Cinema Nostalgia – A Sequel
Reading the varied and fascinating contributions on the Indian Cinema theme brought back some further memories. Ameer Janmohamed, in his ‘Romance of the Regal’ (extracted from his book) writes that the Regal Cinema had a stage behind the screen that was often used for live shows. I remember going to a musical concert by Mohamed Rafi and his ensemble visiting from India, in around 1956/57. This was the first time I had been to anything like that. Seeing them sing and play the various instruments, especially the electric guitar, made a huge impression. It was an exciting performance to a cheering full house.
London Calling by Ramnik Shah
As I write this we are in the grip of a truly international health crisis. Originating in China, in December 2019, hence no doubt its scientific moniker Covid-19, coronavirus has rapidly spread across most parts of the world in the first three months of this year and become a global pandemic. So 2020 has not had an auspicious beginning; how it will pan out remains to be seen.
I have changed the opening of this piece and the rest of the planned content several times already, because we are dealing with a fast-moving scenario with constant updates on all fronts and the story should be familiar to everyone anyway.
What has happened so far is truly earth-shaking: border closures; flight bans; cancellation of sports fixtures, public gatherings and other events; declarations of states of emergency - these are just some of the universal responses to coronavirus. In individual countries, other measures taken reflect local concerns and conditions. In the UK, municipal and mayoral elections have been postponed for a whole year, schools have closed for an indefinite period and the latest casualty are cafes, bars and restaurants and leisure establishments which were ordered to shut down with immediate effect, something that did not happen even during World War II. In Italy, Spain and France, severe restrictions on movement of people have been imposed, with residents having to show evidence of a valid reason for being outside their homes. Elsewhere, there are reports of curfews, quarantines and lockdowns; we expect these here too.
Businesses, including airlines and other travel related enterprises, are in dire straits. Stocks and shares and other financial markets have also suffered significant losses or downturns. Governments, certainly in the developed countries, have taken emergency steps to prop up all sectors of the economy and to alleviate the suffering of their respective populations. In the UK, a most generous package of measures on an unprecedented scale has been announced to safeguard jobs and support employers.
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So Covid-19 is here amongst us – a lifeless entity invisible to the human eye has brought our world to a stop! Revolutionary almost! The cover story of this issue is celebrating one of Africa’s most renowned revolutionary thinkers and activists: Prof Samir Amin who passed away on 12 August 2018. Amin devoted his life to the study of global capitalism and wrote extensively urging us to refuse the dictatorship of money, to rebuild and extend democracy, to de-link from Euro-centric policies and adopt an overall strategy of ‘self-reliance’, to globalize social struggles … and so much more. We hope that readers will glean some valuable knowledge and insights from this selection of his writings and the reflections.
In March this year we bid farewell to one of Kenya’s best known humanists – Sir Mohinder Dhillon, the world-renowned photographer. Tributes from his closest associates in Nairobi will vouch for the love and esteem he was held in. In March too one of Kenya’s most distinguished nationalists and freedom fighters, Dr FRS de Souza who helped to usher in independence, passed away in London.
Covid-19 has disrupted and impoverished the lives of millions and killed tens of thousands. Africa for the most part has so far been spared the worst but we cannot afford to be complacent because this virus is relatively unknown and very tenacious. We have to adapt to this ‘new normal’, follow the protocols and ensure that we and our communities remain safe and well.
The restrictions placed on travel and transport resulted in a loss of 90% of the magazines we posted to our international subscribers. After much deliberation we have decided to distribute this issue on an e-platform. Perhaps this will become the ‘new normal’ – yet to be decided! Your views on this matter are most welcome.
Meanwhile Happy Reading, dear Reader, stay safe and stay well.