Back Page: May 2003

United Nations report "confirms"--Fatwa on American Woman Novelist Kola Boof

News Release:

A report presented on the floor of the United Nations confirms that a "Fatwa" was issued against the life of American writer Kola Boof as early as July of the government of Sudan!

To obtain a transcript of the actual United Nations report, please contact Freedom House in New York at 212-514-8040. Or read the link provided...(page 81 addresses the fatwa on Kola Boof).


A special report to the 59th session of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights at Geneva, Switzerland for the year 2003...has confirmed that a "fatwa" death sentence was placed on Sudanese-born American author and freedom fighter Kola Boof.

The report...entitled "The World's Most Repressive Regimes 2003" is an excerpt of the Annual Survey of Political Rights and Civil Liberties report.

Investigators from over 23 nations participated in proving the findings and conclusions that are documented in the report.

Taken from Page 81 of the report:

In February, the editor of the English-language daily Kartoum Monitor was fined for publishing an article implicating the government (of Sudan) in slavery. In July, security officials seized issues of the Arabic daily Al-Horreya (Freedom), preventing their publication. No explanation was given for the seizure. That same month, a Sudanese Sharia Court found U.S.-based Sudanese author Kola Boof guilty of blasphemy. Boof was sentenced to death by beheading should she return to Sudan. Boof wrote a book critical of Sudan's treatment of black women.

Kola Boof...a feminist also the former mistress of Sudan's Vice President, Hasan Al-Turabi, as well as the former mistress of the world's most wanted terrorist, Osama Bin Laden. Mr. Turabi, who is now under house arrest in Khartoum, was the mentor of Mr. bin laden. Miss Boof has always made it clear that these associations were against her will and that she was basically a "captive" of both men. Boof was with Turabi in Khartoum (1995) and lived for six months with Bin Laden in Morocco (1996). In an upcoming memoir, Boof describes both men as "vicious...evil...methodical...Satanic".

Please read the actual report from the United Nations (Adobe Acrobat form):

In the United States, a transcript of the report can be obtained by calling FREEDOM HOUSE in New York City at 212-514-8040. A link to the report is also included in this email...the link highlights Ms. Boof's name on page 81.

WHO IS KOLA BOOF? Visit these web sites.

Kola Boof's African Publisher FireBombed! Author forced Out of Print!

Arab Propoganda and Death Threats against Kola Boof:

Kola Boof's official web site:


RE: Talking with Jonathan Safran Foer

A very enjoyable interview. I was particularly interested in the discussion of why kids have turned away from reading. I see it in my students who come into college hating reading (and in many cases, writing), primarily because of the way the English is taught in most high schools. Part of the problem is what they're asked to read, but I also think the manner in which it's taught does great harm. My students think that a book is something to be "figured out" like a calculus equation, rather than something that is alive and able to be experienced and reflected on.

I don't see much hope for most university literature courses stemming the tide either. I spent the 2001-02 year at the University of Illinois teaching comp and intro literature courses, and that year, my lit class had 35 students (too big, really, but managable) and we read all contemporary novels and just talked about the stuff that the books made them think about or remember, or whatever they responded to, be it character, plot, passage, line or even word. I certainly didn't win over all of them, or even most of them, but at the end of the semester, I'd have them asking about other books they should read. Now, thanks to budget cuts, the course I used to teach has been forced into a lecture class of 180 students where real discussion will be impossible. Mostly, it's sad.

Anyway, I enjoyed it as always.

JD Warner, Virginia Tech


Iraqi Liberation

Matt: came across this on iraq (IMC) independent media site fyi...enjoy, perhaps post?



From: "zenaida del valle" <>
To: <>
Sent: Friday, May 09, 2003 4:12 AM
Subject: I would love to meet you!

You are a typical male. I don't know when exactly you wrote the article on "You want to date a stripper," but you shouldn't judge everyone the same way. My name is Zenaida Del Valle, I am Twenty years old. I'd like to tell you a little about myself, maybe you will understand better as to why I have taken the time to write you.

I am an exotic dancer (stripper or how ever you feel better referring to me.) I am drug free, educated and down to earth. I speak five languages, graduated high school at the age of sixteen, have a college degree and am currently pursuing a career in mortgages. I have been in a relationship for five months, with a man I genuinely love. Unfortunately I met him through the agency I work for but he respects me and understands what I do.

I won't give anyone any excuses about what I do because I don't love my job. I can tell you that exotic dancing is an art but realistically, that is not why women "strip" now a days. I can tell you that I will not be dancing by the end of the year because I can definitely earn way more money in my future career. I dance because it pays very well and it has helped me to stabilize after a very rough two years.

I am not writing because I want to defend myself but to let you and others know, that all dancers are not the same. Some of us are struggling and this is a way out. I can almost guarantee that at least fifty percent of the people that criticize dancers don't have the courage to do what we do. If they did there would be many more of "us." Granted there are some "strippers" who as you described are not capable of being in a relationship with one man. They are probably immature and ignorant.

I speak for many dancers when I say "You have to be in the business to understand."

You want to write a story? Why don't you get it right first! no Offense.

Thank You,

Zenaida Del Valle


Dear Zenaida Del Valle:

First, I find it very interesting that you preface your e-mail with "You are a typical male" and then proceed to call me out for classifying people.

