The reverberations. Not the rumbles, the reverberations. The death of Muhammad Ali will undoubtedly move people's minds to his epic boxing matches against Joe Frazier, George Foreman, or there will be retrospectives about his epic “rumbles” against racism and war. But it's the reverberations that we have to understand in order to see Muhammad Ali as what he remains: the most important athlete to ever live. It's the reverberations that are our best defense against real-time efforts to pull out his political teeth and turn him into a harmless icon suitable for mass consumption.
I just returned to the United States from Rio de Janeiro, where I was researching a story on the Olympics in August for The Nation. People spoke to me about the displacement and police violence that are accompanying the games. Yet one of the hottest points of discussion emerged from outside the country: a call to move, or at least postpone, the Olympics to prevent the global expansion of the Zika virus, currently exploding in Rio.
A long political campaign in the south Indian state of Kerala has again been played out according to the pattern followed for the last few decades. The Communist party of India-Marxist (CPI-M)-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) defeated the incumbent Indian National Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) in May 19 elections. The elections continued the state’s recent history of swinging between the UDF and the LDF. The two fronts have alternated in power since 1982.
United We Can. United We Can — the united ticket made up of Podemos, the United Left, the green party Equo and three broader alliances in Catalonia, Galicia and the Valencian Country — is campaigning in the June 26 Spanish general elections on a plan to reverse economic austerity.
Protest in Rojava against exclusion of Kurdish-led democratic forces from negotiations in Geneva, March 30. Photo: Hawar News Agency. The Syrian Kurds and allied communities declared their areas the “Federation of Northern Syria and Rojava” on March 17, and announced that democratic federalism is a viable alternative to the detrimental politics of both the Syrian regime and the jihadist opposition.
In May 1939 the St Louis, carried 935 Jews seeking asylum from Nazi Germany. Many countries refused to let them in, including the US, which used coast guard ships to stop the St Louis from docking. Eventually they were forced to return to Europe, and most of the passengers died in the Holocaust they were fleeing.
“Bernie! Bernie! Bernie!” the lady from California enthusiastically chanted down the phone. Some 12,000 kilometres away on a couch in Sydney, I started to chant too. It was infectious. Mathis, in the middle of his own phone call, grinned from across the room. So did Marcus and Alannah. I would soon learn this sort of thing happened quite a bit when calling US voters on behalf of Bernie Sanders.
Chief minister of the Northern Provincial Council, CV Wigneswaran, addressing a commemorative event at Mullivaikkal, May 18. Photo: Tamil Guardian. Tamils throughout the north and east of the island of Sri Lanka held ceremonies on May 18 to remember those who died in the genocidal war waged by the Sri Lankan Army against the Tamil people.
When I began full-time work in the late 1980s, the working day began and ended at the same time every day. Any change to the routine meant overtime, paid at time-and-a-half or more. Even a delay in the regular lunch break meant overtime paid until the work stopped. Now, for many, overtime payments are a thing of the past and Patricia Forsyth and the Sydney Chamber of Commerce want to make the working day even more “flexible” — but at whose expense?
Agustin Otxotorena, a Basque executive living in Caracas, grew tired of constant calls from friends and relatives in Spain telling him that there was no food in Venezuela. So on May 20, he began publishing photos on Facebook of supermarkets in upscale sectors of Caracas filled with goods.