Please let the Lawrence Rowe Pavilion be….

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Sabina Park, Nov 28, 2011, a set on Flickr.

In which Tunku Varadarajan, whom i follow on Twitter and who’s editor of Newsweek International, is in Kingston for 2.5 days and contacts me by DM on Twitter to say he’d like to see Sabina Park….So being one of the top ten cricket ignoramuses of the planet I tweet for help. Cuz if it were up to me I would just do a drive by viewing, …”And on the left @tunkuv is Sabina Park…” Fortunately I decided to try a ting on Twitter asking “Who know anything bout Sabina Park? Is it open, have to take someone there whose fervent wish is to see it but know little abt access etc” and lo and behold @roderickJa responded saying “yes it is! Head to Kingston Cricket Club; ask for Jabba. Tell him I sent you/guests. He will give a tour, and the smalls up to u.”

So said so done. The photos speak for themselves…Let’s bring back the Lawrence Rowe Players Pavilion though!!!!

PS: For those who don’t know Lawrence Rowe, also known locally as Yagga Rowe, was one of the most brilliant batsmen Jamaica has produced. The photos of newspaper clippings above attest to his explosive talent. Earlier this year in recognition of this the Players Pavilion at Sabina Park was named in his honour which aroused a spontaneous outcry from members of the public still outraged at Rowe’s having led a cricket eleven to play in South Africa during the Apartheid era as part of the so-called Rebel tours. Rowe was reviled for breaking the ban on engaging with a racist South Africa and accused of greed because the players who went were handsomely paid. Completely overlooked was the fact that Rowe came from a very poor background, and that by then his eyesight was compromised by ” teryginum, a disease involving vision-blurring growths: they had almost completely covered his right eye and were on the way to obscuring vision in the left.” Also overlooked is the fact that the thrashing of the Australian team in South Africa by the black West Indian eleven led by Rowe was an enormous psychological boost for black South Africans. The campaign of disapproval against Rowe’s actions has persisted to this day resulting in the revocation of the decision to name a pavilion after Rowe. In the photos above you can see the attempt to erase his name from Sabina Park.

Twitter wit: #bookswithalettermissing

A selection of tweets that appeared under the hashtag #bookswithalettermissing and how it spilled over onto Facebook…

A baby Dik-dik--a tiny East African antelope (via @biscuitzombie)

On August 3, 2011, someone on Twitter started a hashtag that unleashed a veritable firestorm of creativity from people around the world trying to think of whacky new entries for book titles with a letter missing. All these tweets were consolidated under the hashtag #bookswithalettermissing. I present a selection for your pleasure…

stantonmichael Michael Stanton

The Da Vinci Cod: A tale of a great man’s fondness of seafood. #bookswithalettermissing

anniepaul

RT @Dr3wonlin3#bookswithalettermissing Lack Beauty: a story of self esteem and horses

synopticalchart Synoptical Charts

The Holy Bile #bookswithalettermissing

anniepaul

RT @DanielPink: The Virtue of Elfishness – wherein Ayn Rand makes a stirring case for the moral integrity of elves. #bookswithalettermissing

pgnimmo paul nimmo

now this one IS funny! RT @mektastic: The Velveteen Rabbi #BooksWithALetterMissing

emccullough Elizabeth McCullough

Jurassic Ark — How dinosaurs survived the Great Flood. #bookswithalettermissing

bartandlife

#bookswithalettermissing Brave New Word by Aldous Huxley. Huxley’s satirical novel on the future of the dictionary

biscuitzombie

The Oy of Sex. A Jewish guide to lovemaking. #bookswithalettermissing

anniepaul

Life of I (my unexpurgated autobiography) #bookswithalettermissing

anniepaul

A Moveable East (Oriental Theory of Relativity) #bookswithalettermissing

CParkhurst1 Carolyn Parkhurst

Naive Son: Richard Wright’s protagonist remains blissfully unaware of the racism present in 1930s America. #bookswithalettermissing

KAKoehler Kim Koehler

Watership Dow The hare-raising story of the stock market.#bookswithalettermissing

Brilliant! RT @bartandlife Franz Fanon’s – White Ski Black Mask

The Enigma of a Rival #Bookswithalettermissing<Paul Theroux’s lost book…

But it was after I posted the preceding title on Facebook that the Trinis took over the competition, betraying Bolt-like capacities. There was no keeping up with them so I retired from the fray and left them to dream up the following list of priceless titles:

Judy Raymond Came up with a couple: the book that sums up Salman Rushdie’s entire oeuvre: Same

Jonathan Ali On the Naipaul theme: A Hose for Mr Biswas (gardening)

Judy Raymond The gothic novel about Heathcliff’s rowing ambitions: Wuthering Eights

Judy Raymond A novel about typographers: And then We Came to the En

Judy Raymond  A culinary memoir by Margaret Atwood: The Year of the Food·

Jonathan Ali A French woman’s struggle with infertility: Madame Ovary

Annie Paul Jonathan saw that one too!

Judy Raymond Nick Hornby’s novel about a deadly new plague…Fever Itch

Judy Raymond Michael Holding’s memoir, War and Pace

Judy Raymond Lottery winner mysteriously disappears in Gone with the Win

Georgia Popplewell Argh – just as I was about to retire for the night. There’s also Nabokov’s Madison Avenue screed – Ad. ·

Georgia Popplewell And Faulkner’s scathing indictment of the mink industry – The Sound and the Fur.

