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Freedom: Stories Celebrating the Universal Declaration of Human Rights Paperback – January 4, 2011
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From Publishers Weekly
Ranging from the surreal to the subtle, this sweeping anthology illustrates the tenets of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and features a contributor list that reads like a who's who of leading writers from across the globe, including David Mitchell, Joyce Carol Oates, Paulo Coelho, Mahmoud Saeed, Yann Martel, and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. In Kate Atkinson's "The War on Women," Britain passes a law requiring women to stay home and wear the burqa. A group of neighbors in a housing project takes justice into their own hands in Walter Mosley's "The Trial." The protagonist of James Meek's "The Kind of Neighbor You Used to Have" discovers how little risk his neighbors are willing to take to avert injustice. Banana Yoshimoto's "A Special Boy" delves into the effects of a mother's abandonment of her son. The narrator of Ali Smith's "The Go-Between" occupies the space between oppression and freedom--literally--as he attempts to move from Morocco into Spain. Vibrant and often chilling, these stories paint a rousing picture of the continuing battle to ensure basic human dignity. (Jan.)
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“The stories here are impressive in scope and show that The Universal Declaration of Human Rights can apply to many aspects of the human experience. Valuable reading.”—Library Journal
"Vibrant and often chilling, these stories paint a rousing picture of the continuing battle to ensure basic human dignity."—Publishers Weekly
“A timely reminder of the need for basic human dignity, freedom, rights, and respect. Inspirational and a very good read.” —Big Issue
“Angry, moving, upsetting, inspiring . . . It’s not always subtle. But it’s very effective.” —Daily Mail
“Freedom is illuminating and impressive.” —Guardian
“This is an inspirational collection of stories. Each tale . . . uses the power of literature to outstanding effect.” —Good Book Guide
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the author james baldwin wrote that you can only know that you are safe if someone else is in trouble. that statement rings clear while reading Freedom's stories, each story concerned with a separate human right as listed as the articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
the thirty six writers, the contributors to the anthology, are mostly prize winners, some like paulo coelho, walter mosley, nadine gordimer, and Ishmael beah, are known names, some famous. the anthology is a brief introduction to their work. unfortunately, there are a few disappointments. the story by david mitchell, for one, falls far short of his talent as a novelist as the story reads like it was forced to fit the specific right.
other stories fit a specific right by being felt by the author as heard at first hand or witnessed or experienced. there are stories of imprisonment and detainment, the illusion of movement to a safe place that is not safe, as in the story by mohammed naseehu ali, and stories where the persecuted dream, as part of their survival, of fleeing, hoping to reach safe harbor, as written by ali smith.
in yann martell's story, The Moon Above his Head, the narrator is on a skiing vacation in the canadian rockies with his wife. he hears the hilarious telling of a story of a skier who fell in the septic tank of the portable latrine and spent the night there. the narrator tracks down the butt of the joke, abdikarim ghedi hashi, from somalia, who reluctantly tells selected parts of his event. he concludes his personal account with a recollection: `I remember something from my night in that stinking pit of filth. The hole above me, the toilet hole, the way the light was shining through it, it reminded me of full moons over the ocean in Mogadishu when I was a child. My grandmother used to tell me the moon was a hole in the night sky and that's where God came in. She would hold me in her arms and we'd look at the moon together. I kept hoping to catch God sneaking into the world. ... You ask about my family? I have no family. They all died in Mogadishu in the civil war, all of them.' that is the tone, and a good metaphor, for most of these stories.
This book offers stories from Amnesty International, an organization dedicated to protecting the basic human rights of all people, and gives you a glimpse at just how far we are as a globe from respecting our basic rights as a species. I've volunteered for them in the past because I do beleive that that all of us on this planet need to respect one another and that our basic right to freedom is the most important one we need to honor. These stories will make you mad, sad and ever more respectful of the foundations of our country is based upon.
Ultimately, I hope the book makes you take action and that you find out what YOU can do instead of just sitting back and taking life in the US for granted!
After the horrors brought forth from the bowels of WWII, there was a general consensus that we as a society needed to create a document ensuring the human rights of the individual. The Declaration actually consists of thirty parts but this book concentrates on the first Aticle- "All human beings are born free and equal". This book is a celebration of the First Article and roughly 30 author's writings about this very important statement are presented in the book.
I found the stories to be engaging, often entertaining and alway very meaningful. They bring Article I to life. I am normally not a fan of "collaboration" books, but this book captured me emotionally from the very beginning to the end and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I highly recommend it and feel it should be required reading in high schools.