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Two photos from Dimikuy librarian Korbéogo Salimata, in Burkina Faso

seance lecture guide Dimikuy

lavage des mains

I had asked Salimata to use the library’s smartphone to post some casual shots of the “library in action” to Facebook.  I thought I would repost a couple.  I like the top photo of the group reading session.  Isn’t this just what a small village library is supposed to be doing?  Salimata is a pretty extraordinary librarian.  I wish we could hire ten more like her.

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“Percival Everett by Virgil Russell” by Percival Everett

Somehow I came across Percival Everett’s name, not sure exactly where.  I checked out Percival Everett by Virgil Russell from the library.  It is a very meta novel, a novel for people who really like to analyze novels… reading it I remembered a feeling that I had reading Snow White by Donald Barthelme back maybe in 1984… the feeling is: “This novel is too much like work.”  I wonder if that is a general feeling by non-literature focused academics.  We want our literature to be really smart (mostly) but once it shifts to being work, then it is like working a 12 hour day even when winding down.  Anyway, Everett is a really excellent writer, and Percival Everett by Virgil Russell has several compelling stories in it (the painter whose perhaps daughter suddenly appears, the doctor who has a horses on a ranch outside of LA who treats the perhaps meth dealing neighbor, the son and father engaged in a tricky dialogues as they write their respective stories, the old men in a nursing home, the 60s speechwriter…)  I wish I had time to figure it out.  Is it a puzzle? Is there a hidden message?  Would a second reading produce another layer of meaning?  A different mood?  I know that enough permeated me so that when I think of father-son relationships I’ll probably remember this novel. That may be enough to ask of a novel, that it does some service in one’s brain.  Everett has a bunch of other novels; I am going to read Erasure next.

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East Bay’s Burkina Faso expats and the coup d’état #lwili

A nice article in Oak North by Waringa Kamau and Kyle Ludowitz.  The main interviewee, Saré Bawaya Elisée, was FAVL’s national representative for a couple years.  And is a good friend!

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Corruption in Burkina Faso: Finally a case proceeds…. but in the United States!

Public procurement was always the place where everyone supposed the Compaoré clan was enriching itself. Now there is finally a case that might open the door to some jail time and real punishment. As far as I am aware, none of the public procurement scandals in Burkina Faso have ever led to prosecutions. A parliamentary report back in 2012 was kind of like amateur hour (to me) in that it did not follow through on really obvious questions or make much effort to really put some light (by making publicly available) data on bids and decision-making regarding determination of bids.

But now Malamine Ouédraogo, who “headed” one of Alizeta Ouédraogo’s businesses (and according to one report is her son… Alizeta’s daughter is married to Francois Compaoré, ex-President Blaise Compaoré’s younger brother), has been indicted by a grand jury and Preet Bharara, prosecutor in New York, for wire fraud. Here is the USAID summary of the case:

The alleged fraud affected a Burkinabe Ministry of Health program, supported by The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria (Global Fund), which receives funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and other donors. In response to a bid request from the Ministry of Health for the distribution of more than six million insecticide-treated mosquito nets, which can help reduce the incidence of mosquito-borne disease, Ouedraogo submitted an offer on behalf two collaborating firms with which he was associated. Ouedraogo subsequently received more than $12 million to provide mosquito nets in four regions in Burkina Faso.

Rather than acquire properly-treated mosquito nets through a supplier approved by the World Health Organization, as required in his Ministry of Health contracts, Ouedraogo allegedly purchased fraudulent nets, containing little or no insecticide, from a non-approved supplier. He labeled and packaged the fraudulent nets to resemble those produced by the approved supplier, according to the indictment. Knowing the nets were fraudulent and not approved, Ouedraogo proceeded to distribute the nets to government health facilities, the U.S. Attorney stated. Mosquito nets without insecticide are less effective and pose a higher risk of exposure to mosquitos, and an increased health risk for people using them.

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Dakar-based photographer Fabrice Monteiro…

Posted in Book reviews, Gender

Springsteen’s monologue in Lou Reed’s Street Hassle

When I was 16, I listened to Street Hassle obsessively.  On headphones of course because certain lines would have been very embarrassing if my siblings had heard them.  I was transported from my humdrum life as a sheltered upper class shy teen in Puerto Rico to the gritty New York world of transsexuals, drugs, and tenement apartments.  But maybe more profoundly, I started to appreciate more a certain kind of nostalgic sadness for something that was “slipping away” (my own childhood, was it?).  I never really liked Springsteen’s brief monologue late in the song, though there was a certain thrill to knowing that these underground artists like Lou Reed and Patti Smith were so respected by mainstream pop artists like Springsteen that there was collaboration.

Anyway, here is a nice summary of the facts (as per the Internet…) on the monologue:

Bruce Springsteen makes a guest appearance on this song, with a brief rap during the “Slipaway” section (from 9:02 to 9:39, lyrics above in bold). He is not credited for his performance in the liner notes to Street Hassle, possibly due to his ongoing legal battles with former manager Mike Appel at the time. In an interview published in Rolling Stone magazine issue #551 (04 May 1989), journalist David Fricke asked Lou Reed how did Springsteen come to recite those lines on STREET HASSLE. Reed explained, “Because if I’d done them, they’d have come out funny. And when he did it, it sounded real. He was at the same studio, the Record Plant. It wasn’t making it with me doing it. So the engineer said, ‘Why don’t you ask Bruce to do it? He could really do that.’ So we asked Bruce to do it, and he rewrote it a little.” STREET HASSLE, or at least Springsteen’s part of the song, was recorded in October 1977 at The Record Plant in New York City, NY, when Springsteen was at the New York studio recording his Darkness On The Edge Of Town album. In the last line of the rap, Springsteen states “tramps like us, baby we were born to pay”, an altered quotation from his own song BORN TO RUN. As Reed explained to Fricke, it was him who wrote that part. “It had been written with him in mind, but he wasn’t there. I was just playing off the title.”


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