Get over it, America!

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The Picture of Dorian Gray – Painting by Ivan Albright – 1943
Based on the novel The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde (1891)
Photo Credit: Wikipedia

 

Get over it, America! I’m doing nothing wrong. It’s all legitimate. It’s what privileged families and corporations have been doing for generations. Because we can. Money can buy anything and anyone. 

Get over it, America! For generations, our corporations have expanded across the world, exploiting, and amassing wealth so that you can live the American Dream. 

Get over it, America! I’m the only one who can save America from its enemies. I’m the chosen one. I’m a stable genius. I know what’s best for America. Don’t believe the fake news: It’s a witch hunt.  

 

Instead of draining the swamp in Washington DC, as promised, our president has forced us into the swamp with him. He exposes the foul depths of the soul of our nation—much like The Picture of Dorian Gray—in which we the body politic are co-conspirators by our complicity, negligence, or silence. Hate disfigures our countenance. Cruelty shrivels our heart. Greed drags us down to the deep.

There’s no getting over the onslaught we now face daily. But we can say, “enough.” We can seek the light of reason, truth, and justice.    

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“A Simple Man” – Poem by Caribbean Poet Ian McDonald

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Front Cover: People of Guyana by Ian McDonald and Peter Jailall
Photo Credit: MiddleRoad Publishers/Canada

 

My Poetry Corner October 2019 features the poem “A Simple Man” by Ian McDonald from the joint poetry collection, People of Guyana, by Ian McDonald and Peter Jailall. Born in the Caribbean island of Trinidad in 1933, Ian McDonald is a poet, novelist, dramatist, and non-fiction writer. After moving to then British Guiana in 1955, he made his home there. Today, he lives partly in his adopted homeland and partly in Canada.

Born into a white family of power and privilege, the young Ian fell in love with literature and writing as a schoolboy. In 1955, after graduating from Cambridge University in England with a Bachelor’s Honors Degree in History, he began working with Bookers Ltd., then owners of the British Guiana sugar estates. When the company was nationalized in 1976, McDonald remained as the Administrative Director of the newly formed Guyana Sugar Corporation until his retirement in 1999.

On one of those days while working with Guyana’s sugar estates, McDonald visited Betty, a former sugarcane laborer, “an old woman in a run-down logie room,” to get details for her resettlement. In his heart-wrenching poem, “Betty,” the poet captures her long life of deprivation, forgotten by society.

she said her life was nothing to her
she said all women’s lives were as nothing
no one had been pleased when she was born
she was sure of that boys were princes 

Once married, she had been abandoned by her husband for another woman, eventually ending up “with old women in this place.” Betty didn’t want to move. They were the only people she knew. Continue reading

More Praise for UNDER THE TAMARIND TREE: A NOVEL

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French Canadian blogger Sha’Tara, blogging at Burning Woman, has posted the following review of my novel Under the Tamarind Tree on my blog: 

I finished reading “Under the Tamarind Tree” last night, or should I say early this morning. I was halfway through when I began reading last night and past midnight there were still a hundred pages to go so I shut down and got ready for bed but I couldn’t let go of the story, got up, booted up and read until I got to the end. Must have been about 2:00 AM.
What a story! So well told. One doesn’t need to be back-grounded in Guyana history to read your novel, the history tells itself throughout. The characters are believable and constant. What a movie your story would make.
Your novel is a “can’t put it down” writing. I’ve read thousands of novels over the years as time constraints forced me to learn speed reading and I can tell you that “Under the Tamarind Tree” ranks up there with the best of them if not actually at the very top. I’m amazed, honestly. I know I shouldn’t be but this took me like a whirlwind. Only one thing disappointed me: it ended way too soon.
Thank you for opening a window of life on another part of the planet I know so little about.
Posted on October 9, 2019

 

I have also received the following e-mail from Amanda Khan, a Guyanese American, who received a copy of my novel as a gift.

Wonderful Book!

Amanda Khan <e-mail address>
Thu 10/10/2019 3:13 PM 

Hi Rosaliene Bacchus! I enjoyed your book “Under the Tamarind Tree” very much. I loved the simplicity of the story. It brought back so much memories to me. I couldn’t put the book down. I love Richard lol A man that loved his wife unconditionally, he was determined to accomplish his dreams no matter what. He acknowledged when he was wrong yet he kept pressing on towards his goals. The humor in this book is outrageous! I love it. Well done Rosaliene Bacchus!  

Amanda

 

I appreciate all the wonderful and positive responses about my debut novel. My protagonist Richard Cheong would be very pleased 🙂

 

The Writer’s Life: Juggling Priorities

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Since entering the world of book publishing, marketing and sales, I’m now engaged in a daily battle of juggling priorities. My focus has become so scattered that I’ve fallen behind with my writing projects. Hopefully, I’ll come up soon with a new working schedule that would provide some balance and reduce my stress.

It’s not all bad, though. At our writers’ critique group meeting on September 4th, I presented a copy of my novel to the owner of Gloria’s Café. For the past five years, our group has been meeting once monthly at Gloria’s where we enjoy their Mexican and Salvadoran cuisine.

