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In his first days as the newly minted White House communications director, Anthony Scaramucci has spent some time deleting old tweets that don’t align with his new boss’s views.

During an interview on Fox News Sunday, host Chris Wallace said it was an understandable move, and pulled up a 2012 tweet in which Scaramucci advocated for tougher gun control laws.

“We (the USA) has 5% of the world’s population but 50% o f the world’s guns,” the tweet in question said. “Enough is enough. It is just common sense to apply more controls.”

Wallace reminded Scaramucci that “all this stuff lives forever,” and asked if he still believed that.

“Well, OK, so the answer to the question, and I’m a pro-Second Amendment person. My dad was a hunter, I’ve got no problem with that,” Scaramucci said. “What I was worried about in 2012, in urban centers, if you don’t have a little level of gun control, it could lead to more violence.”

Scaramucci then reiterated that he deleted his old tweets because they were a “total distraction.”

“When I made the decision to take this job, my politics and my political ideas do not matter at all,” he said. “What matters is that I am supporting — subordinating all of that to the president’s agenda.”

The new communications director first announced on Saturday that he would be deleting his previous tweets. “Full transparency: I’m deleting old tweets. Past views evolved & shouldn’t be a distraction. I serve @POTUS agenda & that’s all that matters,” Scaramucci tweeted.

The tweets

But Twitter users posted several screenshots of Scaramucci’s old tweets to preserve them even after they were deleted, and observed how at odds they were with many of President Donald Trump’s views:

In one tweet, Scaramucci said in reply to a user who said Hillary Clinton might be “in play” for the 2016 election: “I hope she runs, she is incredibly competent.”

In January 2016 — shortly after candidate Trump proposed banning all Muslims from entering the US — Scaramucci tweeted, “‘It is a fight within Islam, overwhelming majority see Islam as a religion of peace, want to live in multiracial/ethnic/faith democracies’.”

Scaramucci also slammed climate change skeptics in 2016. “You can take steps to combat climate change without crippling the economy. The fact many people still believe CC is a hoax is disheartening,” he said in a tweet that has since been deleted.

Trump has frequently cast doubt on the scientific consensus that anthropogenic climate change contributes to environmental depletion and poses a risk to human health. Trump has referred to climate change as a Chinese “hoax,” and in June, he announced he would pull the US out of the landmark Paris climate agreement.

In October 2015, Scaramucci threw his support behind Republican presidential contender Jeb Bush, whom Trump often slammed as “low energy.”

“Big number for @JebBush people just need to get to know him. Will make a great President,” Scaramucci tweeted.

In another 2015 tweet, Scaramucci picked apart Trump’s key campaign proposal for a border wall along the southern border between the US and Mexico. “Walls don’t work. Never have never will. The Berlin Wall 1961-1989 don’t fall for it,” Scaramucci tweeted.

Since being named communications director, Scaramucci has walked back his previous statements and apologized, in particular, for a 2015 Fox Business Network interview in which he called then-candidate Trump a “hack politician.”

He addressed the comment with Wallace on Sunday, explaining that they’re “both New Yorkers,” and during his first briefing on Friday, he said he regretted saying it.

Scaramucci added: “Mr. President, if you’re listening, I personally apologize for the 50th time for saying that.”

anthony scaramucci fox news sunday.JPG Anthony Scaramucci made his debut as the new communications head on Friday. Fox News Sunday/Screenshot

In his first days as the newly minted White House communications director, Anthony Scaramucci has spent some time deleting old tweets that don’t align with his new boss’s views.

During an interview on Fox News Sunday, host Chris Wallace said it was an understandable move, and pulled up a 2012 tweet in which Scaramucci advocated for tougher gun control laws.

“We (the USA) has 5% of the world’s population but 50% o f the world’s guns,” the tweet in question said. “Enough is enough. It is just common sense to apply more controls.”

Wallace reminded Scaramucci that “all this stuff lives forever,” and asked if he still believed that.

“Well, OK, so the answer to the question, and I’m a pro-Second Amendment person. My dad was a hunter, I’ve got no problem with that,” Scaramucci said. “What I was worried about in 2012, in urban centers, if you don’t have a little level of gun control, it could lead to more violence.”

Scaramucci then reiterated that he deleted his old tweets because they were a “total distraction.”