Judy Raymond That classic of little creatures on the riverbank, Harry Otter and the Philosopher’s Stone

Jonathan Ali What about Joyce’s novel about a teenage writer who has a baby? Portrait of the Artist as a Young Ma

Georgia Popplewell If you let me remove two letters, I’d recommend Graham Greene’s paean to Chinese fast food – The Pow and the Glory. (But I know that’s cheating).

Judy Raymond New World archaeological text: Ur Man in Havana

Jonathan Ali Bet you never read Greene’s novel about his mother’s trip to Cuba—Our Ma in Havana

Judy Raymond Or the one about the female Hannibal Lecter-style mass murderer, The Ma in the Iron Mask

Georgia Popplewell Orwell’s exposé on cut-rate safaris: Animal Far.

Judy Raymond Salad recipes from Wessex: The Mayo of Casterbridge

Judy Raymond To go with that Dickensian Jewish dish, Liver Twist

Jonathan Ali The tome about trying to escape a frenzied bird: Far from the Madding Crow ·

Georgia Popplewell New-age primer on maco-ciousness: Eat, Pry, Love.

Georgia Popplewell Susan Sarandon’s post-breakup tell-all: A Wrinkle in Tim.

Judy Raymond A memoir of a literary family, Reams from My Father

Georgia Popplewell Ralph Ellison on his mommy issues: Invisible Ma ·

Jonathan Ali searching exploration of the rise of consumerism in India: The God of Mall Things

Georgia Popplewell Guess now you’re going to mention Rohinton Mistry’s shark novel: A Fin Balance.

Georgia Popplewell Or maybe Amitav Ghosh’s harem exposé: The Lass Palace.

Georgia Popplewell Or that survey of intellectual property in the UK: The English Patent.

Judy Raymond Biography of a milliner, The World Is Hat It Is

Jonathan Ali Memoir of a biologist: A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genus

Georgia Popplewell About a not very nice nobleman: The C*nt of Monte Cristo.

Georgia Popplewell ‎(Pardon my French)

Jonathan Ali About environmentally conscious French soldiers: The Tree Musketeers

Judy Raymond Hemingway’s tale of farming in Kenya: The Sows of Kilimanjaro

Georgia Popplewell Mole, Ratty, Toad and Co. score big in Play-Whe: The Win in the Willows.

Jonathan Ali Huck settles down and opens a hotel: Huckleberry Inn

Georgia Popplewell A Haitian band hits the big time: The Golden Compas

Georgia Popplewell A bunch of chickens become foreign correspondents in Africa: Coop

Jonathan Ali A whaler named Richard is set upon by Greenpeace activists: Mob Dick ·

Judy Raymond Eating disorders on the rise among men: Jake’s Thin ·

Georgia Popplewell Again, lemme lop off two letters and I’ll give you the one about an epidemic of fever and chills in N. Africa: The Ague ·

Judy Raymond Naipaul’s dodgy autobiographical fragment, Half a Lie ·

Georgia Popplewell One woman’s fight to gain control over her partition of the family computer’s hard drive: A ROM of One’s Own ·

Judy Raymond And her struggle to rear an orphaned marsupial: A Roo of One’s Own ·

Georgia Popplewell A tropical lizard tells all: The Heart of the Matte · · 1 personLoading…

Judy Raymond Umberto Eco’s guide to caviar, The Name of the Roe ·

Georgia Popplewell Primer on local customs: Native So

Georgia Popplewell A rabbit who makes you an offer you can’t refuse: Watership Don. · · 1 personLoading…

Georgia Popplewell Inhabitants of Blue Mountain Peak score big in the local lottery: A High Win in Jamaica ·

Georgia Popplewell Celebrity parent who lavishes more attention on her fans than her offspring: The Autograph Ma ·

Jonathan Ali Man who can never tell the truth: Lord of the Lies

Jonathan Ali Tale of black community in Florida fixated by traffic lights: Their Eyes were Watching Go

Jonathan Ali Prince Andrew spends a year at Charles and Camilla’s: In the Castle of My Kin

Georgia Popplewell That hunk looked great in red: A Stud in Scarlet

Georgia Popplewell Woman’s cross-dressing sibling was really her mother after all: Brother Ma

Georgia Popplewell Somehow, the West Indies cricket team triumphs: The Win of Astonishment

 

Guess who’s coming to Twitter? @dudusfromtivoli…

Dudus on Twitter? and a satirical look at the Mannatt Commission of Inquiry in Jamaica.

Guess who's on Twitter?

@dudusfromtivoli Awaiting Trial
Businessman. Entrepreneur. Philanthropist. Peacekeeper. Proud Jamaican goes the bio on the Twitter page of the purported Don who was extradited from Jamaica last June. As The KD Knight Show, otherwise known as the Manatt Commission of Inquiry (an expensive investigation into the circumstances that led the Jamaican Government to allegedly hire the services of Washington law firm Manatt, Phelps & Phillips to influence the US Government to backpedal on its ‘request’ for Dudus’s extradition to the US to face drug running and other charges), rolls into its third or fourth week the Jamaican Twittersphere has suddenly become twice as interesting with the entry of someone tweeting as if they’re the imprisoned don, Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke, languishing in a New York prison.

The Twitter persona @dudusfromtivoli comments sardonically on the proceedings of the Inquiry. He also solicits company on Twitter:

Tweeting till lights off at 10pm – who keeping me company? #twitterafterdark scary in prison.