Rosaliene presenting copy of novel to Gloria, owner of Gloria’s Café
West Los Angeles – Southern California – September 4, 2019

 

My thanks go out to blogger, Larry “Dutch” Woller On The Path Least Traveled, for purchasing my novel.

Blogger Larry “Dutch” Woller
Photo Credit: On The Path Least Traveled Blog

 

More thanks go to the Iranian Canadian, award-winning author, Laleh Chini, for her five-star rating and review of my novel. Here’s her praise for Under the Tamarind Tree: A Novel on Amazon:

5.0 out of 5 stars What a great read.
October 1, 2019
Format: Kindle Edition
What a great read dear Rosaline, well, of course, I wasn’t surprised after being your blog’s fan. You deserve the five stars indeed.
Lalehchini.com
 

The eBook version of my novel, Under the Tamarind Tree, is now available at the following distribution outlets:

Rosaliene’s Store at Lulu

Amazon Kindle

Barnes & Noble Nook

Rakuten Kobo

I’m awaiting news from my publisher about the resolution of an issue preventing distribution to Apple’s iBookstore. Continue reading

Earth in Crisis: We need another narrative

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There is no wealth on a dead planet
Global Climate Strike 2019 – New York City – USA
Photo Credit: Common Dreams

 

On Friday, September 20, 2019, millions of young people and supporting adults in more than 150 countries took part in the Global Climate Strike, calling on decision-makers to take immediate action to address our global climate crisis. I’m heartened that sixteen-year-old, Swedish environmentalist activist, Greta Thunberg, has awakened our youth to the future that awaits them.

“It’s just not the young people’s house,” Thunberg told the thousands of participants gathered in New York City. “We all live here. It affects all of us. Why should we study for a future that is being taken away from us? That is being stolen for profit? Some people say we should study to become climate scientists or politicians, so that we can, in the future, solve the climate crisis. But by then, it will be too late. We need to do this now.” (Emphasis mine.)

Three days later, at the United Nations Climate Action Summit 2019, the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, in his opening remarks, reminded the global decision-makers present:

“The climate emergency is a race we are losing, but it is a race we can win. This is not a climate talk summit. We have had enough talk. This is not a climate negotiation summit. You don’t negotiate with nature. This is a climate action summit.” (Emphasis mine.) Continue reading

“Mexican Heaven” – Poem by Mexican American Poet José Olivarez

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Front Cover: Poetry Collection, Citizen Illegal by José Olivarez

 

My Poetry Corner September 2019 features the poem “Mexican Heaven” from the poetry collection Citizen Illegal (Haymarket Books, 2018) by José Olivarez, a poet, teacher, and poetry slam performer. Born in Calumet City on the south side of Chicago, Illinois, he is the son of Mexican immigrants. Despite all the odds, he earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Harvard University.

Olivarez’s first contact with poetry occurred through his high school’s poetry slam team. Their poetry had a profound impact on him. In a conversation with Jessica Hopper in July 2018, Olivarez said, “It made me feel like I could question more.” For the first time, he saw a way of becoming his true self, other than the reserved person everyone wanted him to be.

In his poem, “I Tried to Be a Good Mexican Son,” he shares his parents’ disappointment that he didn’t become a doctor, lawyer, or businessman.

I even went to college. But i studied African American studies which is not
The Law or The Medicine or The Business. my mom still loved me.
[…]
i tried to be a good Mexican son. Went to a good college & learned depression isn’t just for white people…
Continue reading

11 September 2001: “Guyanese Roll Call” by Peter Jailall

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Caribbean immigrants remember loved ones at the 9/11 memorial on September 11, 2018
Photo Credit: News Americas

 

On September 11, we will remember all those we have lost on that ill-fated day when a terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in New York City turned the world-famous landmark into rubble.

I was living in Brazil when the tragedy occurred, sending a tsunami across the world. More than ninety other nations also lost loved ones that day, including three Brazilian-Americans and twenty-six Guyanese-Americans.

In his poem, “Guyanese Roll Call,” Guyanese-Canadian poet Peter Jailall remembers his twenty-six countrymen and women who died on that day. Their American Dream had been suddenly cut short.

Listen to our roll call
Of those who died
On that dreadful September day,
Following their American Dream: 

Patrick Adams
Leslie Arnold Austin
Rudy Bacchus
Kris Romeo Bishundauth
Pamela Boyce
Annette Datarom
Babita Guman
Nizam Hafiz
Ricknauth Jhagganauth
Charles Gregory Jolin
Bowanie Devi Kemraj
Sarab Khan
Amerdauth Luchman
Shevonne Meutis
Narendra Nath
Marcus Neblett
Hardai Parbhu
Ameena Rasool
Shiv Sankar
Sita Sewnarine
Karini Singh
Rosham Singh
Astrid Sohan
Joyce Stanton
Patricia Staton
Vanava Thompson 

These are our dedicated,
Hard-working country people,
Who travelled from South to North
To savour just a small bite
Of the Big Apple. 

We will always remember them.

Source: Poetry Collection, People of Guyana by Ian McDonald and Peter Jailall, MiddleRoad Publishers, Canada, 2018.