“When I made the decision to take this job, my politics and my political ideas do not matter at all,” he said. “What matters is that I am supporting — subordinating all of that to the president’s agenda.”

The new communications director first announced on Saturday that he would be deleting his previous tweets. “Full transparency: I’m deleting old tweets. Past views evolved & shouldn’t be a distraction. I serve @POTUS agenda & that’s all that matters,” Scaramucci tweeted.

The tweets

But Twitter users posted several screenshots of Scaramucci’s old tweets to preserve them even after they were deleted, and observed how at odds they were with many of President Donald Trump’s views:

In one tweet, Scaramucci said in reply to a user who said Hillary Clinton might be “in play” for the 2016 election: “I hope she runs, she is incredibly competent.”

In January 2016 — shortly after candidate Trump proposed banning all Muslims from entering the US — Scaramucci tweeted, “‘It is a fight within Islam, overwhelming majority see Islam as a religion of peace, want to live in multiracial/ethnic/faith democracies’.”

Scaramucci also slammed climate change skeptics in 2016. “You can take steps to combat climate change without crippling the economy. The fact many people still believe CC is a hoax is disheartening,” he said in a tweet that has since been deleted.

Trump has frequently cast doubt on the scientific consensus that anthropogenic climate change contributes to environmental depletion and poses a risk to human health. Trump has referred to climate change as a Chinese “hoax,” and in June, he announced he would pull the US out of the landmark Paris climate agreement.

In October 2015, Scaramucci threw his support behind Republican presidential contender Jeb Bush, whom Trump often slammed as “low energy.”

“Big number for @JebBush people just need to get to know him. Will make a great President,” Scaramucci tweeted.

In another 2015 tweet, Scaramucci picked apart Trump’s key campaign proposal for a border wall along the southern border between the US and Mexico. “Walls don’t work. Never have never will. The Berlin Wall 1961-1989 don’t fall for it,” Scaramucci tweeted.

Since being named communications director, Scaramucci has walked back his previous statements and apologized, in particular, for a 2015 Fox Business Network interview in which he called then-candidate Trump a “hack politician.”

He addressed the comment with Wallace on Sunday, explaining that they’re “both New Yorkers,” and during his first briefing on Friday, he said he regretted saying it.

Scaramucci added: “Mr. President, if you’re listening, I personally apologize for the 50th time for saying that.”

WASHINGTON ― Here’s something you may not know about President Donald Trump’s new communications director, Anthony Scaramucci: He’s an ardent supporter of gun control.

Scaramucci, a businessman and longtime Trump ally, has tweeted for years about his support for tighter gun laws, stating in 2012, “I have always been for strong gun control laws.” He’s also made the point that keeping a gun in your house is more likely to harm you or your loved ones than a potential intruder (which is true).

His views are not sitting well with Dana Loesch, the national spokeswoman for the National Rifle Association. On Friday, just as news was breaking about Scaramucci’s hiring, Loesch tweeted that Trump had made a “concerning” choice in Scaramucci since he has “a contrary position” to the president on gun rights. The tweet was later taken down.

Here’s a screenshot of the now-deleted tweet, compliments of Wayback Machine, a digital archive of the web.

Twitter

Loesch is suggesting that Scaramucci’s presence in the White House could complicate the NRA’s effort to advance its No. 1 legislative priority: national concealed carry reciprocity, which would require states that issue permits for concealed weapons to also recognize such permits from other states. Trump has publicly supported this policy.

Jennifer Baker, another NRA spokeswoman, told HuffPost that Loesch was only speaking for herself when she questioned Scaramucci’s views.

“Dana Loesch was not speaking on behalf of the National Rifle Association when she commented on recent White House personnel decisions,” she said.

Asked if the NRA does, then, have an official position on Trump hiring Scaramucci, Baker said only, “No.”

A White House spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment on Trump’s and Scaramucci’s different views on gun safety.

Though her original tweet is deleted, Loesch tweeted out a few more thoughts about her concerns with Scaramucci.

HuffPost tweeted at Loesch and asked why she deleted her original, more critical tweet. She tweeted back that her tweets felt “redundant” and asked if it is “illegal” to delete a tweet. (It is not.)

