hebrew books were granted and revoked on the whim of local rulers. In Cremona, Hebrew printing lasted only about 10 years until the 1560s. Every one of the Hebrew books printed there in that era, Mr. Lunzer says, is represented here. But so close was Jewish devotion to the printing press and its progeny that in some places Jews were pioneers in its use. We are told that the first book ever printed in Turkey is here, a 1493 copy of Jacob ben Asher’s code of Jewish law, “Arba’ah Turim.” So too, the exhibition says, is the first book ever printed in Africa — a Hebrew book about prayer from 1516 Fez. Testifying to the migrations is a polyglot Pentateuch (1547), from Constantinople, its Spanish and Greek translations written using Hebrew script.
Whatever institution ends up purchasing this assemblage will acquire a resource that would now be impossible to buy piece by piece. The collection’s rarity is even more extreme because of the traumatic history that accompanied these books. The Talmud alone, for example, has been subject to the most extreme purges. These legal texts were confiscated in Paris in 1240, in 1509 in Germany and burned in Italy by papal decree in 1553. In Venice one observer saw more than 1,000 complete copies go up in flames.
Other Hebrew books were also systematically destroyed, though in Italy some were permitted to survive if passages judged blasphemous by the Roman Catholic Church were excised. A copy of one expurgated volume is displayed here.
“My age is upon me,” Mr. Lunzer apologizes when I meet him to look over some of his books; he takes my arm to walk among the displays. The collection is personal, a reflection of his tastes and ambitions. Hebrew books of the Americas, he explains, never interested him. And the volumes of other regions were collected only within what he calls “strict parameters,” bounded by the history of the various communities and their printers.
“Every one of these books I have held in my hands,” he says, as we pause over the earliest dated and illustrated edition of the Passover haggadah known to exist. It is from Prague, printed in 1526, and, Mr. Lunzer says, it made its way to him in London by first passing through Charleston, S.C. “They’re my friends,” he says. Will he miss them? “I’ll be happy if they are well kept and respected.” But each one, he says, could be printed only because of permission that was granted by others. “Every one of these books,” he says with bibliophilic compassion, “is crying its own tears.”