 

While violent anti-immigrant activism spread across America, let us remember that Guyanese and other Caribbean immigrant families also share our nation’s grief for loved ones lost on September 11, 2001.

 


Peter Jailall is a teacher, poet, and storyteller. He has published five books of poetry. In 2011, he received the Marty’s Award for Established Literary Arts in Mississauga, Ontario, where he lives. Since his retirement, Jailall has conducted workshops on Poetry Writing in schools across Guyana and Canada.

Under the Tamarind Tree – a Review by Trev Sue-A-Quan

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Under the Tamarind Tree is a story of outsider influences. Richard Cheong, the main character, finds himself influenced by attitudes and events beyond his control. There is an outside child in the family – a boy whose very existence causes a divide between family members. Some are filled with resentment that this male child could be receiving financial benefits and privileges that are traditionally retained within a nuclear family. The animosity among some siblings leads to actions of a life-threatening nature. Richard himself perpetuates some of the conflicts by tenuously holding on to the glorious tradition of fathering a son of his own. With this objective entrenched in his mind, his wife Gloria gives birth to a fourth child but he dies at childbirth and this results in considerable friction within his family.

Through their ancestries, Richard and Gloria carry the customs and religious beliefs from five of the six peoples that constitute the country of Guyana. These diverse tenets lead to decisions by individuals that are difficult for even their closest loved ones to accept. A child’s wish to change religion brings intolerance from parents. The mother bearing an out-of-wedlock child is rejected by her family, while the sacredness of marriage is questioned when a partner feels that true love for an outsider overrules the stigma of adultery.

Adding to the contradictions among family members, the Cheongs find themselves caught in a greater conflict arising from the political changes leading to the country’s independence from Britain. The leaders of the political parties rally support based on racial and economic interests. Their influences result in some serious racial clashes between the people of African and East Indian heritage, representing the vast majority of the population. Even friends and family members of the Cheongs are instigators or perpetrators of violence, as well as being victims. Although standing as outsiders, Britain, as the presiding colonial power, and the United States, as the regional superpower, bring pressure to influence the direction that an independent Guyana would take, with determination that it should not become a country with a communist ideology.

Through these multiple influences, Richard and Gloria Cheong are challenged by both their individual set of values and the unfolding events that affect their family and business affairs. Under the Tamarind Tree weaves an intricate account of human interactions based on a personal, family-based, religious and national themes and is one with a uniquely Guyanese flavor.

 

Trev Sue-A-Quan was born in Georgetown, Guyana and attended Queen’s College. In 1969 he gained his Ph.D. degree in Chemical Engineering at the University of Birmingham, England. Besides his engineering career he has researched historical events related to Chinese immigration to Guyana. Based on his findings he has written three books describing the history of the Chinese Guyanese, covering their initial arrival as indentured laborers in the mid-19th century, their adaptation as residents in the new land and the experiences of their descendants as migrants to other countries. Trev now resides in Vancouver, Canada.
Learn More: Chinese in Guyana: Their Roots

 


Dear Reader, my debut novel, Under the Tamarind Tree, is now available at Rosaliene’s Store on Lulu.com and other book retailers at Amazon, BAM! Book-A-Million, Barnes and Noble, Book Depository, and Indie Bound.
Learn more about Under the Tamarind Tree at Rosaliene’s writer’s website.

Mother forgive us. We know not what we do.

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Map of Active Fires in the Amazon Basin – Brazil – August 27, 2019
Photo Credit: BBC News

 

Brazil’s Amazon rainforest is under attack. So far this year, she has received nearly 75,000 stab wounds, setting the targeted areas ablaze. Seventy-five thousand! Her belching smoke trails turned daylight into darkness over Brazil’s largest city, some 1,677 miles away. How many trees and the non-human lives they sustain have we humans condemned to ashes? For what?

Some arsonists are loggers, raping the forest for more wood to feed global demand. Others want easy access to the mineral wealth—gold, diamonds, iron-ore, and bauxite. Most of them are land-grabbers. They covet the land for raising more cattle and expanding soybean cultivation for animal feed production. We are trading the Amazon rainforest to satiate our taste for beef.

The Amazon Basin, regarded as the ‘Lungs of Earth,’ absorbs about 25 percent of Earth’s total carbon dioxide emissions and releases oxygen into the atmosphere. What could go wrong? Continue reading

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Global Bipolar Disorder — Green Life Blue Water

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Pam Lazos, writing at Green Life Blue Water, observes the signs of climate change around her in Central Pennsylvania. Troubled by the “unknown unknown,” using the  “tortured phraseology” of former Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, she calls on us to face reality and cure our global bipolar disorder.

We all know the truth: it’s time for an intervention.  We can help Mother Nature deal with her issues because we are her issues.  The government is not going to save us and neither are the aliens, in case you were wondering.  The only ones who can save us are us.  It’s time to do what we do best as a country — solve problems, innovate, lead so others might follow.  The payoff — as if saving the planet and ourselves wasn’t enough — is that there’s a heck of a lot of money to be made in green technology, but first, we need to cure our global bipolar disorder and think things through in rational, logical terms.

Read her complete post at Global Bipolar Disorder — Green Life Blue Water