Loesch, whose Twitter bio states that she is the NRA’s spokeswoman, did not respond when asked about the comment from Baker, the other NRA spokeswoman, that Loesch was not speaking for the NRA in her tweets.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the issue, Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, said Scaramucci could be a much-needed voice of reason in the White House.

“A vast majority of Americans ― including gun owners, NRA members and Republicans ― overwhelmingly support common-sense gun laws,” said Watts. “While NRA leaders may have a seat at the table in Trump’s White House, there are millions of Americans standing on the side of gun safety, possibly including the new White House Communications Director.”

Who was that guy who called Donald Trump a “hack politician”? Some fake news media rat? Oh no, it was the president’s new message man, back when he was off-message.

Some of Anthony Scaramucci’s past words:

—In an August 2015 appearance on Fox Business Network, Scaramucci called Trump a “hack politician.” Asked Friday whether Trump was aware of the comment, Scaramucci joked to reporters that the president mentions it every 15 seconds and called it one of his “biggest mistakes.” He then looked into the cameras and said: “Mr. President, if you’re listening, I personally apologize for the 50th time for saying that.”

—Gun control advocates were happy to share Scaramucci’s past tweets in support of stronger gun laws. Shannon Watts, of Moms Demand Action, tweeted that some of those posts were being deleted “but the Internet is forever, Anthony Scaramucci.” She revived this Scaramucci post from August 2012: “We (the USA) has 5% of the world’s population but 50% of the world’s guns. Enough is enough. It is just common sense it apply more controls.” Trump opposes tough gun laws.

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—Internet historians and Democrats also recirculated a May 2016 tweet in which Scaramucci addressed climate change and wrote that “the fact many people still believe CC is a hoax is disheartening.” Trump himself has at times labeled global warming a hoax.

O.J. Simpson, 70, appears in court for his parole hearing on July 20, 2017. (CNN Wire)

LOVELOCK, Nev. — O.J. Simpson was granted parole Thursday, after serving nearly nine years in prison for a 2007 armed robbery in Las Vegas. But the former NFL superstar and movie actor’s future outside of prison may not be so rosy.

Life outside the Lovelock Correctional Facility, a medium security prison in Nevada’s high desert, could well resemble Simpson’s solitary years after he was acquitted in the slayings of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ron Goldman, CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin said Thursday.

“I think it will be a lot like life was between 1995 and 2007,” Toobin said. “He was really a pariah. His old life was gone — celebrity pitchman, sportscaster, actor, all gone.”

So what’s next for the 70-year-old, who was known as the “Juice” during his football heyday?

When will Simpson go free?

The next chapter in Simpson’s life could begin as soon as October, the earliest time he could be released, according to David Smith, a spokesman for the Nevada Board of Parole Commissioners.

What will Simpson do?

One option for Simpson, Toobin said, would be to return to a life of memorabilia sales and autograph signings.

“I think it will be a pretty seedy existence,” Toobin said. “He’ll be trying to make money off what’s left of his fame. It’s mostly infamy, not fame.”

Simpson’s involvement in the world of memorabilia sales was what got him a nine-to-33-year sentence for his role in a 2007 incident that unfolded in a Las Vegas hotel room.

Simpson and armed associates allegedly confronted two memorabilia dealers and took pieces of memorabilia from them.

The “Juice” was convicted on charges including kidnapping, armed robbery and assault with a deadly weapon.

The former college and pro football star said at his sentencing that he was trying to reclaim family heirlooms and other personal items that had been stolen from him, and claimed that he was unaware his associates were carrying guns.

What skills has Simpson gained behind bars?

At his parole hearing Thursday, Simpson said that he is a Baptist, and that a few other inmates asked him to help create Lovelock’s first Baptist service.

“I worked with them,” he said. “We now have an ongoing Baptist service that … is well attended. I attend it religiously, and pun is intended.”

“I was always a good guy but could have been a better Christian and my commitment to change is to be a better Christian,” he added.

Simpson also said he recently became commissioner of the 18-team softball league.

“My primary responsibility was rules enforcement and, you know, player comportment,” he said, adding that he decided on removing players from games and suspensions. “I never got any blow back from the guys because they know how to act. I’ve done the best I can and just trying to keep them out of trouble. So my agenda was full here. I’ve been active totally active for as long … I’ve been here. I don’t have much time to sit around and do anything.”

