URGENT MESSAGE FROM ACTIVIST IN EGYPT. PLEASE REPOST IF YOU CAN!

“To all the people of world”

Alicia Ali Marsden

To all the people of world

The people in Egypt are under governmental siege. Mubarak regime is banning Facebook, Twitter, and all other popular internet sites Now, the internet are completely blocked in Egypt. Tomorrow the government will block the 3 mobile phone network will be completely blocked.

And there is news that even the phone landlines will be cut tomorrow, to prevent any news agency from following what will happen.

Suez city is already under siege now. The government cut the water supply and electricity, people, including, children and elderly are suffering there now. The patients in hospitals cannot get urgent medical care. The injured protesters are lying in the streets and the riot police are preventing people from helping them. The families of the killed protesters cannot get the bodies of their sons to bury them. This picture is the same in north Saini (El-Sheikh zoyad city) and in western Egypt (Al-salom). The riot police is cracking down on protesters in Ismailia, Alexandria, Fayoum, Shbin Elkoum, and Cairo, the capital, in many neighborhoods across the city.

The government is preparing to crackdown on the protesters in all Egyptian cities. They are using tear gas bombs, rubber and plastic pullets, chemicals like dilutes mustard gas against protesters. Several protesters today have been killed when the armored vehicles of the riot police hit them. Officials in plain clothes carrying blades and knives used to intimidate protesters. Thugs deployed by the Egyptian Ministry of Interior are roaming the streets of Cairo, setting fire on car-wheels as means of black propaganda to demonize protesters and justify police beatings and state torture

All this has been taken place over the past three days during the peaceful demonstrations in Cairo and other cities. Now, with the suspicious silence of the local media and the lack of coverage from the international media, Mubarak and his gang are blocking all the channels that can tell the world about what is happening.

People who call for their freedom need your support and help. Will you give them a hand?

The activists are flooding the net (youtube and other sites) with thousands of pictures and videos showing the riot police firing on armless people. The police started to use ammunition against protesters. 15-year old girl has been injured and another 25 year old man has been shot in the mouth. While nothing of these has appeared in the media, there is more to happen tomorrow. Will you keep silent? Will you keep your mouth shut while seeing all these cruelty and inhumane actions?

We don’t ask for much, just broadcast what is happening.

[via allthebloodinmyveins.tumblr.com]

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2011 Reading Challenges

One of the better consequences of not having friends or a social life is the opportunity to do a lot of reading. With that in mind, I’ve spent some time the last couple of days exploring online reading challenges, usually hosted by book bloggers with an interest in a particular author or area of the world. Several of these challenges happily matched up with reading plans I already had, and the piles of books on my shelves and floor. So I’ve decided to embark on four challenges this year. If all goes according to plan, I’ll do reviews, or at least some notes, on each of these books here on the blog.

The South Asian Challenge 2011
Hosted by S. Krishna’s Books

This was the first challenge I decided to embark on. Initially I’m only going for the South Asian Explorer, which involves reading five books. If I can keep up the pace, I may strive for South Asian Guru at ten books. My choices will be drawn from this list (in no particular order).

William Dalrymple – Nine Lives: In Search of the Sacred in Modern India (reviewed here)
Salman Rushdie – Midnight’s Children
Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni – The Palace of Illusions
Jhumpa Lahiri – Unaccustomed Earth
Abraham Verghese – Cutting for Stone
Vikram Chandra – Red Earth and Pouring Rain
R.K. Narayan – The Guide
V.V. Ganeshananthan – Love Marriage
Amit Chaudhuri – The Immortals
Arundhati Roy – The God of Small Things
Mohammed Hanif – A Case of Exploding Mangoes

East and Southeast Asia Challenge
Hosted by Violet Crush

As this involves several different countries, I can combine my continuing efforts at getting to know something about Japanese and Chinese authors with a little preparation for the next exhibition at San Francisco’s Asian Art Museum, Bali: Art, Performance, Ritual, opening in February.

Yu Hua – Brothers
Chang-rae Lee – The Surrendered
Lisa See – Shanghai Girls
Peter Hessler – Country Driving: A Journey Through China from Farm to Factory
Wu Ch’eng-en – Monkey (Folk Novel of China)
Geoff Ryman – The King’s Last Song
Nancy Tingley – Arts of Ancient Viet Nam: From River Plain to Open Sea
Yoko Ogawa – Hotel Iris
Junichiro Tanizaki – Some Prefer Nettles
Colin McPhee – A House in Bali
Miguel Covarrubias – Island of Bali

Haruki Murakami Challenge
Hosted by murakamichallenge.blogspot.com

I’ve already read everything available in English by Murakami, one of my favorite writers. It was inevitable that I would be re-reading some of those books anyway, so this challenge is also relatively easy to take on. I’m aiming for the Toru level of five books. Four are currently available and on my shelf:

Hard-Boiled Wonderland and The End of the World
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle
Underground
Norwegian Wood (but only after seeing Tran Anh Hung’s film version, out soon)

Then I’ll leave one slot open for 1Q84, Murakami’s latest, the English translation of which is supposed to be appearing later this year.

2011 E-Book Reading Challenge
Hosted by The Ladybug Reads

As I’ve already run out of bookshelf space, I’m hoping that much of my book buying and reading this year will involve my Kindle. So I’m aiming for the Addicted level of twelve books. But I might surpass that if I’m good!

William Dalrymple – Nine Lives

William Dalrymple
Nine Lives: In Search of the Sacred in Modern Tibet
(2010, Knopf, 304 pages)

India, like China, is a country so big, and so enmeshed in rapid change, that it is hard to understand or assess for those of us far from it. That change, when it is addressed at all in our media, tends to be expressed in terms of huge statistics – millions of people, billions of dollars, and so on. But we just don’t often get the chance to understand this change on the individual human scale. Religion, which in India has been incredibly diverse for thousands of years, has its own complex role to play. But that role too is evolving.

William Dalrymple has written extensively about India in books like The Last Mughal (2006) and City of Djinns (1994). Nine Lives, his most recent book, is not a detailed analysis of the current state of Indian politics or economics, or even the role of religion in those spheres. Rather, it is a series of human snapshots of the collision between traditional, sometimes ancient religious ways and India’s rampant growth, modernization, and secularization.

The book opens with the story of Prasannamati Mataji, a middle class woman who embraced the life of a muni, or Jain ascetic, as a young teen. As she describes it, “This wandering life, with no material possessions, unlocks our souls. There is a wonderful sense of lightness, living each day as it comes, with no sense of ownership, no weight, no burden.” Personal religious practice in India can take a multitude of forms, some of them surprising. “’Before you drink from a skull,’ said Manisha Ma Bhairavi, ‘you must first find the right corpse.’” So begins Chapter 8’s portrait of Manisha, who lives in a cremation ground and practices Tantra, collecting skulls, worshiping them and evoking their power. Tantra, associated with yoga, magic, shamanism, and sexual rituals, is out of favor with the modernizing Indian government, partly due to some of its extreme practices. Read more

Paradjanov

I recently came across this video by Russian musician Artsava, an update of a traditional Armenian song, “Shushi.” While the song is quite fine, if the visuals — all taken from Sergei Paradjanov’s The Color of Pomegranates — don’t make you want to seek out some of this amazing filmmaker’s work, I’ll be very surprised. Kino put out a great boxed set a couple of years ago with Paradjanov’s Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors (1964), The Color of Pomegranates (1969), The Legend of Suram Fortress (1984), Ashik Kerib (1988, his last completed film), and a couple of documentaries and other features.  Paradjanov’s work is absolutely unique and highly recommended.