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Director of Radio Shabelle murdered in Mogadishu

first_img RSF_en February 24, 2021 Find out more RSF requests urgent adoption of moratorium on arrests of journalists Help by sharing this information Follow the news on Somalia News SomaliaAfrica Radio reporter gunned on city street in central Somalia Reporters Without Borders expressed anger and dismay at the murder today of Mukhtar Mohamed Hirabe, director of Radio Shabelle, who was shot dead in Bakara market in the capital, Mogadishu.A journalist colleague accompanying him, Ahmed Omar Hashi, was also shot several times and is being treated in hospital where his condition is reported as stable.The Radio Shabelle journalists were walking to work when they were targeted by three armed men, several witnesses said. Hirabe was hit four times in the head and died instantly while Omar Hashi was hit in the hand and the stomach.Hirabe is the third Radio Shabelle journalist to suffer a fatal attack since the start of 2009; the fifth journalist killed this year and the second radio director to be killed in Bakara market – a district under the control of the Islamist al-Shabaab militia.Director of Radio HornAfrik, Said Tahlil, was shot dead in the same market on 4 February 2009 and Hirabe survived a murder attempt on the same day.Voicing its condolences to Hirabe’s family and colleagues and hoping for a quick recovery for Hashi, Reporters Without Borders challenged President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed over Somalia’s worsening security in the nearly six months since he took office. “Armed militia, whoever they may be, are continuing to terrorise the people and to attack journalists and members of civil society with total impunity,” the organisation said.“The Somalia president must come to grips with the scale of this catastrophe and do his utmost to ensure the safety of journalists. We also call for an immediate investigation to identify and punish the criminals,” the organisation added.Hirabe, who was 45, had headed Radio Shabelle since 2007 following the murder of his predecessor, Bashir Nur Gedi. Two other journalists on the radio, Hassan Mayow Hassan and Abdirisak Warsameh Mohamed, were also killed this year.With a total of 14 journalists killed since 2007, Somalia is Africa’s deadliest country for the media. March 2, 2021 Find out more June 7, 2009 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Director of Radio Shabelle murdered in Mogadishu center_img SomaliaAfrica News News Receive email alerts Organisation News to go further RSF and NUSOJ call for release of a journalist held in Somalia’s Puntland region January 8, 2021 Find out morelast_img read more