He also completed a number of courses, he said, including one entitled “Alternative to Violence.” “I think it’s the most important course anybody in this prison can take, because it teaches you how to deal with conflict, through conversation,” Simpson said.

“I have been asked many, many times here to mediate conflicts between individuals and groups,” he said. “And it gave me so many tools on how to use it, that you … try to walk these guys through. Not throwing punches at one another.”

O.J. Simpson, the blogger?

Simpson said he completed a computer course that has helped him stay in touch with his four children.

“I took a computer course here not because I was computer illiterate, but I took the computer course because … sometimes I could never get my kids on the phone,” he said. “But if you text them or send something to them on the computer you can get them.”

In June 1967, Simpson, then 19 years old, married his 18-year-old high school sweetheart, Marguerite Whitley. The couple had three children, Arnelle, Jason and Aaren. Aaren drowned in the family swimming pool just before her second birthday in 1979.

Simpson and Brown married in 1985 and had two children, daughter Sydney and son Justin.

In a letter to a friend — which was read in court — Simpson wrote, “Who knows, you may even see a webcast/blog in my future.”

How much is Simpson’s NFL pension worth?

Simpson stands to do better than most who have just been released from prison.

The NFL won’t say how much he’ll get from his NFL pension, and it’s hard to estimate without knowing some key details, such as when he decided to start collecting benefits. But according to the NFL benefits formula, if Simpson waited until age 65 to start drawing his pension, he could receive as much as $100,680 a year — and could have amassed more than $500,000 during the time he was in prison.

If he started at age 55, he would have accumulated $566,000 in benefits up until now, but he’d only get about $47,000 a year going forward.

Simpson also reportedly has made $5 million in contributions to a retirement plan run by the Screen Actor’s Guild, according to USA Today.

Were families of Ron Goldman and Nicole Brown ever compensated?

Simpson was found liable in a 1996 civil trial for the deaths of Goldman and Brown-Simpson, and was ordered to pay $33.5 million in damages — more money than he had. Most of that money has never been collected.

He moved to Florida, where state law prevented his pension and home from being seized to pay the damages. Simpson’s Heisman Trophy was ordered sold and brought in $230,000.

Where will Simpson go?

Simpson told the parole panel that he will likely return to Florida.

“I could stay in Nevada but I don’t think you guys want me here,” he joked.

Simpsons’ friend, Ozzie Fumo, a lawyer and Nevada state legislator, told CNN affiliate KLAS-TV that the former running back is “looking forward to the future.”

“He’s a better person than what a lot of people, you know, think he is,” Fumo said. “He’s not going to be golfing everyday. I think the physical part has really taken a toll on his life.”

Toobin predicted that Simpson will return to Florida, where bankruptcy laws will enable him to protect his assets from the Goldman family, and that he will likely continue to surround himself seedy figures from the memorabilia world.

“It’s a far cry from the old life in Brentwood, but it’s a hell of a lot better than being in Lovelock prison,” he said.

“He is a deeply delusional and self-obsessed narcissist, and, you know, good luck to America once he’s out,” Toobin said.

The Bradenton Police Department is doing its part to make sure guns are out of the reach of children.

By teaming up with Project ChildSafe, a firearms education advocacy group, the police department will provide free chain locks for any owner who comes into the police station to ask for one.

“We’re always encouraging gun safety and this is just an added, extra step to help out (gun) owners who can’t afford it or just want one,” said police spokesman Lt. Brian Thiers. He added that parents should educate their loved ones about firearms.

No registration is required to get a chain lock, but they should not be used to secure bikes or any other equipment, the police department said.

One U.S. child died every other day in 2015 because of an accidental shooting, according to a joint investigation by the Associated Press and the USA Today Network.

Just last month in Bradenton, 12-year-old Abraham Luna was accidentally shot by his 13-year-old brother. Police are still investigating the incident.

“Obviously, (this incident) brings to the forefront the thought of gun safety,” Thiers said.

The Charlie Hebdo attacks sparked mass outpourings on social media of the phrase “Je suis Charlie” and condemnation of the attackers – yet terrorism in the Middle East claims many more lives and receives no media coverage. Courtesy Photo.

