Monday, March 27, 2006

Time of the Writer 2006

This was an international writer's festival that took place at my university last week March 20 to 25, 2006. I had the chance to attend the Wednesday evening talk on Writers crossing borders. This evening started off with Dennis Brutus from South Africa, an activist now working at the University of Pittsburgh. If you want to hear the most passionate speech about struggle of apartheid from one who was arrested and incarcerated on Robben Island with the likes of Nelson Mandela and Govan Mbeki (Thabo Mbeki's father), keep your eye out for Mr. Brutus. He spoke about South Africa today, where he sees the "elite transition" of a minority ruling over the country... once being white South Africans, now being a small group of black South Africans. His thoughts are provocative is bluntly looking at a government which may have ended South Africa's apartheid in the early 90s, but has also introduced a new "global apartheid" of banks and corporations through the IMF/WB pushing for the repayment of the apartheid regime's debt. These are banks in London and New York which are asking for repayment by the people of South Africa for a government that used the money to purchase arms and weapons to see the death of its people. When Mr. Brutus stood before the Supreme Court in New York a few weeks ago for the reparations for the victims of apartheid, the government of South Africa stood before the same court and refused this case to move forward. How does a government decide to deny its people the compensation from an atrocious past? Amazing speaker and makes you question whether those who have fought for the struggle have actually ended up selling out at the end.

The other two writers Abdelkader Benali from Netherlands/Morocco and Patrice Nganang from Cameroon spoke about their new books related to their images of their past. Benali's book is about a young Moroccan boy growing up in Holland and Nganang's book about a Cameroon pub from the eye's of a dog. Interersting stuff!

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