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Showing posts from December, 2003
Earthquake Disasters Can Be Prevented


Dear Readers,

There are lessons to be learned from the devastating earthquake in Iran. There are steps to be taken by the nations that are situated in seismic active regions. Brian Tucker observes that in the past five years, similar earthquake occurred in Afghanistan, Turkey, India, El Salvador, Algeria and California. And there are huge differences noted from these episodes. “Since 1950, richer countries have reduced the average number of deaths per fatal tremor by 90 percent. Meanwhile, poorer countries have shown no reduction in death rates at all.” Poorer countries have either no or barely effective earthquake preventative measures taken protecting their citizens, and the poor of these poorer nations are the most vulnerable.

In 1990, Iran had earthquake that killed another 40,000 to 50,000 in the city of Gilan. "So why, despite the loss of 40,000 lives in the Gilan earthquake of 1990, had nothing been done? Fariba Hemati told the Guardi…
The Singing -- a Poem by C. K. Williams

The Singing

By C. K. Williams

I was walking home down a hill near our house on a balmy afternoon
under the blossoms
Of the pear trees that go flamboyantly mad here every spring with
their burgeoning forth

When a young man turned in from a corner singing no it was more of
a cadenced shouting
Most of which I couldn't catch I thought because the young man was
black speaking black

It didn't matter I could tell he was making his song up which pleased
me he was nice-looking
Husky dressed in some style of big pants obviously full of himself
hence his lyrical flowing over

We went along in the same direction then he noticed me there almost
beside him and "Big"
He shouted-sang "Big" and I thought how droll to have my height
incorporated in his song

So I smiled but the face of the young man showed nothing he looked
in fact pointedly away
And his song changed "I'm not a nice person" he chanted "I'm not
I'…
Ian McEwan: about Writing, Morality, Science and Love

Dear Readers,

Ian McEwan is one of the most talented writers of our time. His writings have that unforgettable quality of taking a reader right into his make-belief world, but would do so in the subtlety of reality. He is a superb storyteller.

The following is a transcript of an interview that was recorded by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation at the Edinburgh Festival in September 2002. More than a year old but still is a gem.

Regards,
Mahbubul Karim (Sohel)
December 29, 2003


One of the finest English writers alive, Ian McEwan speaks to Ramona Koval about writing, morality, science and love.


Ramona Koval:
Ian McEwan’s novels and stories have won the Somerset Maugham Award, the Whitbread Prize and the Booker Prize, and his latest book, Atonement, is widely regarded as his finest work. The early books contained sado-masochism, feral children, murder and incest, while Atonement deals with a writer’s attempts to put right a m…
Iran's Earthquake Disaster: "Test of Divine Grace"?


Dear Readers,

Iran’s earthquake disaster and the grim images of tearful mourning and sheer amount of destructions from the ancient city of Bam are appalling. Close to 40,000 Iranians perhaps died. And there are thousands and thousands of more severely injured fighting for their lives in makeshift hospitals since most of Bam’s hospitals are even destroyed from this awful earthquake.

Admirably, other nations and humanitarian organizations have come forward swiftly to help the devastated Iranians on these days of calamity. And the Iranian elected conservative government is doing its best in coordinating the disaster relief efforts. But the questions still remain: why the Iranian government did not take any early precautions, or any early efforts in avoiding this catastrophic disaster?

Would citing the bizarre message, like, “test of divine grace” for the deaths and injuries of so many poor Iranians be justifiable?

In a …
Jonathan Franzen’s The Corrections: a Book Review

By Mahbubul Karim (Sohel)
December 22, 2003


It reads like a family epic. The inner struggle, constant fighting against one’s loved ones for the elation of pure ego or life’s other mysterious force is presented in this marvelous American novel. The correction by Jonathan Franzen emits and bustles the everyday life of a family, tormented by nature’s gradual encroachment and the overwhelming feelings of helplessness from not being able to share and receive love with the beloveds.

Life has ups and down. Some are very successful in material life, some just cannot shed their life long dream, however impractical that seems to be for the rest of the world; and some finds the tragedy of this gone awry world is written on a farce. Perhaps, “life” is a “divine comedy”.

This is a story of a family: Alfred, the patriarch and Enid, the matriarch and their three emotionally wrecked grown up children, Gary, Chip and Denise.

Alfred is an executive e…
Stephen King's Speech at the National Book Awards


Stephen King
Winner of the 2003
DISTINGUISHED CONTRIBUTION TO AMERICAN LETTERS AWARD


Thank you very much. Thank you all. Thank you for the applause and thank you
for coming. I'm delighted to be here but, as I've said before in the last
five years, I'm delighted to be anywhere.

This isn't in my speech so don't take it out of my allotted time. There are
some people who have spoken out passionately about giving me this medal.
There are some people who think it's an extraordinarily bad idea. There have
been some people who have spoken out who think it's an extraordinarily good
idea. You know who you are and where you stand and most of you who are here
tonight are on my side. I'm glad for that. But I want to say it doesn't
matter in a sense which side you were on. The people who speak out, speak
out because they are passionate about the book, about the word, about the
page and, in that sense, we're…
Bearded Tyrant in a Taliban Hole

By Mahbubul Karim (Sohel)
December 17, 2003


The news of dictator in a hole and his disheveled face were shown in every news outlets. Saddam was found in a “rat hole”, chuckled the commenter in a posh media.

Saddam, the rugged dictator, scraggy beard exactly like Taliban, perhaps lice and vermin filled muddled hair and disoriented eyes, with burning spot on the side of his left brow.

Wow!

Saddam looked like a Taliban!

Albeit not the adoring Santa Clause!

He was given a tongue, teeth and overall a deep oral examination, with images of seemingly drowsy captured tyrant, the once powerful and feared man in the Arab world.

These images were potent. These images were purported to deflate the invincible symbol of pre-war mighty Saddam holding by many.

Perhaps many may think, quite naturally, that the victors are gloating, and parading the defeated enemy in the most humiliating way it can, even trespassing the sacred Geneva Convention that is supposedly …