comic book guy would approve…

August 22, 2009

Last week, the New York Times website had a small article about a comic book writer that is basing a new series on the current war in Uganda. It’s called Unknown Soldier, by Joshua Dysart.

What I found so compelling about this topic is that fact that Africa has been in various states of war for as long as I can remember; as of today, children are forced into lives as “soldiers”, and the Congo is the rape capital of the world…¬†yet our mainstream media never seems to cover it.

It also resonated with me since my father was in Uganda during the Idi Amin regime, and came a hair’s breath away from being shot in cold blood by soldiers at an impromptu checkpoint. Only some quick thinking kept him alive… he overheard that one of the soldiers had his name, Richard, and convinced the soldier that he would be haunted for the rest of his life.

This comic isn’t about super heroes, it’s about the harsh reality of life in a beautiful nation that seems to have lost it’s way. Check it out.

Filed under: Life — Kiru @ 11:51 am
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shameless plugging…

My father wrote a great fiction novel in ’04 that combines his 26 years of experience in various non-profits in Africa and the Middle East with, well, fictional events. It’s called Incident on the Termez Road. We recently set up a blog for him to generate more sales, called Murderer’s Odyssey, which can be checked out here. You can also check out an excerpt (PDF) from the novel here.

If you enjoy political action thrillers in the vein of Ludlum, etc., this is a very good read.  Incredibly topical, even though it was written 5 years ago. A little chilling, in fact, how little has changed in the world, as far as conflict and strife.

Filed under: Life — Kiru @ 11:41 am
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from the frontline

August 21, 2009

As I get older, and shed the sense of self-importance that is a part of youth, I realize that I’ve had a remarkable life. It wasn’t easy, or perfect, even though it took me a while to face those facts. And I tended to bitch about aspects of it for a while, until I realized that it was time to get over those parts of my life and move on.

All these experiences, good and bad, were the crucible that made me who I am, as an artist, and as a person.

Some memories that stand out, in no particular order:

A sunny morning in Morocco, the Beach Boys on the hi-fi, the smell of eggs cooking sunny side up. Tendrils of mint tea wafting in from outside with the breeze, as the front gate guards brewed a pot for themselves. Memories of a marketplace, me strapped to the back of our cook, smells of spices and baked goods, noise, the taste of hard candy in my mouth. The beach and huge waves, scraping tar off of our feet before getting in the car.

Vague memories of the Sahara desert when I was a little kid, my family with some friends packed into a VW bus, roaring along an empty road with a golden wall of sand bearing down on us, then finding shelter in a concrete bunker, me drinking Fanta, waiting for the sand storm to pass over us. Another one of an unsecured tent being blown down a gully we set up camp for the night. Eating lamb with Bedouins, the result of which gave me Typhoid fever. Hallucinatory images of an airfield as my parents rushed me to the nearest hospital, which was at a military base.

Seeing a thief get lynched in Lagos as I rode by on my Huffy BMX. Riding away very quickly. Waking up in the middle of the night to the smell of smoke, looking out the window to see a house two doors down on fire, as the owner, a corrupt official, tried to get rid of incriminating evidence. The start of another military coup in Nigeria. Crossing through police checkpoints on my way to school on Victoria Island in Lagos. The nightly ritual of locking up the house… 2 padlocks on the front door, then 2 on the metal door that lead up to our bedrooms. A ten foot high wall with spikes, flood lights, and day and night guards at the front gate. Lagos was a violent place back then.

Staying at a hotel in Rwanda, and giving the front desk a tape with Bob Marley’s Exodus” and “Uprising” on it. Soon hearing that tape looping in the lobby, the hotel restaurant and on the in-room radios… pretty damn cool. The disturbing thought that some of the friends I made there could have been killed during the genocide.

Walking through a bazaar in Damascus, Syria, wearing a “No Nukes” tee shirt with the US and USSR flags in a yin/yang design. Ahh, my days as a righteous Deadhead.

Filed under: Life — Kiru @ 2:54 pm
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…begin transmission

“Music is your own experience, your own thoughts, your wisdom. If you don’t live it, it won’t come out of your horn. They teach you there’s a boundary line to music. But, man, there’s no boundary line to art.” – Charlie Parker

“Music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosphy. Music is the electrical soil in which the spirit lives, thinks and invents.” – Ludwig van Beethoven

“If music be the food of love, play on: give me excess of it…” – William Shakespeare

“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything.” – Plato

“Music produces a kind of pleasure which human nature cannot do without.” – Confucius

“Music is your own experience, your own thoughts, your wisdom. If you don’t live it, it won’t come out of your horn. They teach you there’s a boundary line to music. But, man, there’s no boundary line to art.” – Charlie Parker
“Music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosphy. Music is the electrical soil in which the spirit lives, thinks and invents.” – Ludwig van Beethoven
“If music be the food of love, play on: give me excess of it…” – William Shakespeare
“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything.” – Plato
“Music produces a kind of pleasure which human nature cannot do without.” – Confucius
Filed under: Life — Kiru @ 10:12 am
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