Below, I’ve listed his tweets in ascending order…that is, you’ll have to scroll down to the bottom and read them bottom up if you want to be chronological. And while you’re down there you may as well check out the videoclip of Anthony Miller/Entertainment Report’s priceless take on the Manatt Inquiry from TVJ in which footage from the Inquiry is played in slomo to the theme music from Perry Mason.

Both of these (and the cartoon below) are cause for celebration, political satire is alive and well in Jamaica. Enjoy!

Clovis, Jamaica Observer
Boss that’s salt in an open wound. RT @faadajoe: @dudusfromtivoli suggest a new profile pic http://twitpic.com/45u0lp
»
Dudus
dudusfromtivoli Dudus
Prison life babes. RT @mummasuss: Is this person bored! RT @Moosie928: follow @dudusfromtivoli now for free digicel credit
»

Dudus
dudusfromtivoli Dudus
10pm boss. RT @Moosie928: @dudusfromtivoli nigga lights out a pass ur bed time
»
Dudus
dudusfromtivoli Dudus
Its called “prison” RT @MsRaine: @anniepaul LOL!!! Some people really have a lot of time on their hands…i.e. ———> @dudusfromtivoli
»
Dudus
dudusfromtivoli Dudus
@bruceJLP Is this the PM or the Party Leader speaking? Put me on to NDM Bruce please.
»
Dudus
dudusfromtivoli Dudus
Who said digicel? I do not recall. #misrepresentation RT @Moosie928: follow @dudusfromtivoli now for free digicel credit
»
Dudus
dudusfromtivoli Dudus
Conjugal visits coming up 😉 RT @JBooMc: @dudusfromtivoli … lol I will be ur company
»
Dudus
dudusfromtivoli Dudus
Former “gunman” on CVM – I see you still wear that shirt I bought you 6 years ago. I see you hater!
»
Dudus
dudusfromtivoli Dudus
Always marry rich. RT @Jherane_: Am I the only one who thought Veronica should’ve gotten with Reggie?
»
Dudus
dudusfromtivoli Dudus
RT @ToniToneTonz: YO @dudusfromtivoli say free credit for all new followers!! <— 3rd baby mother now taking bribes for credit “contracts”
»
Dudus
dudusfromtivoli Dudus
Tweeting till lights off at 10pm – who keeping me company? #twitterafterdark scary in prison.
»
Dudus
dudusfromtivoli Dudus
No pin. Cellie jealous #prisonlifehard RT @Moosie928: @dudusfromtivoli send me u pin waa link u off air
»
Dudus
dudusfromtivoli Dudus
Free credit for new followers #electiontime RT @thereallyquiet1: “@anniepaul: Follow the don! @dudusfromtivoli … http://tmi.me/7jrLg
»
Dudus
dudusfromtivoli Dudus
Bought it from a guard 2nd hand #prisonlifehard RT @Moosie928: freedom is a must @dudusfromtivoli a which bb u a work wid?
»
Dudus
dudusfromtivoli Dudus
Both. Conjugal visit coming up 😉 RT @NinaRazzi: From real jail or twitter jail…??? Lmao! RT @Moosie928: #free @dudusfromtivoli
»
Dudus
dudusfromtivoli Dudus
RT @ToniToneTonz: all hail PREZI!<;— 3rd Jamaican baby mother
»
Dudus
@dudusfromtivoli
@anniepaul <—- new Indian baby mother
»
Dudus
dudusfromtivoli
#endorsed RT @Mark_N_Amos: Mannat enquiry imo, is a waste of time, no time for the stupid politicians that jamaica has…..
»
Dudus
dudusfromtivoli
#celebrity RT @phcjam: RT @panmediajamaica: People are heading home early just to watch the Manatt/Dudus Commission’s proceedings.
»
Dudus
dudusfromtivoli Dudus
Christmas gift. RT @musicmala: Go deh Babsy! Show dem di BB Torch! Raaaaeeeeee LOL
»
Dudus
dudusfromtivoli Dudus
Link up. Always looking for foot soldiers. RT @frass28: @dudusfromtivoli me waan me the boss miself yah enuh buss a link nuh…
»
Dudus
dudusfromtivoli Dudus
#politricks RT @JcSkyline: Lol, Babsy a wave the Torch though…. At least I’m seeing where my money goes.. Lol #TvJNews
»
Dudus
dudusfromtivoli Dudus
Smart woman RT @MeishMGM:’In this age of technology you do not need to be in office to get your work done’; Babsy as she waves her BB
»
Dudus
dudusfromtivoli Dudus
Best friends stab you in the front. RT @anniepaul: @corvedacosta yes, is Babsy there as Dorothy’s best friend? A handmaiden to justice?
»
Dudus
dudusfromtivoli Dudus
Pray for me. RT @JBooMc: @dudusfromtivoli …. omg u answered hope all is well with u bossy babylon system is real messed up !
»
Dudus
dudusfromtivoli Dudus
Ustream link? RT @CassiusWatson: I’m sometimes confused as to where #DarienHenry #TVJ is either filing a report or Anchoring the newscast
»
Dudus
dudusfromtivoli Dudus
You’re telling me? Idle hands here in lock up. RT @jt_ninja: inactivity can be just as devastating.
»
Dudus
dudusfromtivoli Dudus
Hope that happens in my case. RT @LifeinJamaica: Judge on strike! over salary issues
»
Dudus
dudusfromtivoli Dudus
Smart woman. RT @JBooMc: I asked my mom who runs downtown like how #Dudus is in prison my mom said the babylon lol …. only in #Jamaica
»
Dudus
dudusfromtivoli Dudus
#notonmyteam RT @lauraredpath: There’s a man sitting beside me fondling his crotch #manatt-dudus commission of enquiry

