The earth shook for Arab society in 2011. We are conscious of one generation giving way to another. The regimes that have been overthrown or are on the defensive were moulded in the 1960s and 1970s. Autocratic governments have tried to control and manipulate culture and, through a combination of censorship and patronage, literature. But, reflecting the politics of the region, a newer generation of writers is emerging and the prescriptions and assumptions of the past have lost relevance.
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Perception is a weird thing. Lawrence Durrell saw Hydra as a ‘great horned toad’ but Henry Miller thought it resembled a ‘huge loaf of petrified bread’. Niko Ghika painted it as a series of neat white and orange squares.
The minimalist Fumio Sasaki 'confesses that as he began to purchase fewer consumer goods, his meals shrank in size. He decluttered and lost weight. Accumulation is not just an economic way of life but a form of embodiment too. Enlightenment is reduction.'
'The river’s desecration mirrors Colombia’s long history of violence: "for years we treated it like a sewer," says Ahmed, a survivor of a particularly brutal paramilitary massacre, "just like we treated each other".'
Patrick Wilcken on the Magdalena.