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Tag: Jews

Fiction writers outside the pale

Sunday, 24 May, 2015 0 Comments

Quote: “As a writer one doesn’t belong anywhere. Fiction writers, I think, are even more outside the pale, necessarily on the edge of society. Because society and people are our meat, one really doesn’t belong in the midst of society. The great challenge in writing is always to find the universal in the local, the parochial. And to do that, one needs distance.” William Trevor, who was born on this day in 1928 in Mitchelstown, County Cork, the Republic of Ireland.

William Trevor was born in this house in Mitchelstown, County Cork, the Republic of Ireland on 24 May 1928.

Language: The “pale” William Trevor refers to comes from the Latin palus, a stake driven into the ground and, by extension, a fence made of such stakes. The word “pole” comes from the same source, as do impale, paling and palisade. The Pale in Ireland was the area around and about Dublin which England controlled directly in the 15th century, and the English Pale in France was the territory of Calais, the last Crown possession in that country. The Russian Pale consisted of specified districts within which Jews were required to live between 1791 and 1917.

The Warmth of Other Suns

Friday, 16 January, 2015 0 Comments

In 2014, more than 276,000 people immigrated to Europe illegally. That’s almost 140 percent more than in 2013, according to figures published by the EU. The most of these migrants sailed across the Mediterranean, and the newest method of trafficking them is cruel and effective. The smugglers buy cargo ships from scrapyards, pack hundreds of people onto them and collect thousands of dollars from every one. Then, in the middle of the Mediterranean, the captain sets the auto-pilot for Italy and jumps ship.


Isabel Wilkerson addresses the mass movement of people in the The Warmth of Other Suns and while her focus is the American South during the 20th Century, the eloquent conclusion she reaches is universal:

“The migration was a response to an economic and social structure not of their making. They did what humans have done for centuries when life became untenable — what the pilgrims did under the tyranny of British rule, what the Scotch-Irish did in Oklahoma when the land turned to dust, what the Irish did when there was nothing to eat, what the European Jews did during the spread of Nazism, what the landless in Russia, Italy, China, and elsewhere did when something better across the ocean called to them. What binds these stories together was the back-against-the-wall, reluctant yet hopeful search for something better, any place but where they were. They did what human beings looking for freedom, throughout history, have often done.
They left.”

The warmth of sun