Today, the Ecuadorian government announced that it is granting political asylum to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Assange has spent the last two months living in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, seeking to avoid extradition to Sweden.
Meanwhile, the British Foreign Office is not only continuing to bar Assange from leaving the country (they claim their obligation is to extradite Assange to Sweden), but has also threatened to storm the Ecudorian embassy. "Under British law we can give them a week's notice before entering the premises and the embassy will no longer have diplomatic protection," said a Foreign Office spokesman. "But that decision has not yet been taken. We are not going to do this overnight. We want to stress that we want a diplomatically agreeable solution."
In response to these threats, Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino said simply, "We are not a British colony."
's new review of Artur Domosławksi's Ryszard Kapuściński: A Life
, Aaron Lake Smith calls the biography "sympathetic but investigative and critical." Referencing Domosławksi's controversial depiction of his mentor-turned-subject, Smith writes:
The lesson is to keep your heroes at a distance. The sheen they acquire rubs off under a too-close inspection of their lives. One could say that Domosławski's predicament as biographer is the stuff of fiction: admiring protégé sets out to write a sympathetic biography, uncovers unpleasant facts about his idol, damages the reputation of the man he hoped to immortalize.
The biography details the life and work of its legendary subject, but, as Smith acknowledges, it also analyzes journalism as a profession and its effects on Kapuściński's self-image:
Domosławski relates a telling anecdote that perhaps holds the key to Kapuściński's inferiority: In a conversation between Kapuściński and a successful poet, the poet remembered Kapuściński lowering his head and saying, "You are a poet in the Polish Writer's Union, but I'm just a journalist."
to read the review in full.
Derrick Morrison reviewed An Unfinished Revolution
, Robin Blackburn's latest book on the Civil War's impact on Marx and Marx's impact on America, in Solidarity's Against the Current
. Calling the book "a good read and an extraordinary handbook on the Civil War," Morrison analyzes Blackburn's account of the relationship between Abraham Lincoln and Karl Marx and of how "a war to 'preserve the Union,' a war to defend the Constitution, became a war for revolutionary democracy, a war to overturn the system of chattel slavery."
Visit Against the Current
to read the review in full.
In its latest issue, The Economist
calls Ryszard Kapuściński: A Life
, Artur Domosławski's definitive biography of one of the most influential journalists of the twentieth century, both "compelling and controversial." The review also praises Antonia Lloyd-Jones' translation, saying that it "makes the sweep and tone of Mr. Domosławski's Polish readable, without sacrificing its curious, to English eyes, use of the present tense and rhetorical questions."
recently published an excerpt from A New Kind of Bleak
, the forthcoming book from Owen Hatherley, author of A Guide to the New Ruins of Great Britain
. The excerpt, taken from Chapter Two of the book, analyzes and critiques the site of the upcoming 2012 London Olympics. "Next to all of this is a very large, Allford Hall Monaghan Morris-designed City Academy, so that wealthy parents don’t have to worry about their kids mixing with the most multiracial and multicultural place that has ever existed in human history. Who knows, they might have learned something," writes Hatherley of the poor urban planning used to design the site. He argues that rather than using the Olympics as an excuse to improve the city and its layout, the exact opposite has been done. As he explains:
What of the Olympic site itself? Everything is dominated by the ArcelorMittal Orbit, a shocking pink entrail laterally curved around an observation tower, famously commissioned by Boris Johnson in the toilets of a fundraising dinner from steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal, who provided the metal in return for the monument being named after him. There’s a faintly sick irony in this ex-industrial zone being overlooked by an edifice dedicated to a prolific downsizer and asset-stripper of factories, but that aside, there are buildings to enjoy, if you can keep from your mind the town-planning abortion that has been wreaked upon Stratford.
to read the excerpt in full.