»
Dudus
dudusfromtivoli Dudus
Keep walking. RT @frass28: @Skittleshoni no walk towards the light @Skittleshoni dont get dragged in u mite meet dudus and lie bout it.
»
Dudus
dudusfromtivoli Dudus
A form of dyslexia? She knows my name. RT @gocharms: Why does she keep calling him Christopher Coke Dudus? #mannatt
»
Dudus
dudusfromtivoli Dudus
Pretty girl like you should’t be working. RT @sweetsultryshen: Yes manatt/dudus commission going til 4…there goes my day
»
Dudus
dudusfromtivoli Dudus
Imagine watching it from jail. RT @ProdigalJa: Dudus, President, Prezi, Shortman, General….. sometimes seeing and … http://tmi.me/7jnYJ
»
Dudus
dudusfromtivoli Dudus
The lord is my shepard. RT @kookiekare: God Kno Dudus RT @nadyapatrese: God kno?? @donRwil @KookieKare

»
Dudus
dudusfromtivoli Dudus
Babylon system. RT @nel_cc_nic: So since buju’s fate is set….whatever happen to Dudus? ‘Got lost in the system’?
»
Dudus
dudusfromtivoli Dudus
@bruceJLP Boss link up. I’ve got internet privileges in prison now.
2 Mar
»
Dudus
dudusfromtivoli Dudus
New to this Twitter thing. Big up to my supporters!
2 Mar

The Sweetest Coup…Egypt. 11.2.11

A selection of tweets i favourited in the 24 hours leading up 11.2.11 Egypt’s day of reckoning….

Data visualization of Egypt's Tweets:

So the Egyptians got their Friday of Departure after all–congratulations to them! This is a heady moment for all of us, Egyptian or not–

What a rollercoaster of a few days! 11.2.11 has proved to be unforgettable for all Egyptians except one: ex-President Hosni Mobarak who probably wants to erase all memories of Jan 25 and its ineluctable aftermath.

I found Pioneer editor Kanchan Gupta’s analysis of the tumultuous events in the Middle East to be comprehensive and useful (though i don’t share his fear of a Muslim alliance):

…As Egypt burst into celebrations, a bitter realisation began to sink in: If the US could abandon Mubarak, it could also say goodbye to others without allowing friendships of the past to weigh too heavily on its conscience.

Ironically, it is this perceived callous indifference of the US towards a beleaguered Mubarak in his last days in office that has left many flummoxed in Arabia. Egypt under the Mubarak dispensation, backed by the Army, was the best bet for peace in the region, especially in regard to Israel. It was also the best defence against the rise of radical Islamism whose practitioners see themselves as the alternative to incumbent Arab regimes. With Mubarak gone, the Muslim Brotherhood is preparing to make a dramatic appearance either through collaboration or alone in Egyptian politics; through Hamas, an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, Islamists have seized power in Gaza; in Lebanon, the Hizbullah, which has toppled the Hariri Government and put into place a regime controlled by Islamists, increasingly and frighteningly calls the shots; in Tunisia, dormant Islamism has come alive after the long-exiled leader of the till recently outlawed Islamist party Ennahdha, Rachid Ghanouchi, made a triumphant return home; in Jordan, the Friday street protests are being led by Islamists sustained by the Ikhwan’s ideology; in Yemen, Islamists are waiting for the palace to fall under their assault; in Qatar, Bahrain and Kuwait, a deep undercurrent of radical Islamism is waiting to burst forth.

A gleeful Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has described the Egyptian uprising as the unleashing of an “Islamic wave”. His protégé and Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has described the Egyptian uprising and the collapse of the Mubarak regime exactly 32 years to the day of the fall of Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi on February 11, 1979, as the “emergence of a new Middle East that will doom Israel and break free of American interference”.

A clickable map of Tahrir Square, courtesy the BBC

On the subject of social media’s role in the recent ‘revolutions’ I found Global Voices Online co-founder Ethan Zuckerman’s comments thought-provoking:

– While there’s been extensive debate about whether social media helped organize or promote the protests in Egypt, I think the interesting story to watch will be whether social media can help Egypt in the transition to democracy. Power now rests with a council of military leaders, and there have been suggestions that this group could be complemented by a council of civilian “wise men”, giving a seat at the table to figures like Mohamed El-Baradei.

If this process were to work, it would need to include voices of the youth, the people who led this revolt. One likely spokesman for Egyptian youth is Wael Ghonim, the Google executive who created the We Are All Khaled Said page on Facebook, widely credited as helping rally the original protests on January 25th. After his emotional televised interview on Dream TV, hundreds of thousands have joined a Facebook page authorizing Ghonim to speak on behalf of the protesters. Speaking to CNN today, asked what’s next in revolutions in the Arab world, Ghonim said, “Ask Facebook.”

