I’ve built up a big pile of clips while dealing with the Big Canadian Issues of the Day. Let’s start thinning it out.
Sheldon Stern reports for the History News Network that more and more African politicians and educators are calling for an honest appraisal of Africa’s role in making the intercontinental slave trade possible. In some cases this has involved a strange twist on “white guilt”: i.e., contemporary Africans from poor countries apologizing for crimes against the ancestors of present-day middle-class American citizens:
In 2000, at an observance attended by delegates from several European countries and the United States, officials from Benin publicized President Mathieu Kerekou’s apology for his country’s role in “selling fellow Africans by the millions to white slave traders.” “We cry for forgiveness and reconciliation,” said Luc Gnacadja, Benin’s minister of environment and housing. Cyrille Oguin, Benin’s ambassador to the United States, acknowledged, “We share in the responsibility for this terrible human tragedy.”
As if Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf didn’t have enough problems, there’s a complicated constitutional argument going on over whether he has the right to campaign for re-election while wearing his military uniform. Dawn has the details.
The International Herald-Tribune has a piece on a new road being built by the Israeli government between Bethlehem and Ramallah. The idea behind the highway is to meet Israeli guarantees of territorial contiguity for the Palestinian West Bank—students of modern German history who studied the debate over the “Polish corridor” will understand the idea. But the Palestinian side of the road offers no access to East Jerusalem; it’s sealed off from a parallel road for Israeli users by a high concrete barrier. The IHT naturally devotes a great deal more space to the spluttering complaints of Palestinians and their supporters, who are having a near-essential condition of statehood supplied to them on Israeli-held territory at huge Israeli expense, than it does to the advocates and planners.
A pop group has convinced a Danish court to hand down a landmark decision preventing its record company, Sony BMG, from selling its records in downloadable digital formats without permission (presumably on a “moral right of the artist” basis relating to the quality with which the work is reproduced and presented, assuming that the original contract was otherwise ironclad). The Copenhagen Post says “the decision will probably have global consequences”. So what high-powered, legendary act was responsible for this added nail in the coffin of the record industry, you ask? That would be Dodo and The Dodos. “Dodo and the Dodos never achieved any international recognition, and the band’s songs are all sung in Danish,” we learn from the article. “The band’s biggest hit was ‘Vågner i natten’ (‘Waking in the Night’) from their self-titled debut album released in 1987. The band has sold an estimated 1.5 million records and ranks as one of Denmark’s best-selling bands of all time.”
Finally and most importantly, don’t miss Too Many Tristans’ roundup of the “greatest” classical CD covers ever. If your highest ambition in life is to see Placido Domingo’s head being devoured by a mysterious black ellipse, as it has been mine, prepare for nirvana.