Images of the individual’s resistance, revolt and defeat…

Some odd resonances around the globe this week, from Peru to Palestine via Banna Strand. Today, Peruvian author Mario Vargas Llosa was named as the recipient of this year’s Nobel prize for literature. Vargas Llosa has travelled a pretty scenic route from supporting Fidel Castro, to an unsuccessful presidental campaign in 1990, a Cervantes Prize in 1995 and, latterly, a comfy chair among the Peruvian centre-right. In the announcement of the award, the committee cited

his cartography of structures of power and his trenchant images of the individual’s resistance, revolt and defeat

His next novel, El Sueño del Celta, is due out, in it’s Spanish edition, in November (so I’m not even going to pretend to have read it). The title means ‘The Dream of the Celt’ and it is based on the life of Roger Casement. Casement’s campaigning took him into the Amazon where he highlighted abuses of the Putumayo Indians, following the previous work that earned him the nickname Congo Casement. Today, Casement’s work would probably have seen him in the mix for a peace prize, although in the 1900s it was pretty much an award for achievements in maintaining a balance of power and international diplomacy.

His campaigning isn’t a million miles away from what an Irish Nobel laureate has been at this week, although the Israelis, rather than taking a Nobel Peace Prize on her CV as suggesting she might be able to contribute something positive, have seen fit to decide to deport Mairead Maguire instead. Surely another image of the individual’s resistance, revolt and defeat? 

Well, probably not. Given that she was visiting Israel to highlight the work of Israeli and Palestinian women peace builders, does deporting her not seem more of an interesting comment on Israeli government attitudes to the cartography of structures of power, to coin a current phrase?

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