In lieu of having anything compelling to say myself I’ve decided to put up tweets I ‘favourited’ it in the last 24 hours or so (Twitter’s ‘favourite’ feature is a phenomenal tool which i use with abandon). Some of them reference Egyptian events and some don’t, but for what they’re worth here they are…with the most recent ones from this morning leading…

Sonali Ranade
In Egypt, the military is a ruling caste http://bit.ly/dSM4Ed
»
Sultan Al Qassemi
Hats off to Egyptians, Al Jazeera is showing images of doctors, university students & civilians from all walks of life cleaning the streets.
»
Sidin Vadukut
sidin Sidin Vadukut
During my ‘Punjabi’ wedding I was made a Kashyap. Is this upper caste? Can I get reservation of some kind? Movie tickets?
»
Kellie Magnus
Eleven speakers. Eleven men. Apparently, in the future there are no women in the Caribbean.
»
Kellie Magnus
The average age of the panelists looks like 65. On a conf about the future of CARICOM. Sigh
»
Al Jazeera English
AJEnglish Al Jazeera English
#AlJazeera looks back at the 18-day-old revolution that remade Egypt and the wider Middle East: http://aje.me/eZjHzV #mubarak #jan25 #tahrir
»
Sree Sreenivasan
sree Sree Sreenivasan
Great recap video: 18 days in Cairo in 3 mins by WashPo (via @rajunarisetti): http://bit.ly/e3oOOG #egypt #jan25
»
Damien King
damienwking Damien King
The whole point of a National Water Commission is to have water when it doesn’t rain. Nobody needs water management during the rainy season.
»
Sagarika Ghose
Mubarak quits and Twitter creates history. ‘A moment comes..when an age ends..when the soul of a nation..finds utterance..”
»
WikiLeaks
Assassination of Julian Assange (supporter video) http://youtube.com/watch?v=3Fab1IsCZzY
»
Evgeny Morozov
evgenymorozov Evgeny Morozov
Good first academic study on “slacktivism” http://goo.gl/VNJPn
»
keri m.
MzArebel keri m.
OMG *faints* RT @mamachell: My daddy is on twitter *bawls running *
»
Wayne Jones Jnr
A look at Jamaica’s influence on British Music: A look at Jamaica’s influence on British Music http://bit.ly/hcyGua (via @dancehallusa)
»
Gady Epstein
gadyepstein Gady Epstein
Just asked on Quora: When a dictator opens a Swiss bank account, can he buy “deposed-regime” insurance?
»
Iniva
Talk on the role of #archives in documenting #art history now available online: http://bit.ly/hzLqtG #library
»
Open Magazine
Openthemag Open Magazine
Yoga not as old or Hindu as you think: http://is.gd/z7s8aG
»
Jonathan Shainin
jonathanshainin Jonathan Shainin
Paging Hartosh Singh Bal! One British toff’s shallow impressions of the Jaipur Litfest, on the Paris Review blog: http://bit.ly/gSGBYd
»
Priya Singh
rimeswithcya Priya Singh
Off to my daughter’s school concert in a while…hope I don’t have to deal with any Tiger Mothers.
»
Terry McMillan
MsTerryMcMillan Terry McMillan
Power is a drug. Mubarek has been strung out for 30 years.
»
Gabriel Esler
TheDevilSaint Gabriel Esler
RT @ConvoNation The Revolution WILL be televised, Tweeted YouTubed Facebooked DIGG’d texted, emailed and aired #Egypt #Revolution #Mubarak
»
Nicholas Laughlin
nplaughlin Nicholas Laughlin
“An anthropologist’s diary of the Egyptian revolution”: http://bit.ly/gTDm4j

Buju: Voice of Jamaica?

The lighter side of the Buju Banton saga

Clovis, Jamaica Observer

*Please note that God as portrayed by Clovis in the cartoon above does not appear to be black. #justsaying

Well, Tropical Storm Nicole tittupped across the length and breadth of Jamaica like a woman scorned, ripping the country’s attention away from it’s favourite Rasta to matters of life and death. But not before a couple of hilarious Buju-inspired exchanges on Twitter that ranged from the sublimely funny to the ridiculous. The latter first. I got into a lengthy exchange with Queen Sheba1302 who was sending out anguished tweets from Germany asking why there was a worldwide ‘media blackout’ on Buju. Perhaps the rest of the world had more urgent matters to attend to i suggested? To which i got this response:

  1. FREE BUJU Banton queensheba1302
    No, only jamaican newspaper report about Buju, there is a worldwide mediablackout, and i dont know why….
  2. FREE BUJU Banton queensheba1302
    yes, there is a media blackout worldwide, why?? Do u know why only local newspaper report about Buju Banton?
    12:30 PM Sep 27th via web in reply to JamaicaGleaner.

Well, it’s a pressing matter here in Jamaica where Buju comes from i said, so naturally he would receive coverage here, the rest of the world however… No, no, insisted Queen Sheba, he’s an international celebrity, why they even devoted so much time to the likes of Dudus, and Buju is much bigger, much bigger.

But 73 people died in the process of extraditing Dudus, that’s why he was awarded so much international coverage, I tried to suggest, but the Queen wouldn’t be persuaded. The Jamaican media doesn’t cover Bollywood i said, but i can assure you it’s not because of a ‘media blackout’, its just lack of interest, after which i gave up because it was clear that nothing would appease Queen Sheba. I urged her to organize a worldwide Twitter campaign on Buju’s behalf and left it at that.