Knowing and seeing

first_imgAt twenty, stalking has become a past time of mine. Though it started out as inadvertent; a mere raised eyebrow at seeing the name, Mario Vargas Llosa, in the Edinburgh Literary Festival guide, in the later stages there was no question that I was on a more than casual mission to meet the man. It wasn’t only for the sake of his illustrious bio-data: Vargas is an internationally acclaimed author of more than nineteen books, part of a Latin American ‘holy trinity’ of fiction alongside Borges and Marquez. Neither was it just because of his intriguing stand as a conservative candidate for the Peruvian presidency in the 1990 elections (which he lost to Alberto Fujimori). The reason was more personal. What drew me to Llosa was certainly his talent, but also my memory. At an age when I could hardly make out what the black characters on a page stood for, I remember my father shaking The War of the End of the Worldat me saying, ‘Read it! It’s the most powerful book you’ll ever read’. When I did, a few years later, I emerged dazed, from within a haze of elemental emotions – power, violence and lust., hunger and idealism. I couldn’t forget the Counselor, Llosa’s apocalyptic prophet: “The man was tall and so thin he seemed to be always in profile. He was dark-skinned and rawboned, and his eyes burned with perpetual fire”. So a distant memory drove me to action. I bought a ticket to hear Llosa read from his new book, The Feast of the Goatin Edinburgh. And after witnessing the warmth and passion with which he spoke, the combined charm of a neatly groomed shock of silver and a thick Spanish accent embellishing carefully chosen words, I decided that it might be interesting to talk to him at greater length about the whole vocation of writing. What were his motivations? What advice would he give to aspiring novelists? But getting answers was difficult from an author who spent so much time travelling. And so, like Mohammed, I waited for the mountain. It came, more than six months later, in the form of the Weidenfeld Chair of Comparative Literature. With this position, as I found out, Llosa would be spending Trinity term in Oxford, giving a series of eight lectures on Hugo’s Les Miserables. The stalking had come to an end. When I met him, Llosa seemed to fit in perfectly against a backdrop of dreaming spires. He had the look of a college professor and from the nature of the conversation, we could almost have been in a tutorial. I asked him how he reconciled his role in Oxford, that of the literary critic, with that of a writer; did he see an opposition there? Critics are seen as the bane of writers’ lives, torturing their intuitively wrought texts by dissection with a sharp set of surgical knives. But Llosa is more accommodating; he is quick to point out that the kind of literary criticism he practices doesn’t pretend to be ‘scientific, impersonal and objective’ but on the contrary, he sees criticism as a point of departure, imbued with imagination: “My purpose is not to describe or interpret but to build something new…to use the work of others as raw material”. He continues, “ I am very present in the critical work I do. I use my own experience as a writer to try and understand the work of others.” In his opinion, the opposition between a creative and critical frame of mind comes in the sense that “when you write, personality intervenes” and “instincts, passions, emotions” take over from rationality. But the critic and the writer are not two separate, irreconcilable beings; he says, with a spark in his eye: “I try not to influence my critics, only they can tell me objectively, what I have done.” Llosa’s liberality doesn’t just extend to critics but to writers who are engaging in the ‘globalization’ of literature. Like ‘Doctors without Borders’, a new creed has been evolving of ‘Writers without Borders’. I wondered how a person who had written consistently about Latin America and its problems through out his career would react to the break down of national borders – for example, to South Asians writing in English about Europeans (as Michael Ondaatje does in The English Patient). Should writers, for the sake of authenticity, only write about what they know? Citing the examples of Conrad, Beckett, Borges and Nabokov, all multilingual authors, Llosa passionately disagrees: “literature is not geography, not history, not an accurate description of a reality. Because then it becomes a social science.” Would he write a novel that wasn’t based in Latin America? “Not as a moral obligation, no…but maybe, if it is stimulating to me at that point”. In fact, The Way to Paradise, his most recent novel, is a step in that direction. The novel depicts the lives of two stalwart figures in Peruvian history – Flora Tristan, a feminist agitator for social change in the nineteenth century and her grandson, the famous artist Gauguin. The novel oscillates between France, Peru and Tahiti. But the changing settings of the novel are not as important to the story as the similarity between the characters of Gauguin and his grand mother: “What I admire about them…is that they pursued their utopias and sacrificed their lives to their utopias.” Llosa said he was primarily drawn to Flora Tristan, the idea of writing about Gauguin only struck later in the process. The notion of writing about her accompanied him for nearly 30 years. “I admired her courage, how she dared to tell everything about her life in her memoirs, her ideals especially, in a time where there were so many prejudices.” Her zealous commitment to politics is clearly something that Llosa sees as a special quality. Something that he chose to emulate in his own life, perhaps? A knowing look comes into his eyes at this point. It’s unavoidable, we cannot skirt past the topic of his presidential campaign. It’s a topic that I’m confused about, unable to reconcile the Llosa who drew sympathetic portraits of revolutionaries (as in The Real Life of Alejandro Mayta) to Llosa, the conservative presidential candidate who proposed a kind of Andean Thatcherism for his country. Yet Llosa defends his position by saying that at the end of the 80’s Peru was in the process of disintegration – ‘democracy was close to collapse’. There was hyperinflation. In those circumstances it was necessary to get involved. Writer had to metamorphose into politician. Had he ceased to believe in Shelley’s words that, “Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world”? Llosa shakes his head; it was simply a case where more direct action was required. “My vocation is literature”, he says, “I realised that you have to have a real appetite to be a politician. An appetite for power which I didn’t have”. His appetite for writing took over. Still, the experience of political life was not wasted; it gave him enough material to write a book, A Fish in the Water(1993), and subsequently informed his descriptions of the world of the Dominican tyrant Trujillo, in The Feast of the Goat.. I am tempted to ask a beginner’s question at this point. Is it better for an aspiring novelist to livefirst and then write? To add to a bank of ‘meaningful experiences’ before taking up the pen in order to say something truly profound or original? Llosa squashes the idea in one fell sweep – “You always write from experience, what else do you have? All that’s important is the will to write, the discipline”. The centrepiece of his theory about writing is simple. “Read; read all the classic writers. You’ll learn much more from reading than listening – from classes and lectures.” He grins wryly. Llosa advocates the world of visualization, rather than knowledge. “I loved Dickens, Balzac, Tolstoy, Hemmingway…and Faulkner; I read Faulkner with a pen and paper to explore all the possibilities of literary form he provided.” Read and daydream and the rest will take care of itself he seems to say. Is there a lot of day-dreaming in Oxford? Llosa pauses to consider. “There are all kinds of people here, some curious and interesting, some who know a lot but they haven’t seen the world too much.“ARCHIVE: 5th week TT 2004last_img read more