Monday, September 24, 2012
I finished the book News of a Kidnapping by Nobel Prize winning author Gabriel Garcia Marquez this last week. I read it to get a perspective on the kidnapping in Colombia that was, and still is, a problem in that country. It is a non-fiction book detailing the experience of several kidnapped people and their families' efforts to free them in the days of Pablo Escobar. It was very informative but sometimes hard to follow if you have no prior knowledge of the political system in Colombia. The author is Colombian, by the way.
There were a few interesting points made, I'll quote the first directly. . . . ."a human tragedy for which the consuming nations bore primary responsibility." It seems that the slant here in the States is to blame the southern countries for the drug problem when demand for drugs begins here. A point contradicted, understandably, by the author. For there to be a product, there has to be a demand for it, although I would have to weigh in that the blame should be shared.
The next mind-boggling fact was the amount of violence in Colombia. In contrast to Chicago, which has been making headlines for the murder count, the city of Medellin in the first two months of 1991 had 1200 murders! These were the days of Pablo Escobar, who paid adolescents from the slums to kill police.
One thing that I found interesting was that although the conditions were difficult, the women held hostage were not harmed physically. Here in the States I can't think of one kidnapping case that was not sexually motivated, while in South America these kidnappings are used as political leverage or for money.
I'm currently reading a book that I got as a free download titled All Roads Lead to Austen and I can't put it down! It has so many elements that I can relate to. The author, Amy Smith, is an expert on Jane Austen, with a PhD and a professor position in a university. She travels to Central and South America discussing Austen's books with groups of people in six countries for their take on the novels. I love Jane Austen, and I've been enjoying how she integrates the cultures of the local people into her experience.
Any books you'd like to share? I'd recommend both of these.