Of course the other fallout from the Buju saga is a certain amount of nervous paranoia expressed in jokes about the situation (A key piece of evidence produced against the singer was a conversation he had had with the passenger seated next to him on a flight from Madrid to Miami in which he bragged about his coke deals). Peter Dean Rickards, headed to the Trinidad & Tobago Film Festival, vouchsafed on Twitter that he was keeping his lips zipped on his flight to Trinidad and Tobago; another tweep @Grindacologist found himself trapped on a bus next to a garrulous Israeli. The following flock of tweets he issued that morning had us convulsed with laughter:

  1. Grindacologist Grindacologist
    Bredda a chat aff mi ears bout all di inventions that israelis did… Thu Sep 30 07:53:14 2010
  2. Grindacologist Grindacologist
    …wtf do I care…u see me bragging bout how blacks invented the hot comb & s curls kit… Thu Sep 30 07:54:31 2010
  3. Grindacologist Grindacologist
    …brown man invented mathematics enuh… Thu Sep 30 07:56:21 2010
  4. Grindacologist Grindacologist
    Wonda if dah bredda yah a Feds? Why him ah ask mi bout Jolly Roger’s Cookbook… Thu Sep 30 08:17:03 2010
  5. Grindacologist Grindacologist
    Dem a try get mi out like Buju… Thu Sep 30 08:17:30 2010
  6. Grindacologist Grindacologist
    Nooo…him a talk bout El Al airlines now…gad help me… Thu Sep 30 08:18:28 2010
  7. Grindacologist Grindacologist
    Mek mi jus gwaan smile and nad mi head… Thu Sep 30 08:24:05 2010
  8. Grindacologist Grindacologist
    RT @djflashTRINITY: @Grindacologist an him a jew it a setup grinda, dont tell him anything <— bredda a mossad enuh…him a try draw mi out Thu Sep 30 08:23:07 2010

Meanwhile the US courts seem determined to keep the Voice of Jamaica captive even though the jury was split down the middle (like Barbican Road) and couldn’t deliver a verdict. A new trial is slated for December. Sigh. It doesn’t look good for Jamaica’s beloved Rasta. He seems to have bad kismat. Hope he lives to rule his destiny once again.

Channeling Arundhati Roy…*Twirl*

The story behind the Twitter account in Arundhati Roy’s name…as told by the operator of the account.



So @arundhati_roy is no more. Today a Twitter campaign is afoot asking @Twitter how come twitter.com/Arundhati_Roy was suspended. The answer is simple. It was suspended because the account was set up and operated by someone other than the famous writer. A New York City based-graphic artist has claimed she was the one tweeting in Roy’s name and as she herself put it “I wish @arundhati_roy was coming back, too…but being too much like her is misleading apparently…”

I don’t remember exactly when the Twitter account in the novelist’s name began transmitting but when I started following her she had less than 50 followers. She surprised me with how adept she seemed to be at manipulating the medium for I had always imagined that Roy might be somewhat hostile to new technologies, considering her sustained and caustic critique of the exigencies of market capitalism.

After all wasn’t it she, in the astoundingly successful God of Small Things, who had lamented the Procrustean packaging of Kathakali, Kerala’s epic performance artform, into byte-sized morsels that tourists could fit into their schedules?

In the evenings (for that Regional Flavor) the tourists were treated to truncated kathakali performances (`Small attention spans,” the Hotel People explained to the dancers). So ancient stories were collapsed and amputated. Six-hour classics were slashed to twenty-minute cameos.

But there was something about @arundhati_roy’s tweets that made me certain this was the writer herself. I actually quoted her tweets in 3 different posts. Her bio read: I’m bored with globalisation. You can see it in my face. I, alone, am Moral, lest, Moral-Less, More or Less. Amor, alas… It was her way with words, her verbal economy, her taut, tart wit that I imagined I recognized; it made me write the following, now eminently cringeworthy, paragraph:

People seemed to doubt that it was really her but i didn’t need persuading, I recognized her voice immediately. “Flags are bits of coloured cloth that governments use to first, shrink wrap people’s brains and then as ceremonial shrouds to bury the dead.” “Little events, ordinary things, smashed and reconstituted. Imbued with new meaning. Suddenly they become the bleached bones of a story.” And something i profoundly agree with her on: “Democracy is the biggest scam in the world.” Last week Thursday Roy only had 75 or so followers, today its 905. Let’s see how many more she attracts by the time she really gets going.

That was in April. By the time the account was suspended in August it had approximately 9000 followers.

I wanted to get 10k…then I was going to quit it and say, Up yours, @KanchanGupta. I don’t even know who he is, but he’s just been an ass@JonBenetRamsey told me via Twitter’s direct message (DM) feature saying that she, or the person behind her pseudonym (Twitter bio: If you love me *twirl* with me. No pageantry here. Just high fashion sheeit *smacks ass and stomps away* *twirl* and *wink*), was the one who had operated the account. She DM-ed me after my post  ‘A Voice for the Voiceless’: @Arundhati_Roy vs Arundhati Roy was published.

In the days leading up to the account’s suspension @KanchanGupta (editor of North Indian newspaper The Pioneer) had been ferocious: @Arundhati_Roy Pakistan wants you. Pakistan needs you. Won’t you rise to the occasion and buy a one-way ticket to the promised land? Another tweeter who relentlessly hounded @arundhati_roy was @Shonatwits.

