Flicker from the shadows
Monday 21st January 2002,
Every day there seems to be a new proposal, announcement or interview suggesting not so much the resurrection of the Conservative party, more its total reinvention. Suddenly the Tories are on a roll. Their second humiliation at the polls in June suggested their exile from government would be extended. Their leadership election, which exposed deep-seated prejudices in the membership and vicious personal rivalries between the would-be leaders, presaged political extinction. Now they are back as a force rather than a farce.
The risk taker
Saturday 19th January 2002,
The teenage Susan Sontag was lying on her living room floor, book in hand, when her stepfather walked over with a warning. "Susan," he said, "if you keep on reading so much you'll never get married." It was just after the war, a time of economic affluence and cultural complacency in America, and from the backwater that was home on a dirt road in Tucson, Arizona, there could have been little evidence that Sontag's readings of Proust would come in handy in later life, let alone be attractive to the opposite sex.
Friday 18th January 2002,
On February 1 1960, four young black men walked into Woolworths in Greensboro, North Carolina, and demanded service at the whites-only counter. Independent of their elders and unconcerned by the prospect of imprisonment, they set the tone for a decade of protest and a fundamental shift in the consciousness of black Americans.
Is this justice?
Thursday 10th January 2002,
The stones can be as big as your fist. The method, says the attorney-general in Nigeria's Sokoto state, is up to the judge. "They will dig a pit, then they will put the convict in a way that she will not be able to escape, and then she will be stoned," says Aliyu Abubaker Sanyinna. "Another way is that she could be tied up against a tree or a pillar."
Not while racism exists
Had I been on my own, or in all-black company, I might have asked him where he learned this word and advised him not use it with strangers. But the smirks on the white faces either side of me suggested far more was at stake. He had not embarrassed me (I did not care what they thought of me) but he had compromised me. If it was left unchallenged, I would have to listen to racist people using racist language and justifying it with the pretext that a black man had said it first. A word that I usually encounter only when white people use it in hate mail was about to be sanitised for their casual delectation. That was not an indignity I was prepared to endure.