Riyadh International Book Fair. "Last night I went to a panel on cultural diversity, and I have enjoyed a very good discussion. The panel was done the Saudi style, with the only female speaker Dr. Khairia Al-Saggaf talking from another room, where we could not see her but only listen to her voice." "Shiites were the subject of a hot debate at the end of the panel, when Dr. Khaled Al-Dakheel said that Shiites are part of us. This was the point where the panel went out of control. Before Al-Dakheel was able to complete that sentence, a Sheikh from the first row interrupted and told Dr. Al-Dakheel that Shiites are not Muslims, and that he has to say this."
The brouhaha that erupted in Britain last month when it was learned that the prestigious Booker Prize might be opened to American writers by 2004, displays a British inferiority complex and underscores the remarkable persistence of preconceptions that Britain and the United States hold about each other. But it's about ideas and styles and even language being swapped and appropriated across the globe. It's about artists picking from a smorgasbord of techniques and influences to try to get a handle on an increasingly fragmented and cacophonous reality, and in doing so creating a new wave of writing that is richer for its multicultural mingling of styles and voices, its voracious mixing of the high and low, the cerebral and street-smart, the old and the new. Just like in MeFi.
What We Think of America Twenty-four writers drawn from many countries describe the part America has played in their lives—for better or worse—and deliver their estimate of the good and the bad it has done as the world's supreme political, military, economic and cultural power.