Daily Archives: நவம்பர் 28, 2007

Blood and Belief: The PKK and the Kurdish Fight for Independence by Aliza Marcus

நன்றி & முழுவதும் படிக்க: எகனாமிஸ்ட் புத்தக விமர்சனம்

PKK: who are these indomitable fighters and what is their true goal?

Aliza Marcus, an American journalist who was put on trial in Turkey for her reporting on the Turkish army’s abuses against ordinary Kurds, charts the origins and evolution of the movement. Her scholarly, gripping account is based on interviews with, and the unpublished diaries of, former PKK militants.

With Syria’s blessing, the PKK sent its men and women into Lebanon’s Bekaa valley for training by Palestinian militants.

The group’s fortunes were even harder hit by the capture in 1999 of its leader, Abdullah Ocalan, by Turkish secret agents in Nairobi. His subsequent recanting—he called the rebellion “a mistake” and offered to “serve the Turkish state”—is well documented. But little is known about Mr Ocalan’s personal life and Ms Marcus helps to lift the veil shrouding a leader who used to shuttle between villas in Damascus and Aleppo while his fighters roughed it in the mountains. Deserters and dissidents would be summarily executed. Indeed Mr Ocalan did not hesitate to order the deaths of women and children if they were related to members of a stateemployed Kurdish militia that fought alongside the Turkish army.

it is plain that his leadership has become increasingly symbolic and that a new generation of hardliners is gaining the upper hand.

What is missing from Ms Marcus’s excellent reporting is the growing appeal of Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development (AK) party to Turkish Kurds. A mixture of social-welfare schemes and Islamic piety helped AK to trounce the biggest pro-PKK party in many of its former strongholds at the general election last July.

புத்தகத்தின் முன்னுரையில் இருந்து:

The small group of armed men and women grew into a tightly organized guerrilla force of some 15,000, with a 50,000-plus civilian militia in Turkey and tens of thousands of active backers in Europe. The war inside Turkey would leave close to 40,000 dead, result in human rights abuses on both sides, and draw in neighboring states Iran, Iraq, and Syria, which all sought to use the PKK for their own purposes.

The rebels had many reasons for returning to battle: it was a response to Ankara’s political inaction; it was a way to ensure that the PKK remained relevant and in control; and finally, there was Iraq to consider…the independent state that Kurds in Iraq, like many of those in Turkey, had long hoped for. And the PKK, once viewed as the dominant Kurdish group in the region, suddenly was afraid of slipping behind.

Turkey, where Kurds number some 15 million, making up about 20 percent of Turkey’s 70 million population.

The Kurds are the world’s largest stateless people.

The main reason was that when Kurds weren’t being killed by the thousands—as happened in Halabja—the West didn’t care. The Kurdish conflict seemed as remote as the region where they lived, a treacherous terrain intersected by the borders of Turkey, Iran, Iraq, and Syria. And the Kurds themselves were difficult to understand. Divided by borders, dialects, tribal loyalties, and blood feuds, it was easy to dismiss their uprisings as the machinations of gun-toting brigands suspicious of the central authority.

Cut to the Chase – Direct to Judgments



Book Selections by Boston Globe – 2007

Books and authors are always in the news, grabbing attention by telling stories, trumpeting trends, or offering enthusiastic advice. Sorting through this crowd can be like shopping on the day before Christmas: a madhouse where the items that get the most attention tend to be those that are most heavily marketed. Some books deserve the hype. But lots of good reads never get their well-earned praise. So once again this year, the Globe editorial page offers a necessarily quirky list of new books that caught our eye and fulfilled their promise to inform and delight. Happy holiday reading.

  1. Nixon and Mao: The Week that Changed the World – Margaret MacMillan
  2. : “I voted for you during your election,” Mao Tse-tung said facetiously at their historic meeting. “I like rightists.”

  3. Roland Merullo’s “Breakfast with Buddha
  4. Sin in the Second City: Madams, Ministers, Playboys, and the Battle for America’s Soul – Karen Abbott
  5. – Is it ever possible to “uplift” women through prostitution?

  6. The Abstinence Teacher” – Tom Perrotta
  7. The Uncommon Reader” – Alan Bennett
  8. Mark Lilla’s “The Stillborn God: Religion, Politics, and the Modern West
  9. – examines how Western concepts of God’s place in society evolved over time, spurred by the writings of men like Thomas Hobbes and Jean-Jacques Rousseau

  10. Ian McEwan’s “On Chesil Beach
  11. – Charting a couple’s first night as man and wife

  12. The Indian Clerk” – David Leavitt
  13. – true story of G.H. Hardy, a British academic who discovers a self-taught mathematician in Madras

  14. The Unknown Black Book: The Holocaust in the German-occupied Soviet Territories”
  15. – first-person accounts of the Nazi murders of more than 2 million Jews on Soviet territory

