Friday, June 1, 2012
Slavery, or: Naming the New World (global reading challenge #19)
naming the new world
the next book of the reading challenge leads from Africa to America - "Naming the New World" by Calvin Baker. i read the German version, which has the slightly different title: "Into the new world".
it's a book that is brief in size with 118 pages, yet spans 5 generations - npr described it as "an impressionistic view of the African-American journey", and the amazon book description is: " A multigenerational tale forms a portrait of a people's passage to a new world, following the voices, as one flows into the next, of six African Americans, beginning with Ampofo, who is brought as slave cargo to America."
it's an intense book, yet with all the characters that are part of it across the narrative and the chapters, and the jumps in generation, on one hand it keeps the reader from developing too deep a bond with a single character - on the other hand, it shows the painstaking dimension of slavery and racism over the different generations.
reading it also brought back the memory of Toni Morrisons "A Mercy" - a book i read in June 2010, which takes a mythical route to the theme. here's a quote that reverberates both books:
Florens would whisper, "Where is she now?"
"Still falling," Lina would answer, "she is falling forever."
Florens barely breathes. "And the eggs?" she asks.
"They hatch alone," says Lina
"Do they live?" Florens' whispering is urgent.
"We have," says Lina.
naming the 21st century slavery
slavery - on first sight, it seems a theme of the past. but just while reading Baker's book, a news came up, about the upcoming summer Olympics in London, and the potential human trafficking they cause: "Sex trafficking becomes cultural target at this year’s Summer Olympics in London: While we anticipate inspiring examples of athleticism at The Olympic Games, that same dedication will be needed by Olympic sponsors and London area hotels to ensure that trafficking and slavery is eradicated within their spheres of influence." (link)
the same goes for the upcoming European Soccer Championship in Poland and the Ukraine. it's painful to think that in our time, there are still slaves, right here in the middle of Europe. that there is a whole organized crime business based on it. (and logically, the counterpart amount of customers who manage to ignore this little basic human right's aspect and keep the business going.)
there also is a film i saw a while ago on this theme, partly it's also set in London - while looking for it, i arrived at this page, which leads around the world in a tragic way: 10 Human Trafficking Films to Watch
Global + European Reading Challenge & the world in books
In the read this year, i am taking part in a global and in an european reading challenge. the idea: to read books from each continent of the world / several countries of europe. here are the other books from the series: reading challenge
and here are 2 post on books and reading, seen from a global perspective: the world in 7 books (or: mapping our world by continents), and the other link is: 1 million books published, 9 books read, and 25% non-readers: book figures from around the world