Making sense of the similarities and differences of Anglo-American politics

By Tom Williams

I feel that as a Millennial, trying to find your own opinions in politics is less possible than ever. My Facebook feed is full of propaganda, more than you’ll find in any newspaper, usually in favour of the opposition Labour party of the UK. It’s all put there by friends, people I know and trust, people who just want to be good people and do what’s right. Yet, a crucial problem, I think, is that because of their age they are more tempted to ask, “What will the government do to provide for me and everyone I care about?” rather than “what does the government need to do for the country?” A good example of this was the Labour party’s unfeasible promise to scrap university tuition fees during the last general election.

This slightly selfish rise in idealistic left-wing politics is just one of the similarities I have noticed between the politics of the UK and the USA during my brief stay – many of the criticisms aimed at the Labour party would have been familiar to Bernie Sanders. While both UK and US are under conservative authority, during my visit to the US, I am slowly understanding that both countries have different definitions of acceptable conservatism. As a result, I am starting to question many previously-held beliefs. The problem for me as a Millennial is that my Left-leaning friends always feel that they have the moral high-ground, and so cannot help but dismiss my arguments immediately. It’s not their fault – they have been taught by socialist teachers that the Left is the side of empathy and benevolence; they only want to do the right thing. It’s not their fault, but it’s also frustrating.

A fine example of this moral bias in an argument is gun control. When I first visited this country, I could not believe that the government’s policy was not “guns are obviously dangerous, therefore you can’t have them.” After all, this is the level of control and influence I’ve come to expect back home – it’s sold to us as being the morally right thing to do. It seemed utterly absurd to me that the US did not take a similar stance, particularly given the difficulty one has merely entering the US in the first place.

Having been in this country for an extended period of time, however, I’m now not so sure if the government has the right to interfere to the extent it does back home, all in the name of safety. Millennials will immediately jump at my throat: “So you’re saying you think it’s okay for children to own guns? What about school shootings?” Of course I don’t; I’m not an idiot. Yet, perhaps the state doesn’t have the right to interfere in the private lives of its citizens as much as it wants. The United States government outlawing gun ownership for the sake of safety would only be a few short steps from a worrying promise made in the recent manifesto of the UK Conservative government during the last general election, proposing all internet accessibility and content be controlled by the government in order to combat the threat of terrorism. Sacrificing one’s personal power for the sake of safety is commonly said to be the most visible path to autocratic government.

This trend of governments demanding the surrender of privacy goes hand-in-hand with demands for nationalism and security. Both governments use militaristic rhetoric – the UK is “besieged” by terrorism; the US is being “choked” by drug crime. It’s the autocratic language of fear, and with every terror attack on London or Paris, white Europeans retaliate against the innocent – mosques are burned, hit-and-run attacks are carried out, hijabs are forcibly removed. In the US, Black and Mexican people are subjected to police brutality in a “war on drugs.”

What never made sense to me was that it’s perfectly obvious that these people suffer from the problems we believe them to cause; Hispanics and Black people suffer from gang warfare and drug cultures much more than white Americans do, and Muslim people are slaughtered in droves by ISIS in the Middle East.

While it may appear we are in the midst of active popular racism, the reality is something far more subversive: a quiet underlying willingness to accept scapegoats. In times of relative socio-economic prosperity for one demographic, there occurs a subconscious unwillingness to see people of another demographic (of a specific race or religion, for example) achieve the same success.

“XYZ are coming over here and taking our jobs.” Sound familiar? This is not born of an active hatred but a jealous resentment and fear of being overtaken. Most of the time these feelings are expressed in unacceptable racist acts, but it’s all-too convenient to simply label people as racist and not ask why.


(EMAILWIRE.COM, July 18, 2017 ) Stun guns or conducted electrical weapons (CEWs) are used for incapacitating a potential suspect. Such weapons deliver electric shocks with the purpose of disrupting the muscle functions without causing substantial damage to the suspect who could be a threat to law and order. These stun guns are used to control violent situations involving civilians, as well as in scenarios where the use of lethal weapons is discouraged, or where policy limits employment of conventional force.

Publisher’s analysts forecast the global stun gun market to grow at a CAGR of 7.92% during the period 2017-2021.
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Covered in this report
The report covers the present scenario and the growth prospects of the global thoracic surgery market for 2017-2021. To calculate the market size, the report considers the revenue generated in the overall market from the sale of stun guns to the law enforcement agencies and civilians.