Funnily enough it was one of @arundhati_roy’s tweets featuring Kanchan Gupta that had previously persuaded me that this was actually the writer Arundhati Roy. Months ago the crusty editor had engaged in an exchange of tweets with @arundhati_roy that sounded positively flirtatious by the end of it. There was talk of meeting up for drinks with @Arundhati_Roy purring We must. You look like a dark liquor on the rocks kind of man…

It was her, i thought, she’s trying to disarm her critics; for no one could have been a harsher and more dismissive anti-Roy voice than Kanchan Gupta. And here he was seemingly eating out of her hands. I was filled with admiration.

“She’s a fake,” urged the sensible voice of Bombay-based @rimeswithcya, “though she does have a sense of humour”. How do you know i asked? One of her tweets was a quote from Bono, she replied.

Well, @rimeswithcya was right. When i eventually got to interrogate @arundhati_roy’s author about some of the mystifying non sequiturs she tweeted in the waning days of the account she admitted: I made a habit of quoting pop/rock songs in the final stages of that account…What Roy writes I see in America, where I live. I’m in NYC…

So, thank you for all your kind words about @Arundhati_Roy…She was truly my finest creation…*twirl* said @JonBenetRamsey when i first heard directly from her via Twitter. Her trademark aside–*twirl*–is an ironic reference to the modelling career of the precocious American child beauty queen, Jon Benet Ramsey, brutally murdered at her Colorado home in 1996.

I asked her to tell me more about why she chose @Arundhati_Roy as her Twitter handle. I have read everything by Arundhati Roy…She’s fantastic. But when I started the account, I wanted to make it more of a tribute… When the initial hate mail came in, it was a little unexpected. I was kind of alarmed, and didn’t know how to respond, except obviously… But, yes, I did quote U2 Sunday, Bloody Sunday. It was genius. And thanks for saying I was good at being Roy’s twitterer. I honestly thought she wouldn’t mind, to be honest. And I refused to say anything too off the mark.

Twitter just suspended the account. It was pretty clear I wasn’t her & she probably had a lawyer communicate impersonation. It’s upsetting. It’s interesting bc I was gonna do inspirational quotes, but I discovered a perspective that alarmed me, & the accnt became an experiment. The Naxal Movement is new to me for the most part.

I particularly like watching her on YouTube. She’s beautiful and intelligent. And generous. And a little haughty. Thus the bio line.

I asked @JonBenetRamsey about the mysterious image she had tweeted the link to one day. Was it tiny children’s toys on a chapati? an appam? a dosa? as various tweeters had speculated at the time?

…the image is of a family farm in Pakistan after the flood…So sad… I saw the image, and I wanted to just put it out there. We got such a reaction to Haiti’s earthquake, but this ended up having three times more damage…but where were the televised charities and such? Nothing here, really. Just more anti-Muslim rhetoric…which sickens me…

How did she manage to get the tone so right so often, i asked.

If i wanted to reply to someone, and sound accurate, i would refurbish a quote from her. Because she’s always very consistent. Easy, too… I love Arundhati Roy. I don’t think people understand how she thinks because people aren’t ready to admit their own privileges happen to…..exist at the expense of another person, or group of people. That’s why she said that the American way of life is unsustainable……and that way of life, democracy, is becoming synonymous with so many terms, including capitalism and sometimes christian……It’s a new way of waging war & creating empires…by allying yourself with like nations…and that’s why some injustices go unreported…

…She’s very consistent. And I can usually apply things she’s written about, say, Palestine to the Maoist conflict. I mean, ultimately…that dialogue is going to be an even more religiously based conversation between the indian public and the media. Anti-Muslim rhetoric… Have you read The Family? It’s amazing, I suggest it. It’s about evangelical Christianity and American Democracy…

I asked if the hostile tweets that came pouring in were responses to @arundhati_roy’s tweets or to the real life position and actions of the Indian writer and activist (see here for some of these tweets). Roy’s engagement with Maoists and Pakistan, which she visited in 2009, have earned her the wrath of quite a few Indians.

The hostile comments I received were usually responses to things people had heard about her, whether from the news or other bloggers……I always received things like, “What if your mother was on that train the Maoists bombed?” or something similar, and I’d routinely be……villified. People weren’t ever satisfied. Why are you worrying about Pakistan when this happened in Kashmir? She had to point out……every wrong, or she seemed like a fake activist. & that’s a lot of responsibility 2 put on 1 person, who isn’t even into policy making…

Did she feel a sense of loss at losing the account so suddenly? Did she have an account in her own name as well?

…And I don’t feel loss really for the account. I never suspected it’d get suspended, tho. It was an experiment in language. I loved it. i also have a twitter account in my own name…it’s kept private…few private details…@JonBenetRamsey is my release…Since I’m like a little girl…

*Twirl* i could almost add…

Well, there you have it, @arundhati_roy was certainly a fake, but the most empathetic, persuasive fake you could come across, a fascinating character in her own right. The woman who operated the account seemed to be performing Arundhati Roy, channeling her even. And I for one miss her tweets.

Immediately below are three tweets in which she quoted song lyrics along with info on the songs themselves. They’re great songs, I enjoyed listening to them, especially Kate Bush’s Wuthering Heights…

I am in love with what we are, and not what we “should” be. And I am. I am starstruck with every part of this whole story.
Kesha (Animal)

Lost inside.
Adorable illusion and I cannot hide.
I’m the one you’re using, please don’t push me aside.

