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    Book Review: Making Stones Weep
    Monday, December 25 @ 06:48:35 UTC
    Book ReviewBy Ron Jacobs
    December 24, 2006


    Susan Abulhawa's novel, Scar of David is a profoundly beautiful story. Set in Palestine, this novel transcends the particular history of the Palestinian people since their expulsion from their lands while simultaneously remaining firmly rooted in that experience. Inspired by sources and people as varied as Ghassan Kanafani's short story "Return to Haifa," Hanan Ashrawi and Edward Said, this is a story of a family in Palestine. It is not a sad story, but a painful one. To borrow the words of one of the story's characters, it is a "sweet pain." It is a pain tinged with memory and hope. And questions of why. A pain partially composed by soldiers who somehow find their human compassion underneath the lies, yet continue to fight the war in which they have some doubt. A pain that comes with standing up to resist your oppressor all the while knowing that the things that are most important to you--your family, your village, and your loves--will be ripped from you because you do stand up. A pain that also comes from knowing that these things may very well be ripped from your existence even if you do nothing.

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    Book Review: The Bebop of Baraka: A Review of Amiri Baraka's Tales of the Out & Gone
    Tuesday, December 19 @ 17:27:53 UTC
    Book Review by Ron Jacobs, opednews.com
    December 19, 2006


    Amiri Baraka has always played with the language and , by default, our minds. His poetry and his prose often reads and sounds like a jazz improvisation that Sun Ra and Coltrane could have created. Words become sounds and the sounds of the words take on meanings never before conceived. In terms of politics, Baraka's tales are about men and women who fought in the streets and about a politics that begins where every one else's end. Like Sun Ra, he understands the place of dark-hued people in the west to be akin to that of a brother from another planet. It's not because the brothers and sisters who don't have pink skin aren't human. It's because the pink-skinned ones treat them as if they weren't. Don't believe it? Look at the history, says Baraka. Then tell me it ain't true!

    He began as one of the only Blacks lumped in with the Beat movement in American writing. Still running with his Christian name of Leroi Jones, his poetry stung and each sting acknowledged the poison of racism. Two of his 1960s theater pieces, The Dutchman and The Slave, threw the misconceptions of white racism in the audience's faces--liberal or not. Like his then-named compatriots H. Rap Brown and Stokely Carmichael, Baraka threw the racist aspects of integration back in the liberal sociologist's face. Your education is better because it takes place in suburbia? Bullshit! Your god is better than mine now that you got him all blue-eyed and pink? Bullshit! It wasn't pretty, but it made the point better than and in spite of Thurgood Marshall and the NAACP.

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    Book Review: The Politics of Nature by Jeffrey St. Clair
    Friday, April 16 @ 23:08:50 UTC
    Book Reviewby Tracy McLellan

    Been Brown So Long It Looked Like Green to Me:
    The Politics of Nature
    by Jeffrey St. Clair; Common Courage Press, 2004, 408pp.


    For all the environmental havoc uncovered in these 56 essays it is miraculous we still have a planet and any clean air and water at all. St. Clair co-edits Counterpunch along with Alexander Cockburn. To get a sense of the dimensions of what we've lost, he says, you have to "get the feel of your fingers skimming over 800 grow rings on the stump of a Douglas fir," which is all that's left of ninety-five percent of the old growth forests of the Pacific Northwest. This book is a dire warning, the work of a singular investigative jounalist and master story-teller.

    In confronting environmental devastation, St. Clair counsels optimism and humor as the only indefatigable defenses against nihilism. He also suggests allowing solutions to overwhelming problems, like global warming and ozone depletion, to follow of their own accord from environmental battles that can be fought and won, rather than confronting them head-on.

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