Sunday, June 23, 2013

Boko Haram: "Western education is sacrilege"

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria (AP) Islamic extremists threatening a bloodbath forced thousands of people from villages along Nigeria's northeast, where refugees said Saturday the fighters have regrouped following a monthlong military crackdown.
People who escaped the bush near Nigeria's border with Cameroon fled to the Borno state capital of Maiduguri said militants from the Boko Haram terrorist network also have written letters warning government workers to resign their jobs or face death. Other villagers left for Cameroon.
"They warned government officials and civil servants in Bama to resign or else face death in the next seven days. We are all scared, this could be more deadly, so we ran for our dear lives," said Abba Fannami who fled to Maidguri with six family members.
A police officer said Boko Haram fighters were ransacking homes in neighboring Gwoza district, forcing residents to hide in caves in the rocky hills.
In recent days the extremists — whose name means "Western education is sacrilege" — have targeted schools, killing 16 high school students and two teachers in two attacks.
The militants also have attacked primary schools, burning down at least 50 in the past year, according to Borno state commissioner for primary education, Tijjani Abba Ali.
[see TEN FACTS about Boko Haram.]

Friday, June 21, 2013

Imagination and the Search for Certainty

"There is no more dangerous illusion than the fancies by which people try to avoid illusion.  It is imagination which leads us astray; and the certainty which we seek through imagination, feeling, and taste, is one of the most dangerous sources from which fanaticism springs.”
--François Fénelon (1651-1715) 

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Art for Its Own Sake?

Descent into Limbo by Andrea Mantegna
Allan de Botton asks: Should art really be for its own sake alone?
"We have too easily swallowed the modernist idea that art that aims to change or help or console its audience must by definition be "bad art" – Soviet art is routinely trotted out here as an example – and that only art that wants nothing of us can be good. Hence the all-too-frequent question with which we leave the modern museum of art: what did that mean?
"Why should this veneration of ambiguity continue? Why should confusion be a central aesthetic emotion? Is an emptiness of intent on the part of an artwork really a sign of its importance?"
Read the whole piece HERE.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Most Intimate Thing

"Man Drinking" -  Maggi Hambling
"Drawing is very exciting, the most intimate thing.  A photograph has happened, it's history, it's gone.  If a drawing has any life to it, it hasn't happened, it is happening in front of you as you look at it."
--Maggi Hambling
"Max with Onde" -  Maggi Hambling

Thursday, June 6, 2013

June's long-lighted days

Portrait of Rudyard Kipling by John Collier
From Rudyard Kipling's ‘Roman Centurion’s Song’, in which the Centurion, after 40 years’ service in Britain, pleads not to be sent back to Rome:

For me, this land, that sea, these airs,
those folk and fields suffice.
What purple Southern pomp can match our
changeful Northern skies,
Black with December snows unshed or
pearled with August haze--
The clanging arch of steel grey March,
or June's long-lighted days?

Hear the whole poem read by Kipling himself--in an animated video--HERE