A critique (second of three) by Karim Hirji of articles in AwaaZ Volume 15, Issue 2 2018.
VS Naipul - Obituary
There is no question in my mind that Naipul was a prolific literary giant who well deserved the Nobel Prize in Literature. His ability to craft elegant prose was equaled by only a few of his peers. Yet, I am no fan of Naipul and have read only a couple of his novels. My attraction towards an influential author whose books are interpreted as commentaries on society, past or present, stems from their style as well as substance. And it is in terms of the latter aspect that Naipul’s books did not sit well with me.
By Yuri Prasad
Racial prejudice forces us to define ourselves with categories that it has created writes Yuri Prasad.
Identity is intrinsic to our very being and poses vital questions: who we think we are; what defines us; who we believe we are connected to — and perhaps as importantly, who we are not, and who we do not feel connected to. It’s not hard to see how such notions become intertwined with those of race, community, ethnicity, and nation.
London Calling by Ramnik Shah
The British criminal justice system is in dire straits and in need of radical reform. This does not, let me hasten to say, apply to the fundamentals of the finest traditions of English law, independence of the judiciary, professional excellence of the judges and lawyers, and of the legal institutions generally – all of which were extolled to us as subjects of the former British Empire and which formed part of Kenya`s colonial inheritance.
No, what I am talking about here is the working of the system (in the criminal sphere) in practice in a number of areas. Currently the most concerning is a recent spate of cases involving high profile individuals wrongly accused of heinous crimes that have exposed serious wrongdoing or at least questionable conduct on the part of the authorities. These have been characterised by excessive police zeal in terms of overindulgence of complainants and demonization of suspects, and even failure of the prosecution service to evaluate the evidence objectively, fuelling intense media speculation and suggestion of guilt by innuendo of the unfortunate accused.
The cases of the singer Sir Cliff Richard and broadcaster Paul Gambaccini are too well known to need much elaboration. Each of them was falsely accused, circa 2013/14, of historical sexual crimes and kept in suspense for a long time before being cleared. The point is that they had never been charged and their names should not have been brought into the public domain. It was the police`s mishandling of the allegations against them that had led to such unwarranted disclosure.