Blondie (Heart of Glass)

Bad dreams in the night, they told me I was going to lose the fight. Leave behind my wuthering heights
Kate Bush (Wuthering Heights)

When I feel like I don’t belong, draw the strength from the words when you said, Hey, It’s about you, baby. Look deeper inside you, baby
Janet Jackson, (Together Again)

POSTSCRIPT:

Since posting this @jonbenetramsey has informed me that she’s a guy. ok, this is entirely my fault, I leapt to the conclusion that the account holder was a woman–social conditioning? myopia? who knows why?–and never actually posed that question. I like that you think i’m a girl. lols. he tweeted after reading my post. To my chagrined response he tweeted the following:

Lol…I’m a gay man…But a young one. That’s why I think the flirtation between me and Kanchan Gupta was hilarious…he’s so Brokeback…

What can i say? Everyday i learn a hundred new things through Twitter! Highly recommend, it’s the twenty-first century version of a free education.

Patty Bandits in Paradise…#ironymuch

Robbery at Juici Patties in Kingston, Jamaica, hostage situation defused, how it was discussed on Twitter

Juici sent patties to Haiti after the earthquake

What an irony that the very day after Playboy magazine asked me to expand on my statement “In Jamaica farce, intrigue and tragedy remain inextricably intertwined” (Don’t worry–re Playboy–ALL will be revealed in due course) another farcical scenario played itself out in downtown Kingston when armed men took over the Juici Patty outlet on West Street.

@pd_rickards was tickled. lol who would rob a patty shop? <Pattybandits he tweeted. When I was a kid they used to call me Patty Bandit..and seet deh now it come to pass. 8:48 PM Sep 4th. they would bring box of patty home and bam..3 gone..ppl seh..’Is peter dean dweet uno..him is the patty bandit. 9:03 PM Sep 4th.

Meanwhile @JustSherman joined in the commentary: Hostage situation at A Patty Shop, Sounds like something written by @PD_Rickards but sadly true, Lord deliver us.

Details are still sketchy; it was only last night that what rapidly became known as “the hostage situation” developed like a hurriedly-formed hurricane which huffed and puffed but ultimately kept from blowing the house down. I was up in Stony Hill listening to Kate Bush sing Wuthering Heights over and over when i saw the first tweet about hostages being released in downtown Kingston.

I blinked. Had i fallen asleep and woken up in a Bollywood film? Or was this a nightmare in which life was trying to invade the reality show we’ve become? In response to my query as to whether this might be a b-grade Bollywood flick @ drewonline said: that would involve a dance routine on king street ma’am so no it’s not a Bollywood movie it’s a Jamaican farce–:-(

Turn on the TV, turn on the TV, everyone yelled when i announced that my Twitter feed was indicating that people were being held hostage at Juici Patty on West Street. Of course once again real life was quick to intrude. We were in Kingston, Jamaica, not some place with real television stations that report what’s occurring AS it’s occurring around us. Both major local stations were replaying American TV series and there was no live coverage of the potentially deadly drama. As @ArnoldKer said in disbelief: #nowwatching Gossip Girl on TVJ while hostages are being held downtown. How awesome is this!

The inevitable reference to the erstwhile reign of Dudus was made: Likkle bwoy cyan manage bigman work. Now dem know how Presi work did hard and Dem waan do Don work and cyan manage it. They should have tried to co-op the System into regular governance and then use an diffuse it. The latter makes eminent sense for as the same tweeter pointed out: Tivoli was the only “ghetto” with Moneygram, Claro, Digicel, Lime and numerous small and large businesses that were profitable and safe.

Hopefully the international media won’t get hold of this, someone said. I thought events in Barbados where six people were killed in the process of a robbery in Bridgetown were likely to distract attention away from Kingston, where nobody has been killed after all. The farce continued to unfurl; after a tense standoff police orchestrated an invasion of the building only to find the armed men long gone by the time they broke in. Said @DLee876: Welcome to #Jamaica, where police surround a building and yet ALL the criminals inside escape. hahahahah #sadbutfunny.

So the gunmen freed themselves under the guise of being hostages? asked @cucumberjuice.

That was when @drewonline memorably declared: Sometimes i believe we are all hostages inna patty shop (that has a beach, a soundtrack and people who run really fast) #ironymuch

Interestingly it was only a few days ago that there was a situation at another patty shop, Sugar & Spice, in Liguanea. I don’t think it even made the local news because i never did hear the details of it tho’ my twitter feed showed photos of police cars blocking one of the Liguanea plazas and there were rumours of bullets being fired. It is said that a woman who had gone to the bank next door before deciding on a patty for lunch was robbed of J$800,000. But honestly who knows for sure? In the information age crucial information is frequently withheld in Jamaica; its like wading through a perpetual smog.

The hashtag in front of words means that the tweet in question will be filed under those terms in the global twitter feed. For example #nowwatching is usually appended to tweets announcing what movie, TV show or video the person is watching at the time. #sadbutfunny had one quite poignant tweet: hard enough being the slow kid but needing a reminder for drivers not to run you over is just #sadbutfunny http://twitpic.com/2lf035. Another example, this one from Sept 1 @rpugh Discovery Channel gunman James Jay Lee called 4 TV shows promoting war be removed. Holding hostages at gunpoint. #ironymuch

Alas it’s true, we’re all hostages in a patty shop. There’s no escaping it. Jamaica 2010. #ironymuch