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An Evening With Arundhati Roy

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Arundhati Roy
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I missed the fireworks shooting into the sky this year, but instead, listened to some pyrotechnic ideas from Arundhati Roy, at a talk she gave tonight, to the 2015 Socialism conference.
Starting off talking about Independence day, she remarked, "I mourn the birth of all nations," then talked a bit about nationalism.

Asked about what she's writing now, she replied, "I'm writing fiction now because I don't know how else to say what I want to say... I've gathered a lot of ambiguity in me that can only be expressed in fiction."

I wouldn't call what I'm writing here an article, or even a narrative. I'm just stringing together some of the more choice lines I was able to write down as she spoke.
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"In many ways we live in boundaries and borders and there are so many boundaries and borders which go through us."

"(There are times when) to keep quiet is as political as speaking out."

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Discussing India getting the Atomic bomb: "The way the press was writing about it you couldn't tell if it was nuclear or Viagra."

She talked about how the Indian government used creation of giant dams to control water and people, about how tribal people were transplanted from farms to Bombay slums, how giving them money for their farms was like paying a judge in manure fertilizer. "The struggle needed a writer to tell the story... having a weapon of words to give to fighting people." The dams have displaced over 30 million people.

"Throughout civilization, throughout history, rulers have wanted to control the water."

"Power is fortified not just by what it destroys but also by what it creates, not just by what it takes, but also by what it gives.

Referring to nuclear weapons:
"When human intelligence has outstripped its own instinct for survival"


"The poorest people in the world have stood up to the richest corporations, and even the corporations have not been able to do what they want to do."

"Poverty is a crime and the poor are terrorists."

In a jungle area, where indigenous tribal people were rebelling, she related what a policeman said: "The problem with these tribal people is they don't understand greed. Without greed there's no hope for us."

She wrapped up the talk discussing Mahatma Gandhi, offering a very different picture than we are accustomed to. "I recently was burned in effigy" for telling this aspect of Gandhi, characterizing him as one of the greatest scams of the 20th and 21st century. She described how he was "India's first corporate funded NGO", how he consistently was sponsored by Indian or British industrialists, how some of his early fights were caste related and how he wanted segregation, separating upper caste Indians from black Africans. She finished by discussing how the left in India have been unable to address the issue of caste. They do deal with untouchables, but mainly because they don't want them to leave Hinduism for Islam.

She spoke for about 90 minutes. Less than a mile away, at Soldiers Field Stadium, a lot of people were attending one of the last concerts of the Grateful dead. For me it was a no brainer. Listening to Arundhati Roy and getting to meet her, albeit briefly, was something I've wanted to do for a long time. The Socialism Conference hit another home run in my third year in a row attending it.
Now let's cross our fingers and hope she'll do that interview with me which we discussed.

 

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Rob Kall has spent his adult life as an awakener and empowerer-- first in the field of biofeedback, inventing products, developing software and a music recording label, MuPsych, within the company he founded in 1978-- Futurehealth, and founding, organizing and running 3 conferences: Winter Brain, on Neurofeedback and consciousness, Optimal Functioning and Positive Psychology (a pioneer in the field of Positive Psychology, first presenting workshops on it in 1985) and Storycon Summit Meeting on the Art Science and Application of Story-- each the first of their kind. Then, when he found the process of raising people's consciousness and empowering them to take more control of their lives one person at a time was too slow, he founded Opednews.com-- which has been the top search result on Google for the terms liberal news and progressive opinion for several years. Rob began his Bottom-up Radio show, broadcast on WNJC 1360 AM to Metro Philly, also available on iTunes, covering the transition of our culture, business and world from predominantly Top-down (hierarchical, centralized, authoritarian, patriarchal, big) to bottom-up (egalitarian, local, interdependent, grassroots, archetypal feminine and small.) Recent long-term projects include a book, Bottom-up-- The Connection Revolution, debillionairizing the planet and the Psychopathy Defense and Optimization Project.

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Rob Kall's Bottom Up Radio Show: Over 200 podcasts are archived for downloading here, or can be accessed from iTunes. Rob is also published regularly on the Huffingtonpost.com

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