The market is divided into the following segments based on geography:
-Americas
-APAC
-EMEA

Publisher’s report, Global Stun Gun Market 2017-2021, has been prepared based on an in-depth market analysis with inputs from industry experts. The report covers the market landscape and its growth prospects over the coming years. The report also includes a discussion of the key vendors operating in this market.

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-Euro Security Products
-MARCH
-Nova Security
-Shyh Sing Enterprise
-TASER International

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Other prominent vendors
-Jiun-An Technology
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Market driver
-Increased riots and protests in urban areas
-For a full, detailed list, view our report

Market challenge
-Unauthorized possession and illicit trafficking of stun guns
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Market trend
-Greater focus on individual self-defense
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I was too much in love to worry about politics, but poetry became part of my life, with fragments from Hindi film songs and the Romantic poetry emanating from the Lake District…

This is an edited version of a key-note talk given at the international Writers Celebration confer­ence at the Wee Kim Wee Creative Centre, Singa­pore Management University, on Thursday, April 27, 2017.

Exactly 40 years ago, in Brisbane, I gave a keynote paper as we set up the South Pacific Association of Commonwealth Literature and Language Studies (SPACLALS) – a branch of the world body, the Association of Commonwealth Literature and Language Studies (ACLALS), the largest association that concentrates on the study of Literatures in English, with a dozen regional branches world-wide, including in Europe and the USA.

How deeply ‘Commonwealth Literature’ has enriched my life of the mind and imagination only I know. It has taken me to many parts of the literary world’s richest treasures and meetings with writers, scholars, and readers who gave us such a varied and fabulous visions of their so­cieties one had seen as red spaces on the world map on a black board during one’s secondary school days.

My talk at the University of Queensland was ti­tled – Beyond Colonialism: The Artist as a Healer.

In that paper, I had briefly looked at three writ­ers from three different world experiences: Pat­rick White, Vidia Naipaul and Wole Soyinka. I had tried to read and understand how these writers, all part of the colonial-postcolonial uni­verse, so broken into bits by arrivals and depar­tures, not to mention deportees, attempted to resolve the enigma.

In that broken mirror we tried to see our own faces and features.

How do writers help us to cope with that bro­kenness of life–the life around us today is not much different, if we can imagine that other world around us.

And that otherness is created through the life of literary characters as Shakespeare so su­premely did in his plays; and many a political leader attempts to embrace this otherness in their vision for good and ill.

Writing and politics

I’ve some idea of the hurts of history and poli­tics: I studied in the shadows of Pundit Jawaha­rlal Nehru and in the receding echoes of those three pistol-shots that killed Mahatma Gandhi on January 30, 1948, in the ruins and relics of imperial Delhi, soon after the subcontinent was so brutally vivisected with imperial connivance and authority.

In the last years of the 1950s and early 1960s, my stay in Delhi was tinged with Pundit Nehru’s writings.

Virtually every speech he delivered was fully reported in the then great dailies of India. In­dia was briefly the centre of the post-independ­ence world.

Nehru was both a writer and a politician– Clement Atlee called him ‘a poet in politics’ ; Winston Churchill said ‘Nehru had no bitter­ness him’, though he spent more than a decade in prison under the Raj.

I was too much in love to worry about politics, but poetry became part of my life, with frag­ments from Hindi film songs and the Romantic poetry emanating from the Lake District, taught with tandoori passion in the heat and dust of Delhi.

Outside the classrooms, as the dust-storms of Delhi raged, one was taught the healing powers of nature–although one hardly saw much of na­ture’s beauty in Delhi’s over-crowded, cobbled streets; except on the stony ridge of Delhi Uni­versity campus where peacocks danced after a drizzle, and monkeys swung from green trees above the black, wet boulders.

‘Doctor Zhivago’

It was here, on April 27, 1959, I was given a copy of Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak, trans­lated by Max Hayward and Manya Harari: the book was bought from Mehta Bros, Booksellers, 39, University Avenue, Bungalow Road, Jawahar Nagar, Delhi. The dates and details are impor­tant to me.

When you go through five coups, you lose your library first; and that loss is especially felt as you’re ageing; but somehow this volume has remained with me over the years in my many migrations. I’ve carried it in my suitcases as one carries a few precious gifts that remain. And, therefore, I remember the details of the book­shop.