  16. Marvin Bell’s “Mars Being Red
  17. – collection of poetry

  18. Lynne Olson “Troublesome Young Men: The Rebels Who Brought Churchill to Power and Helped Save England”
  19. Plato and a Platypus Walk Into a Bar: Understanding Philosophy through Jokes”
  20. – Jokes to illustrate Immanuel Kant’s theory of knowledge

1. The 10 Best Books of 2007 – New York Times2. Books of the year 2007 | Pick of the bunch | Economist.com: “History, politics, music, business, biography, memoir, letters and fiction. There is something for everyone in this round-up of the year’s best books”

3. Review of the Year: Books – Telegraph: “BEST OF 2007: The Letters of Ted Hughes, ed by Christopher Reid (Faber, £30)
Astonishingly vital and generous, thrillingly written, scary, sympathetic, touching, bonkers. High-voltage stuff

WORST OF 2007: The Castle in the Forest, by Norman Mailer (Little, Brown, £9.99 pbk)
Jaw-droppingly bad. A-level Freudianism, the Devil, beekeeping, pederasty, Hitler. Mailer had surely lost his marbles by the time he wrote this. RIP”

4. 100 Notable Books of the Year – 2007 – New York Times

Economics: The Year in Books, 2007 – New York Times: “In my column this week, I call “Overtreated,” by Shannon Brownlee, the book of the year in economics. The column also mentions a few other books from 2007: “The Age of Turbulence,” by Alan Greenspan; “Falling Behind,” by Robert H. Frank; “Supercapitalism,” by Robert Reich; and “The Bottom Billion,” by Paul Collier.”

No. 1 Book, and It Offers Solutions – New York Times

5. The Globalist’s Best Books of 2007 by The Globalist – The Globalist > > Global Briefing:

1. Akbar Ahmed: Journey Into Islam
How were women instrumental to Islam’s development into a major world religion?

2. Jean Pfaelzer: Driven Out
What measures did the U.S. Congress implement against Chinese immigrants in the 19th century?

3. Pankaj Ghemawat: Redefining Global Strategy
Is the world economy as integrated as most people perceive it to be?

4. Paul Collier: The Bottom Billion
How can the world get the planet’s poorest one billion inhabitants on the path toward economic development?

5. Ray Takeyh: Hidden Iran
How was the United Kingdom complicit in undermining Iran’s budding democracy half a century ago?

6. Ayaan Hirsi Ali: Infidel
What makes this outspoken critic of Islam controversial enough to warrant threats to her life?

7. Edward Luce: In Spite of the Gods
What striking truth about India does a British reporter learn from a young Indian boy on a train ride to Delhi?

8. Sasha Issenberg: The Sushi Economy
What does the sushi industry reveal about globalized food culture and commerce?

9. Carl J. Schramm and Robert E. Litan: Good Capitalism Bad Capitalism
How can the United States harness the increasingly competitive global economy to its benefit?

10. Joseph Cirincione: Bomb Scare
How safe is the world from nuclear weapons?

6. Holiday Books: India – Books – Review – New York Times

  1. Melba Levick’s INDIA SUBLIME: Princely Palace Hotels of Rajasthan (Rizzoli, $65)
  2. Fredric Roberts’s HUMANITAS II: The People of Gujarat (Hylas Publishing/Abbeville, $60)
  3. Ketaki Sheth’s BOMBAY MIX: Street Photographs (Dewi Lewis/Sepia International, $45)
  4. THE MAJESTY OF MUGHAL DECORATION: The Art and Architecture of Islamic India (Thames & Hudson/Norton, $65) – George Michell
  5. AMRITA SHER-GIL: An Indian Artist Family of the Twentieth Century (Schirmer/Mosel/Prestel, paper, $49.95), by Deepak Ananth

More choices from Elsewhere

  1. Influencer: The Power to Change Anything
  2. Table of Contents
    Part One: The Power to Change Anything
    Choose Influence over Serenity

    1. You’re an Influencer
    A small group of remarkable leaders and scholars has been quietly changing the world by influencing people’s behavior. The skills they use offer everyone the potential to rapidly, dramatically and permanently improve their lives, organizations, and world.

    2. Find Vital Behaviors
    Big problems succumb to changes in just a few behaviors.

    3. Change the Way You Change Minds
    Changing behavior requires changing minds. Minds move more with stories and experiences than with facts and arguments.

    Part Two: Make Change Inevitable
    The Six Sources of Influence

    4. Make the Undesirable Desirable:
    Personal Motivation
    Overcome reluctance and resistance by connecting to moral imperatives..

    5. Surpass Your Limits:
    Personal Ability
    New behavior requires new skills. Over-invest in learning how to master skills and emotions.

