Today's guest publication is Scanorama, the in-flight magazine of the SAS Scandinavian Airlines group. The April issue contains an article on the work of the Federation of Atheist, Rationalist and Humanist Associations in debunking some of the more outlandish claims of miracle workers across India.
Its a good read with fake blood, chicken gizzard and exposés of scandalous behaviour.
My favourite sentence:
Among the delegates I had hoped to meet was Pasala Bheemanna, a professor who had been abducted by Maoist guerrillas, but had then won his release by giving his captors classes in radical humanism.
Unfortunately, Scanorama only has an overview available online, but the same article can be read in full here.
More information on rationalist and humanist organisations in India ia available here.
This is the book I'm talking about. Here's why you should read it. 1. It's brilliant. 2. It won't take long if you're in a hurry. On the other hand, if you have time, it's a book to savour. 3. Isaac Bashevis Singer has said that Schulz "wrote sometimes like Kafka, sometimes like Proust, and at times succeeded in reaching depths that neither of them reached." 4. "Bruno Schulz was one of the great writers....[His] verbal art strikes us—stuns, even—with its overload of beauty."—John Updike
For some biographical background, read this. For more on how he managed to survive until 1942 in his home town (not a heroic story), go here. For the controversy over the relocation of his murals, read this.
I have always been reasonably comfortable as one of Stalin's rootless cosmopolitans. Now, however, I discover that I actually do have a natural home. In an interview on SABC TV a few days after the Zimbabwean election, one Robert G Mugabe, 81, explained the decline of the Zimbabwean economy thus:
Snuki Zikalala (interviewer): Mr President, let's move onto economy. During the Zanu PF campaign, one of the things that Zanu PF was saying was that GDP will grow by 3% - 5%. But the figures show that the GDP has dropped 30%. But how realistic is that?
Mugabe: We have two reasons for this. We have contractually had ties when factories started closing. One reason for this was the shortage of foreign currency. Another was a political reckoning. ... The liberation that SA was getting undermined in a sense, our economy here because certain of our communities, the European communities, the Jewish, thought now they could go home. For them, the Jews in our region, SA is their home, Johannesburg is their home and that was one reason.