It’s in Doctor Zhivago that I read perhaps the most fundamental power of literature and the brutal, corrosive influence of a certain kind of politics. There’s a scene in the novel that is worth quoting in full.

Yury Zhivago’s love, Lara, and their daughter Katya, are fast asleep on snow-white, starched pillows; Zhivago is revising and rewriting his poems; the splendour of the frosty, moonlit night is inexpressible as snowfields stretch endlessly outside the windows of his beleaguered house:

One writer-politician, I was to read many years later in a book titled The Strangled Cry by John Strachey, commented:

All we can say is that those four pencil strokes have now been indelibly drawn upon the sheet of world literature.

The miracle of black ink has had its might. In one of the ways that is possible, immortal­ity, which, Pasternak writes, is ‘only a stronger word for life’, has asserted itself against death and corruption.

What I’d not imagined that one day, in faraway Fiji, my life would be entangled in political tur­moil of a very special kind, albeit on a much smaller, gentler scale.

I’ve written about this experience in my book The Wounded Sea, published in 1991. This year, May 14, is the 30th anniversary of the first coup in Fiji. I was there a month ago commemorat­ing the centennial abolition of Indian Indenture system on March 17, 1917.

During my six nights of confinement with bal­aclava-clad soldiers and their shining guns, it was deeply revealing to see among the 28 MPs of various professions, that they all wanted to hear only tales from literature and religious-spiritual texts. I was, alas, being the most literate among them had to read or recite.

Powers of healing

Literature does hurt but it also contains within its aesthetic structures, the powers of healing: often I’ve quoted the lines of William Words­worth, memorised in Delhi:

The poem ends with thanks to the human heart by which we live.

Wordsworth had experienced the French Rev­olution–and what could be more political than that ? It’s still inflames the streets of Paris. And there were personal and intimate reasons for the deepening sorrows of his soul.

But it’s in his poetry that he created the healing fountain in the deserts of his heart-breaks – he discovered and expressed the grandeur that is within one’s heart-beats in the lines of his po­ems.

The point I’m making is that it’s the level of a writer’s creative response to a political upheaval that determines the quality of his or her crea­tion in an aesthetic form and ethical expression.

All around us we see on our TV screens, social media and read in the newspapers, a world in turmoil and the pictures are heartrending but how does one keep that faith of which Words­worth wrote with such beauteous eloquence.

One can be consoled with the elemental moral of another poet’s words:

Here I find politically the most inspiring words and acts in the life of Mohandas Gandhi. No hu­man hand, as far as I’m aware, wrote more than Gandhi’s.

And I feel in the acts of writing, he acquired insights into human nature for as Professor Al­bert Einstein wrote: ‘In our time of utter moral decadence he was the only statesman to stand for a higher human relationship in the political sphere.’

Today that challenge applies to virtually and in reality to all the political capitals of the world.

And that is the point: both art and politics are always about human relationships in their many forms, facets, faces, features and founda­tional values by which we live and survive.

This is what I’ve garnered from history, poli­tics, and poetry : for often the healing begins with the blood of those wounds we give to one another.

At Easter, this is the most poignant and univer­sal message of all.

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Though nothing can bring that hour

Of splendor in the grass, of glory in the flower;

We will grieve not, rather find

Strength in what remains behind;

In the primal sympathy

Which having been must ever be;

In the soothing thought that spring

Out of human suffering;

In the faith that looks through death;

In the years that bring the philosophic mind.

Cover of the book ‘Doctor Zhivago’ by Boris Pasternak.

Opinion

Poet William Wordsworth.

Boris Pasternak writes:

Finally he got into his stride and, carried away, he started a new poem.

After two or three stanzas and several images by which he was himself astonished, his work took possession of him and he experienced the ap­proach of what is called inspiration .

….

At three in the morning, Yury looked up from his papers and went out.

He was dazzled by the white flame playing on the shadowless, moonlit snow and first could see nothing. Then the long, whimpering, deep-bellied baying sounded again, muffled by the distance, and he noticed four long shadows, no thicker than pencil strokes, on the edge of the snowfield just beyond the gully.

The wolves stood in a row, their heads raised and their muzzles pointing toward the house, baying at the moon or at its silver reflection on the win­dows.

we should be careful

Of each other, we should be kind

While there is still time.