    6. Harness Peer Pressure:
    Social Motivation
    Enlist leaders, partner with opinion leaders, and become an opinion leader yourself.

    7. Never Go It Alone:
    Social Ability
    Amplify influence through just-in-time teamwork.

    8. Design Rewards & Demand Accountability:
    Structural Motivation
    Modestly and intelligently reward early successes. Punish only when required.

    9. Change the Environment:
    Structural Ability
    Harness the pervasive and invisible power of environment to support new behavior.

    10. Become an Influencer
    Over-determine success by implementing multiple sources of influence.

    Book website: VitalSmarts – Influencer: The Power to Change Anything

  3. Grub: Elise Blackwell
  4. – Fiction

    Amid an assortment of scheming agents, editors, and hangers-on, each writer must negotiate the often competing demands of success and integrity, all while grappling with inner demons and the stabs of professional and personal jealousy. The question that nags at them is this: What is it to write a novel in the twenty-first century?

  5. Rogues, Writers & Whores: Dining With the Rich & Infamous: Daniel Rogov,Yael Hershberg
  6. To the true gourmet, art means Watteau’s Embarquement pour Cythere, which portrays 18th century courtiers picnicking, and Manet’s Dejeuner sur l’Herbe, in which one nude and another flimsily dressed woman picnic with two fully-clothed men. Literature means James Joyce’s short story, “The Dead”, the entire tale taking place around a sumptuously set table, and Ernest Hemingway’s lunch at Brasserie Lipp in A Moveable Feast.

    Throughout history, numerous famous and infamous men and women have contributed in their sometimes perverted but almost always intriguing ways to the world of gastronomy. The stories of those people, their culinary habits and the dishes either created by them, named after them or cherished by them, are the subject of this book. Kings and queens, dukes and duchesses, chefs and restaurateurs, novelists and composers, generals and courtesans–all have had dishes named after them.

  7. The Almost Moon: Novel: Alice Sebold
  8. Helen is coming to grips with a parable shared by her father when she was a girl. “I like to think your mother is almost whole,” he said. “So much in life is about almost, not quites.” “Like the moon,” Helen had responded.

    The whole moon is always there in front of us, although we cannot always see it in its entirety. Except on those nights when it is full, we can do no more than almost see it. So it is with Life. Our life and the lives of those around us are always there in front of us; however, we seldom see the fullness of Life. We almost see it, then it is gone.

    “When all is said and done, killing my mother came easily,” reads the first sentence. “When I was a teenager, I thought every kid spent sweaty summer afternoons in their bedrooms, daydreaming of cutting their mother up into little pieces and mailing them to parts unknown.” As the next twenty-four hours unfold, we see into the murky depths of her relationship with her mother, her father, her ex-husband, and her daughters. There is nothing there to make the reader connect and care about a single one of them, and we never fully understand what drove any of them.

  9. Mister Pip: Lloyd Jones
  10. SOME novelists write variations of the same book throughout their careers. Then there are writers of feral imagination — such as England’s Jim Crace, Tim Parks and James Hamilton-Paterson — who delight in confounding readers’ expectations: a book about a prehistoric storyteller might be followed by one about a modern office block, a novel about Elgar by a modern Tuscan farce.

    New Zealand’s Lloyd Jones belongs to this second group. While all but one of his previous five novels are set in his home country, their topics vary from Stalinism to the tango, small-town tourism and rugby.

    Mister Pip’s twists and turns, and use of Dickens’s novel, are ingenious. But it is hard to know what to make of it. So much rests on Jones’s tone, which is deceptively simple but accrues the uneasy ambiguity of Conrad’s stories. On the one hand, Mister Pip seems to be a love song to the enduring power of great writing. On the other, it is as insistent as a cultural studies student about readers’ powers to reinterpret texts. It invites sentiment yet gently mocks readers by exaggerating its own tropical colour. It teases us about the bona fides — and ultimate effect — of Mr Watts.

    Mister Pip is a post-colonial fable about reading that is as open-ended as a myth.

  11. The King of Colored Town: Darryl Wimberley
  12. There are good people and bad on both sides of the tracks that divide Laureate from ‘Colored Town’. Our instruction in that hard truth comes as we follow two African-American teens, Cilla Handsom and Joe Billy King, as they endure the backlash resulting from the integration of their segregated school with the all-white school run by Lafayette County’s all-white school board. The issue of the education of Laureate’s children will expose hatreds on both sides of the color divide. Cilla will emerge from her ordeal carrying scars and grace to become a widely traveled classical musician. Joe Billy will be found hanging from the bars of his cell in a Florida penitentiary. Their moving, intertwined dramas put courage, cowardice, loyalty and betrayal side by side in an eloquent, evocative narrative where the demons and angels of a time and place are portrayed in black and white.