You sound like an unusual twist (hey- I'm SMART!) to the typical stripper, and that's a good thing for you. Speaking five languages can get you a job ANYWHERE - and you don't need to be a high school graduate at 16 to know that. I know people who can do TWO languages and they make six figures.

Understand that the article was written only based on my experience in the realm. End of story.

You do what you do for the same reasons that the girl that I dated did her thing. Your point is made, and maybe there are cool strippers out there who don't do drugs and fuck nine out of ten guys they meet, but those aren't the type that make interesting articles, are they?




Percival Everett Interview

Thanks for the interview with Percival Everett, one of my favorite writers. I'm just beginning to read the interview and will read the rest later...You've done some really good, wide-ranging interviews--surely, you've thought of putting together a print anthology of them? Possibly one of the more literary presses, Farrar Straus or Norton, would be interested? Thanks for your work.

Daniel Garrett


Tossed from your Favorites

I see that my web page,,
was tossed from your favorites list back in September.

Perhaps you might enjoy one of my other sites:

Thanks for the support.
c.d. norman


emptiness Zen and words

Very clever, I thought.

Barry D Cowger


Out of whack and out of step

A reflection on translations and synonyms by Dorothee Lang

"For there is only one great adventure and that is inward toward the self, and for that, time nor space nor even deeds matter" - it was this pick-up line of Henry Miller that made me fall for his novel "tropic of Capricorn" in one single sentence.

I borrowed the German version of Miller's book here in the library in Stuttgart last month, but thought twice about it in the middle of the second chapter and amazoned the English version, which was the right decision. It's not that the German translation was not worthwhile, it's just that the original version is so much more of the real thing, it has a different flow, it has a different breathing.

Like this sentence for example: "at least I knew that I was unhappy, unwealthy, out of whack and out of step" is what Miller had written, a line that still could be written today, eventually even could be rapped from a stage. What unfortunately can't be said for the germanised line: "ich wusste wenigstens dass ich ungluecklich und arm war und nicht aus der Reihe tanzte." which rather sounds like a bleak cover version performed by someone who had never been on those ragged roads himself, and translates back into: "at least I knew that I was unhappy and poor and did not step out of the line."

Which isn't exactly what Miller had said. But then just going ahead and doing it the babelfish way, translating a sentence word by word and just leaving the original words when in doubt which synonym to pick is not the most elegant of ways either. And probably it's in fact true what some say, that some things just can't be translated and that you never know which words the author would have chosen himself if he had written the text in a different language, especially as every language comes with another set of words, with another world of expressions and intonations. Maybe this fact would have even lead to a completely different story altogether, one that starts at the same point in the same setting but follows another chain of thoughts, another line of images, brought upon by this other set of words. And probably it is exactly this difference in cultures that leads to the effect that texts, when they get translated, also get transformed.

And isn't it a bewildering thought that a huge part of the books that are piled in the bookshops are just that: transformed translations. That they originally had been written in another language, and therefore during the process of translating lost some of their texture, some of their mood, some of their meaning. That they might even have lost something essential, some parts of their personality, some spaces between their lines, some of the wide horizons they unfolded. Some of their identity. Some of their reality. Which basically is what good books are: alternative identities put in words, distant realities wrapped in paper. That is were the attraction of a pile of books comes from, or the joy of walking through a library. It is like standing on the edge of the world, ready to leap into the oceans of other spheres.

Really, there should be another word for that, one that is stronger than "to read". Maybe "to word travel". But there isn't. Even so there are 37 synonyms for "to read" in English, going all the way from a to v: apprehend, comprehend, construe, construe, decipher, dip into, discover, explain, expound, express, flip through, gather, glance, go over, go through, interpret, know, leaf through, learn, make out, paraphrase, perceive, peruse, peruse, pore over, put, refer to, render, restate, scan, see, skim, study, translate, understand, unravel and view.

Maybe there are is another word for "to read" in another languages that has more of that feeling inside, just like there should be another word for the "adventure that is inward toward the self." And maybe in some ways these two thoughts might even be expressed by the very same word.



by Aaron M. Zook

Afterwards you step outside and feel
as though you've stepped out of the ocean
and left your land legs somewhere
past the second drift, removed
your crazy-tinted glasses and found
all the menacing dark hues quietly exploded.

Or returned to your childhood
home to find some kindly gentleman
slipped in and went to work trimming
the flagrant shadows from every surface
leaving only brightness and gentle
contrast, smoothed every corner, awakened
every sleeping thing as though to say,
Take care, our guest is tender, and fears
he may fall. Lift him up, would you?

And you feel like a wealthy
man. Not a magnate, no devouring
tycoon, but a subtle thinker in his dotage,
one who never expected his eventual
pension to be so handsome. Soon you will
wonder, as you always do, where this naked
grateful self escapes to when your cheeks
have dried, the inflamed red scribbles
in your eyes receded into their accustomed
bashful paleness, when the stillness shrugs
away this momentary glow and becomes
a penitentiary.


Tulips In My Shirt

by Anastasia Clark

I’ve known
Tulips in my shirt

The April rise
Of violins
Chanting in the breeze
The trees that nod
And say okay:

Swipe the wind
With a feather hand
And gather up the

Stuff them gently
Into the breast-
The elixir of nature
Remains the best

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