At Munther Fahmi’s small bookshop in East Jerusalem, Martina Quick, political counselor at the Swedish embassy to Israel, peruses a copy of Palestinian academic Sari Nusseibeh ’s autobiography “Once Upon A Country.”
The protests in Turkey, which now involve an extraordinarily diverse group of people, illuminate an altered political landscape. Yet much coverage of the demonstrations betrays an intellectual lag -- worse than the one that plagued many journalists and pundits when anti-Mubarak protesters filled Tahrir Square in 2011.
Writers including Nobel laureates Orhan Pamuk, Gunter Grass and Elfriede Jelinek sign letter urging Turkey to lift its ban on Twitter and YouTube. Letter published by NGO English Pen says: * “Free exchange of ideas is essential for democracy” * “Blanket ban on Twitter and YouTube comes in the aftermath of a regressive new internet law, and is an unacceptable violation of the right to freedom of speech” * “Turkey has a wide range of free expression issues, from criminal defamation to self-censorship within the mainstream media and from police violence against journalists to a narrowing sphere for freedom of expression on the internet” * NOTE: Turkey ranks 154th among 180 countries on the World Press Freedom Index * NOTE: Turkey Blocks YouTube After Leak of Planning for Syria Incursion * LINK: Letter on PEN’s website
The last time I had a rendezvous with Jeet Thayil 18 years ago at the Taj Hotel Mumbai, he never showed. When I finally caught up with him in Hong Kong recently and asked why he stood me up, his excuse was simple.
When writer William Dalrymple co- founded India’s Jaipur Literature Festival , he envisioned tweed- clad scholars parsing Nobel laureates’ works for students and bookworms. Now they’re doing it for executives and movie stars.